When it comes to wildlife, resist the urge to adopt

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Squirrel season offers many hunting opportunities

Most people I know really like, if not love, baby animals.

The reaction to them is much the same as the actions towards our own babies of the human race. We all love to watch the little tricycle motors grow up and watch in amazement as they go from crying, eating and cooing poop machines to the adults of the future. They need nurturing and a lot of care to reach a point of independence. Baby animals, however, are typically not as helpless as human babes or nearly as helpless as humans think. That brings me to the main point of my column this month.  

The last few months have produced and continue to produce an abundance of newborn baby animals. June and July are prime months God set aside for most of the whitetail deer in Kentucky to drop their fawns and deliver them into the world for all to enjoy. The timing of this is perfect as the vegetation offers not only an abundance of food sources but also offers hiding habitat. These are wild animals from the time they are born as are all the little cotton butts (rabbits), bushy tails (squirrels) and trash bandits (raccoons) running around. That’s why it is very important to resist the urge to “adopt” these babies when you find them.

Granted, there may be instances the mom has been mashed by a Michelin and the little ones may need a tiny bit of help but typically they will be fine without human intervention (barring their own run in with a Michelin of course). Please do not take that little speckled fawn that seems lost or without a parent home with you or remove it from where you find it. The key here is to leave it alone. Odds are Momma Doe Deer is within hearing distance and knows exactly where the little one is hiding or should be. If you decide to do the Good Samaritan thing and haul it away for some human nurturing then Momma Doe won’t have much of a chance if any to find her fawn.

Same goes for rabbits, squirrels, raccoons and birds in most cases so please leave them be.

Between their mommas, God and Mother Nature they will be much better off without human intervention. If you must intervene, keep it to the bare minimum and don’t try to make pets of wild animals. Besides going against nature, it’s against the law to possess wildlife without proper licenses and or permits.

A couple of weeks ago, as we were arriving home, there was a lady standing not far from her car on the side of McDonald Road looking toward Indian Creek just down and across from where my driveway heads uphill. Upon further investigation to see if things were okay it turns out she was watching a couple of week-old whitetail fawn with great concern.

Once we starting talking with her, the story unfolded. She had been driving along highway 44 and as she got to the Highway 395-Birdie Road turnoff she noticed this fawn standing on the side of the road. Fearing it might get run over and not seeing the Momma Doe this “Good Samaritan” stopped and actually put this fawn in the back seat of her car. Once in the car she drove it several hundred yards up McDonald Road and there we found her and the fawn in Indian Creek across from my drive. The fawn was wondering around and “bleating” for its mother and seemed kind of pitiful but was simply “calling” for its mother.

The lady asked me what she should do and I bluntly told her the best thing for the fawn was to get in her car, drive off and leave it to call the doe it belonged to. We snapped a few pictures of the fawn and I continued to try to get this lady, as well as Leigh and Suzanne, to leave so the fawn and doe (wherever she was) could continue their search for one another. In order to help make this happen I herded the fawn down Indian Creek a little ways in the direction of where the lady had began this transplant from one location to another. The lady meant well but probably overall didn’t do the best thing for the deer but hopefully things worked out.  

Remember, it’s probably best to leave wildlife alone. Don’t forget, it’s also illegal to possess wildlife without proper permits (hunting licenses don’t count).  

Squirrel season
One of the most sought after little varmints in all of hunting would have to be old bushy tail. Squirrel hunting is one of the oldest traditions and many a story has come from the sport. Some of my most vivid memories are of squirrel hunting with Dad while just a young kid. I went with him long before I was able to actually carry a .22 rifle like he used to plink the little gravy makers out of the tops of hickory trees. Nothing quite like getting a mess of squirrels, bringing them home to clean then waiting on Mom to fry them up with some taters, gravy and biscuits.  

Kentucky’s 2011-12 season opens Saturday, Aug. 20.  The first segment runs until Nov. 11. The season closes for the opening weekend of modern firearm deer season then re-opens on Nov. 14 and runs until Feb. 29, 2012. That’s a lot of season and opportunity to get out there and take a kid hunting. The bag limit is six per day.  Trapping season for squirrels doesn’t open until Nov. 14 and runs through Feb. 29, 2012.

Tickling and noodling
If you’re into this type of fishing then you probably already know the season closes on Aug. 31. This “hand grabbing” method is legal in all Kentucky waters during daylight hours only. Tickling and noodling means taking fish by hand or with the aid of a handled hook. The daily limit is 15 rough fish, no more than five of which can be catfish.

Quick shots
*The next Hunter Education Course for Anderson County is scheduled for Aug. 18-20. The course is held at the Anderson County Sportsman’s Club on Old Joe Road. Contact information is gmountjoy@win.net or call Bill Brown at 502-680-0175. This is a free course and no registration is required.

Take a kid hunting or fishing soon.
See ya outside!

Jeff Lilly is an outdoors columnist for The Anderson News. E-mail him at news@theandersonnews.com.