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View Full Version : Worried about an injured deer at my farm--WWYD?



Beam Me Up
Jan. 7, 2010, 02:14 PM
There is a young deer that is hanging around the farm with a badly broken hind leg (no blood/gore, but dangling and looks broken in a couple places). Actually, since I live inside of a protected park, there are herds of deer all over the place, but this one is always around, not a fast mover.

She hops around on the 3 legs, eating grass, the other one dangling. It looks excruciatingly painful, but she doesn't show signs of great pain--just grazes like a normal deer.

I had the game warden out and he said that there are tons of 3-legged animals out there, that if both back legs were crushed he would do something, but that he probably couldn't even catch this one to shoot it. He suggested that I feed it out in the field and that if I were able to tame it, it needs vet care on that leg (didn't get the impression he was buying though).

WWYD?
This deer has been around for a couple weeks, so her condition isn't rapidly deteriorating.
I'm not dying to domesticate a deer, nor do I have a deer veterinary fund (my horse veterinary fund is struggling hard as it is).
My land is surrounded by a public park and a few other houses (we are a suburban enclave inside of this park, which is inside of further sprawl--DC area) and there is no hunting allowed--I don't believe it would be legal for a hunter to shoot it.

Do you guys think this deer is likely suffering a lot?
Should I try again to convince the game warden to shoot it?
Should I feed it such that it can be caught?
Could it live a happy life on 3-legs and I am just being silly worrying?

Thanks for your ideas.

nightsong
Jan. 7, 2010, 02:20 PM
Look for a wildlife rescue. Even if they don't want to take the deer, they should be able to tell you what to do with it.

And good for you for being more concerned than the guy whose PAID JOB is to TAKE CARE of these animals. :rolleyes:

Where'sMyWhite
Jan. 7, 2010, 02:23 PM
Me, I'd let nature take its course. If she makes it, great. If she becomes part of the circle of life, then that the way it should be.

RacetrackReject
Jan. 7, 2010, 02:27 PM
Since you are in a National Park, you have to be careful about what you do as you want to make sure you aren't breaking any laws. If it were me, I would probably contact a wildlife rescue group or a wildlife rehabber. Maybe they could dart the deer and see what can be done.

As for the Game Warden, he IS doing his job. You will find in alot of National Parks and Forests that they aren't really allowed to do anything and have to let nature take it's course. Once, when leaving a park, there was a doe that had been hit by a car and a very young fawn was standing near it. We stopped at the park ranger's station and notified them, but were told there wasn't really anything they could do about it.

JSwan
Jan. 7, 2010, 02:28 PM
Ahem - the CPO's job is not to take care of animals.

His/Her job is to enforce the game and park laws and regs. Their job duties also include breaking up gang activity in parks and Homeland Security (anti-terrorism) duties- your "game warden" isn't just a game warden anymore.

For the OP, contact the Wildlife Rescue League - here is their website and phone number.

http://www.wildliferescueleague.org/

It's headquartered in Reston but they have volunteers you can consult over the telephone - and will help you find a licensed rehabber in the DC/MD/VA area. They're a good group - I used to help man their hotline. If nothing else they can give you some information or advice.

It isn't always legal or possible for a CPO or other law enforcement officer to put down injured/sick animals - and it isn't always legal for a private citizen to do it either.

Bluey
Jan. 7, 2010, 02:41 PM
We live in a wildlife preserve and the game wardens for our area help with much, but not, unless as a personal effort, in rehabbing wildlife.
We raised one coyote pup and one antilope, why let them die?
The game warden told us it was illegal to keep wild animals as pets.
We told him we didn't "keep" them, they choose to stay, until they wanted to move on.
Eventually, both did, once grown.
He also rehabbed one injured egret he found on the highway and turned it out in one of our ponds once healed.

Our vet is a specialist in wild life rehabilitation, so he takes care of the animals that can be handled.

You could ask your vet if he does or knows someone that does in your area.

Lady Counselor
Jan. 7, 2010, 02:46 PM
As much as I hate to see animals injured, I'd leave it alone. I know it sucks to have to see it, but there comes a time to let Mother Nature do her thing.

CAH
Jan. 7, 2010, 02:53 PM
A few years ago we had a band of does that would come in our yard every night like clockwork. One of them was a rather nice doe we named "Big Mama". She either was shot or was hit by a car and developed a rather nasty wound to her rear "hock". As a result of it, she could barely walk on the leg. The wound never really healed and the leg was useless from the hock down. As bad as it looked she could still manage to get around pretty well.

My husband also debated whether he should shoot her. In asking around he was pretty much told to let nature take its course. She lived another couple of years with her leg like that - although the last year she did not bring any fawns home with her.

Beam Me Up
Jan. 7, 2010, 02:59 PM
Thank you guys so much!
I left a message on the Wildlife hotline and will let you know what I hear.
I am about 20 min from Reston so within their territory.

