In support of the California Department of Fish and Game and its effort to keep hunters and anglers informed, Outposts, on Thursday or Friday, posts marine biologist Carrie Wilson's weekly Q&A column:
Question: We have seen an injured buck in our neighborhood with a gash in his left hind leg and bone sticking out. It’s swollen, probably infected and he can’t put any weight on that leg at all. I don’t see how it will get better and he doesn’t seem to have much to look forward to other than a lot of suffering and a painful death. He needs to either be given a fighting chance by tranquilizing and treating him or to be put out of his misery so this injury won’t fester and cause him to suffer anymore. Is there anything someone can do? (Jennifer P., Pacific Grove)
Answer: There are wildlife rehabilitation facilities that are able to help fawns in some situations, but for safety reasons they cannot possess or take in adult deer. According to Nicole Carion, DFG’s statewide coordinator for wildlife rehabilitation and restricted species, adult deer can be very dangerous and do not fare well in captivity to undergo medical treatment, so a rescue is not a good option. In this particular case, it sounds like humane euthanasia may be the best solution.