Close encounters

Two fawns found injured, taken to Steamboat vet hospital


— Two fawns found in the Steamboat Springs area got a rough welcome into the world.

Big John, a week-old fawn, was found by Dirk Vanatta lying injured in the middle of the road near Williams Fork on June 11. Vanatta took the fawn to Steamboat Veterinary Hospital.

A few days later, Deputy Sheriff Mike Curzon found Tiki, a 2-day-old fawn, on County Road 25. Tiki had been attacked by dogs, so Curzon also took the fawn to the animal hospital.

Injured deer "is a year-round thing, but it kind of picks up around this time," said Tracy Bye, director of Born Free Wildlife Rehab.

"It's busier from around April to October, especially with the babies."

Bye takes in injured wildlife from various groups in Routt and Moffat counties and rehabilitates the animals before releasing them back into the wild.

She said that there is an abundance of young wildlife around this time, making encounters with humans or animals more likely.

"Hawks and eagles hit power lines a lot, and fawns are hit by cars or dog or cat attacks," Bye said.

"Sometimes, it's just human intervention, where they think they're helping but they're not."

Bye said there are no particular trouble spots the incidents occur everywhere.

Big John's back left leg was X-rayed, and a fracture was discovered, said veterinary assistant Monica Case. Plates were surgically placed on the leg to help the fracture heal.

Tiki, who had been attacked on the front-shoulder area, did not have a lot of open wounds, Case said, but was given some oxygen. According to Case, the "bundles of cuteness" are doing fine, and are expected to be released Thursday.

On its Web site, the Colorado Division of Wildlife warns against picking up injured wildlife. Wild animals often carry diseases such as rabies or distemper and can be worse off when picked up and handled by people other than trained specialists.

"Just leave them alone and don't walk up to them," Bye said. "Their mom's always around. She can be gone for up to three hours, but she'll be watching them."

Bye recommended calling Born Free Wildlife, a local veterinarian or the Division of Wildlife.


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