Just to clarify, the game warden who came out was for the county (he wasn't a park ranger), as the deer is not in the actual Battlefield.

I live in a cluster of houses that used to all be a single farm in the middle of this battlefield (apparently when the battlefield was created, this one farm didn't sell to the gov't--and those 200 acres or so are now about 15 houses).

There is no hunting either in the battlefield or in our neighborhood though.

QM2
Jan. 7, 2010, 03:05 PM
I've had several injured deer on my farm. One was so bad it kept stumbling and falling into trees that I had my boyfriend shoot it to put it out of it's misery. I think that both shoulders or withers were broken.

Another, was shot by a hunter with an arrow into its shoulder. The arrow fell out and i've been watching her for 3 yrs. For a LONG time she had a HUGE swelling on her shoulder and very infected looking. Would not put any weight on it.

Then little by little she started to put weight on. I was worried that she would be bred and would have to deal with a fawn in her condition but she didn't. The infection was prob. too much.

Then last year she was looking really good. I always knew it was her because to this day she has a bald patch on her shoulder the size of a saucer.

She ended up having a fawn last year and is still doing well. I'd say she ias now a 1 out of 5 for lameness.

It was horrible to watch but she's ok now.

I would leave her alone and watch mother nature do her work.

JSwan
Jan. 7, 2010, 03:10 PM
Glad you called the number.

Sorry if it looked as if I was chastising you about the warden - it was more a general comment about what "game wardens" do these days. In this state, anyway.

I'd be interested in knowing what happens - as I've not volunteered with them for many years. But when I did, we were easily able to answer most questions over the phone - and/or direct a person to a licensed rehabber in their area. Hopefully it's as good or better than it was.

Anyway - those folks aren't experts but they can hook you up with one who can be up front with you about the doe's chances.

Good luck.

danceronice
Jan. 7, 2010, 03:34 PM
Honestly, if it were private property, I'd say just shoot it and be done (the DNR around here would likely look the other way, or at the very least have more important things to do) but given it's park land, I'd say just let nature take its course. It's a deer, it's not like they're an endangered speices. She'll either make it or she won't.

Thomas_1
Jan. 7, 2010, 03:42 PM
A wild deer with a badly broken leg isn't going to last long.

Personally, I'd shoot it and put it out of it's pain.

Because you're in a residential area though you may well have to get in touch with a wildlife officer of some sort

trubandloki
Jan. 7, 2010, 04:26 PM
I talked to two different game wardens about the deer with a broken leg that lives near me (and grazes in my field). He said that a deer can adapt to life on three legs quite well and if it was still getting around with the group then it was doing fine.

That darn three legged deer was out there for almost two years before I stopped seeing it. Pretty much the only predators to them around here are humans so who knows what got it (probably another car).

cloudyandcallie
Jan. 7, 2010, 04:32 PM
The parents of a guy I know who love up at Lake Oconee fed for years a deer who had one side of his face blow off by a hunter. The deer was blind in one eye, well he only had one eye, but he had healed up and was "healthy" in the sense that he was not in pain. The parents lived in a gated community with no hunting allowed, so they were able to feed the deer for years till he either got hit by a car or ventured off the community and got shot and killed by a hunter.

I'd feed the deer. Heck, I'd feed the healthy deer as well as the disabled one.

Mr.GMan
Jan. 7, 2010, 05:29 PM
A few years ago we had a band of does that would come in our yard every night like clockwork. One of them was a rather nice doe we named "Big Mama". She either was shot or was hit by a car and developed a rather nasty wound to her rear "hock". As a result of it, she could barely walk on the leg. The wound never really healed and the leg was useless from the hock down. As bad as it looked she could still manage to get around pretty well.

My husband also debated whether he should shoot her. In asking around he was pretty much told to let nature take its course. She lived another couple of years with her leg like that - although the last year she did not bring any fawns home with her.

Ditto this. We had one around our farm that lived for several years and did well. She hung close by in the winter months and she even had some fawns with her a couple of years.

summerhorse
Jan. 7, 2010, 05:46 PM
I'd feed her too.

jawa
Jan. 7, 2010, 05:46 PM
Last fall a I noticed a doe in one of the pastures with a broken front leg. Told my husband about it (as he is a deer hunter) that if he happened to see her, maybe put her out of her misery. Well he never did see her. This spring I saw her and noticed that she was pregnant. She delivered twins and raised both. I saw her with her fawns today. She still has a noticeable limp, but was able to make it through another deer season and raised two healthy fawns. Nature is amazing!!!

Huntertwo
Jan. 7, 2010, 08:37 PM
As much as I hate to see animals injured, I'd leave it alone. I know it sucks to have to see it, but there comes a time to let Mother Nature do her thing.

