3 Ways To Be The Best Montanan You Can Be
Montana has numerous nicknames. The Last Best Place, Big Sky Country, God's Country, you get the picture. Montana is also known for its vast countryside full of wildlife including bears, dear, elk, and moose, and its beautiful mountains that some of us like to hike.
Now, you may come across injured or abandoned wildlife while hiking the trails, hills, and mountains of Montana. This could be anything from a fawn to an injured bird, and it may be our instinct to try and help the animal. That is the opposite of what you should do.
The problem with handling wildlife is many herds will not take back an animal that has been touched by a human. Apparently, they don't like the scent we leave, and to be fair, I don't always like the scent of humans either.
Another underlying issue with handling wildlife, is the potential to spread diseases, not just from one animal to another, but you could also inherit a disease from the animal that is infectious to humans and our household pets.
What should you do if you come across baby wildlife?
According to Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, there are three easy things to remember when or if you come across baby wildlife.
- Leave the baby animal where you found it. It’s not uncommon for deer and elk to leave their young alone for extended periods of time. In most cases, the mother will come back to the location when they are ready for the little one to tag along again.
- Keep your dogs in control. Keep little Fido under control. This is especially important in the spring when newborn wildlife is most vulnerable. As a pet owner, you can be fined and dogs that harass or kill wildlife may by law have to be euthanized.
- You are breaking the law. It is illegal to possess and care for a live animal taken from the wild outdoors. This includes but is not limited to baby bison, squirrels, rabbits, fawns, etc. Basically, if it is born in the wild, it needs to stay in the wild.
FWP’s priority is to do whatever it takes to keep wild animals wild and that should be all of our priorities as well. FWP doesn't take in, hold or rehabilitate moose, deer, elk, and most other animals, so the best thing for you to do, is leave that animal exactly where it is.
CC: Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks