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Humans and deer sharing habitat

June 13, 1997

Maryland Natural Resources police officer Ray Harner said encounters by local residents with deer will become more common as more developments are built. "We're moving into their habitat," he said.

"We advise people that if they see a fawn in their backyard, to leave it alone. It's probably normal and OK. Mothers will put them there so they know where they are, and may leave them alone for a while while they feed," Harner said. "Nature takes care of her newborns. Fawns have no scent when they're first born and therefore aren't likely to be found by predators.

"If you don't see the fawn moved in two or three days, then maybe mama's been hit by a car or something."

No one is to allowed to shoot a deer out of season, Harner said.

Even when deer are in season and a property owner spots one on his or her property, the animal must be shot with the correct caliber weapon, and comply with a safety zone law that requires hunters not to fire within 150 yards of the closest neighbor's property.

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Harner said local residents who think they've found an abandoned animal, or see a wild animal that is hurt or acting strangely should call natural resources police at Blair's Valley at 301-842-2702, or the department's 24-hour toll-free line at 1-800-628-9944. "That's the best, and first thing you should do," he said.

If an animal is injured, officers have the right to put the animal down, but Harner said residents should remember that there are wildlife rehabilitation centers around the county. For example, veterinarians at Cumberland Valley animal hospital have a wildlife rehabilitation permit, he said.

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