Here is where I beg to differ. Mother Nature to me is when the deer is maimed by another animal, drowns, falls off a cliff, etc.

If this deer was injured by a man made object, car, a hunter's bad shot, that is NOT Mother Nature to me.

As someone else suggested, could you get a licensed Wildlife rehabber involved and see what they say?

Maybe the deer is acting normally as an instinct as not to appear weak in front of predators?

Just find it very hard to believe that a badly broken dangling leg is not extremely painful.

Poor thing...:(

Sabovee
Jan. 7, 2010, 08:45 PM
Seriously?
Shoot her and enjoy the meat.


Since you're not allowed to hunt on your property .... ?

shea'smom
Jan. 7, 2010, 09:04 PM
I hope you can help her. Even if it is to put her out of her misery. It is very hard to see an animal suffer.
SAbovee... seriously?

ex-racer owner
Jan. 8, 2010, 12:02 AM
I would throw whole corn out for it and probably keep my bird feeders extra full ;-)

Griffyn
Jan. 8, 2010, 12:10 AM
Why not dress her and eat her- if the dnr gives you a permit. Heck if you hit one with a truck and it dies you can get a sticker to take it, if the cop comes out and OKs it. I have never done it, but have shot plenty of deer. Not off season or illegally. And sometimes local food pantry takes them. I always assumed that is what people fed hounds if they have large kennels.

bird4416
Jan. 8, 2010, 09:14 AM
We recently had a big 8 point buck get a hind leg hung in our fence. He had obviously been there a while and his leg had a nasty wound to the bone and appeared broken. He was shot and dressed out and the meat divided among my employees. Since you can't shoot a gun in your area, maybe you could find a good bow hunter to put her out of her misery. It has to be painful and very scary for a prey animal to wander with a broken leg.

tazz001
Jan. 8, 2010, 04:36 PM
We watched a deer that was hit by a car early one spring. He gimped around for quite some time but by end of summer he was no longer lame...since he was fed for most of the summer he had an awesome set of antlers. He was o be DH's prize for the upcoming hunting season. No one saw him that fall but by late the following summer he was back. It is amazing the will power of deer to live.

This year we had a buck that was hit by a poor shot. Again we watched and waited...he was suffering and would definately have sufferered and died over the winter. He was taken care of and is now in the freezer (what was salvagable)

In the end with wildlife it is sometimes a watch and wait situation. If they are loosing weight and acting NQR (other than the limp) find a way to end its suffering. Archery is a good way to keep it quiet.

BLBGP
Jan. 8, 2010, 05:39 PM
As some people here have noted, deer can actually do quite well with severe injuries such as this. As long as it's not a compound fracture (which it doesn't sound like it is), the leg should heal. It's amazing how fast deer can move on 3 legs....or even two or none when the flight response kicks in after a catastrophic injury.

I would recommend letting it heal, especially since you say she's getting around fine and her body condition is not deteriorating. Don't feed her. Taming her will do more harm than this injury does.

I know it looks bad, but deer really do remarkably well with broken legs, as long as there is no broken skin to cause infection.

howardh
Jan. 8, 2010, 06:36 PM
Horrible for the deer to be injured and I feel sorry for it, but I would feel a lot worse if I saw all the dogs that live in our neighborhood chasing a deer and catching it because it has three legs. Sometimes "letting nature take its course" means if I don't see death happen then it is all ok...

I would put it out of its misery and have someone shoot it. I cannot imagine letting any hooved animal, especially a wild one, walk around with a broken leg.

Creaghgal
Jan. 8, 2010, 07:52 PM
Here is where I beg to differ. Mother Nature to me is when the deer is maimed by another animal(

Humans ARE animals. Jest sayin'

Blinkers On
Jan. 9, 2010, 01:52 AM
I am all for animals that are in horrid pain facing a nasty death by pack of coyotes or wolves, be put out of their pain swiftly. A bullet is far kinder than nature could subject any animal to.

JeanM
Jan. 10, 2010, 09:32 AM
Last winter I had not one but two deer with broken legs in my woods, both most likely due to run-ins with vehicles. I first saw the buck in November - he had a broken foreleg, but seemed to be managing... although pretty thin by January. In January I saw a doe with a badly and recently broken hind leg. She was suffering so I called DEP about her hoping either they'd be able to send someone out to shoot her, or give me permission to have a hunter shoot her. Nope. "Let nature take its course." :no: That was tough to hear, and if my property weren't so narrow I would've tried to find a hunter willing to shoot her, even if illegal. But I have neighbors too close & wouldn't have wanted someone reporting "illegal hunting." Anyhow, I never saw either of them again after that, and found a deer skull in about the same area in the spring. I hope the buck just moved along to new territory & some critter (coyotes most likely) gave that poor doe a quick death. :cry: