Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - With an homage to Pink Floyd, I bring you this serious message from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and that’s to never approach a baby animal, be it a fawn, a calf, a cub or a kit in the wild, no matter how helpless it may look.

I spoke with Vivaca Crowser, Education and Program Manager with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks on a topic that pops up every spring and early summer.

There is Always a Temptation to Help an Abandoned Animal Baby

“We do get this question so much this time of year, and it tugs at our heartstrings, I know,” began Crowser. “We see young animals out there but we don't see the adult nearby, and so we think, gosh, we need to step in and do something. But almost always that is very strategic on the part of wildlife.”

The Animal's Mother will Eventually Return to the Fawn,  Calf, Cub or Kit

Crowser stated the blatantly obvious.

“They are different than people,” she said. “You know, we're there with our young all the time, but with wildlife, it's often part of what they do to help with survival, is they'll stash their young, who often don't have scents like they do, so they get away from them. They get the food that they need, that kind of are taking care of that, and they will return to the (baby) animals.”

Crowser said many times human interaction with wildlife can actually put the human in danger, as well.

“When we step in, we may think we're not being observed, but sometimes we really are,” she said. “The mom, even in the case of a deer, while not posing the same risk as with a bear, there can still be some aggression with any sort of mama animal with their baby. So again, just letting it be, letting it have its space and not posing ourselves as a threat is always the best case.”


As much as our hearts go out to the animals, human contact can actually be fatal for them.

“Anytime we touch or handle wildlife, we have that chance of putting our own scent on them, which could then make the adult abandon their young, which we do not want to do,” she said. “So the best case is always just to keep our distance and keep our hands off that young wildlife.”

In fact, Crowser said your attempted rescue will almost always turn into a death penalty for the animal. According to a press release, “FWP does not attempt to treat animals like moose, deer, elk or other animals. If it cannot be returned to the wild, it may need to be humanely euthanized.

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Gallery Credit: KC

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