Each year at about this time, Fish and Game offices are flooded with calls from citizens who, with the best of intentions, have captured newborn wild animals and wonder what to do with them.
The callers generally do not understand that they have already consigned the baby critters to an unhappy fate. They also fail to consider that they are in violation of the law by possessing wildlife.
As more Idahoans build their homes along natural waterways, wild ducks and geese are forced to use artificially landscaped yards for nesting. Residents often worry about newly-hatched ducklings and capture the easily-caught babies, separating them from the mother hens. Chances of survival of the ducklings are not good after that happens.
If there is a way for humans to clear a safe path to the nearest river or pond for the new waterfowl family, that can be a valuable service. There is virtually no other way to help the waterfowl. In most cases, the adult duck knows best. They almost always know where to find water.
(In one amusing recent call to a Fish and Game office, the homeowner was frantic because baby ducks hatched on her property had immediately taken to the backyard swimming pool and she was afraid they would drown.)
Deer, elk and antelope fawns also attract the concern of many uninformed humans when they are found "abandoned" in the wilds. Too many of them end up in tragic circumstances because they are picked up and brought to civilization. The mothers of these species protect their newborns by hiding them from predators and spending most of the day some distance from the young where they draw the attention of predators away from the babies. This method of protecting newborns has evolved over millions of years andconsidering the relative abundance of deer, elk and antelopeÑmust work.