Don’t help an injured adult deer!

How should I help an injured adult deer? By leaving it alone!
How should you help an injured adult deer?

It’s hard to see an injured animal without stepping in to help. But in the case of adult deer, the best way to help is to step back.

Deer are extremely susceptible to a strange, complex disorder called capture myopathy. When captured, many of them simply die, even if they get the best possible care. The risk of dying of capture myopathy is often much greater than the risk of dying from injury.

Capturing an injured deer can be catastrophic for other reasons as well. Here in Tennessee, adult deer can’t be legally rehabilitated, so you won’t be able to find a veterinarian or wildlife rehabilitator who can help. Adult deer are also very large and dangerous, so you’d be putting yourself in harm’s way by attempting to help.

Does this mean you’ll just be leaving the deer to die? Not necessarily! Deer often survive broken legs, deep wounds, broken antlers, castration, and worse! But if a deer is so badly wounded that there’s no possible way it will survive, your local animal control or police may be able to euthanize it to prevent suffering. It’s worth calling them if a situation seems truly hopeless.

Please give injured adult deer space!

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