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Old Apr 21st 2020, 09:47 AM   #1
  Apr 2020
Help with injured deer


I am not a deer farmer so I am looking for some help with a deer we found today. Earlier this morning, a deer got stuck in a fence and someone found him and alerted us. He is clearly injured on both hips and he stayed still while we removed him from the fence. He does not seem like a fawn (he has quite a bit of antlers already) but he is also not the size of a full adult deer.

We have a horse farm and we were advised to take the deer into a stall with some hay, grass and water and leave him in the dark with no one or nothing around that can stress him out. Since the fence was near a busy path, the deer would have been around children and dogs all day and we were worried that this would stress him out even more.

He is sitting up and moving his head, but not walking (as far as I know - I try not to go check on him too often). I can't really tell if he's eating or drinking, but he is definitely alert. Whenever he can hear me approach, his breathing gets heavier so I am assuming I'm stressing him out and I'm trying to stay away from him so that he doesn't get worse.

Is there anything I can do to help this deer? I feel awful for him, but like I said, I have no experience with deers and I was hoping someone here would have some good advice on what to do. We called several vets and the police, but no one wants to come help or gives any more advice besides just leaving him in the dark and see if he is still alive in the morning.

Last edited by Emma; Apr 21st 2020 at 09:58 AM.
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Old Apr 23rd 2020, 05:02 AM   #2
  Mar 2020

I'm sure you have noble intentions here, but a positive outcome is highly unlikely. Based on the story I'd say the most likely case is that the deer injured himself trying to get free from the fence, or had been injured (perhaps in a car-deer accident) and then got stuck and couldn't get free. If he isn't up and walking within a day or two, then his odds of recovery are not very good. Even if a vet was to perform surgery, a surgically repaired animal usually does not fair well in the wild. I suggest that you open up the barn and let him wander out (before dawn and/or just before dusk). If he doesn't get up and head out within the next 24 hrs, then my advice would be to euthanize him.

I don't know the laws in Belgium, but if you have a governmental entity similar to what we call the Department of Natural Resouces (they manage wildlife, fisheries, etc) here in Michigan, then I would reach out to them. They might be willing or able to put the animal down humanely or at least give you a permit so you can.

I wouldn't keep him around and try to nurse him back to health if he doesn't pop back up on his own. A wild deer could be carrying diseases or parasites that could spread to your horses. In fact, since he allowed you to free him from the fence without thrashing wildly it implies that he was either too exhausted or that he is already sick (some diseases that affect deer cause them to lose their fear of humans). If he does heal up, then he may be accustomed to having people around by that time and that could potentially make him dangerous. Wild Deer (especially males) that become acclimatized to human contact can lose their flight response and become aggressive toward people. This happens most commonly in their breeding season (which should still be months away assuming the timeline is roughly the same there as here), but a deer that feels cornered may behave unpredictably at any time.
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