Outdoors: Wild animals are at home in the wild
by Charles Johnson
Special to The Star
Nov 12, 2013 | 932 views |  0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Last week, a Marshall County man was injured severely by a white-tail buck.

The man was not hunting, but rather entered a pen where he was keeping seven deer illegally. The large buck attacked the man, causing several puncture wounds and bruises. Also, the man will probably lose his sight in one eye.

It is illegal to keep or hold live wild animals in Alabama. After investigation the man was charged with illegal possession of deer and other charges. All of the animals were tested for diseases and pathogens and test results are pending. Too, the animals were removed and euthanized.

Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Chief Kevin Dodd said domesticated deer can pose a serious threat to people. Deer and other wildlife are meant to be in the wild. While young wild animals may appear cute and cuddly, as they mature, their wild tendencies can be released.

Bucks are particularly dangerous as they can become territorial. They can attack if they feel someone is encroaching on their space. In the 1990s, two people in the state were killed by penned deer. Also, does can cause injury with their hoofs. Even a small deer can knock a man off his feet.

Besides the apparent risks with bodily injuries from penned deer, diseases can also be present. Certain diseases and pathogens can be spread to people and other animals. Chronic Wasting Disease is a serious disease among members of the deer family. So far, CWD has not been found in deer in Alabama, and the WFF wants to keep it that way.

Strict laws are in place that prohibit the public from keeping any type of wildlife. Current laws forbid the transport of deer and other animals across state lines. The Marshall County man brought in a deer from Tennessee. Also, laws prohibit the release of animals into the wild.

Releasing penned animals, even if they were once wild, can introduce deadly diseases that could infect an otherwise healthy population. Certain diseases and pathogens can spread quickly to the general population of wildlife.

This is a great time of year to be outdoors. And often people may come across on what appears a helpless or wounded animal. In many cases, the animal may not be injured but is attempting to hide. Folks should just leave the animal alone and let nature take its course.

If you do happen upon a wounded animal, contact the local WFF office in Jacksonville. Do not approach or attempt to hold the animal. The best course of action is to move away from the animal. People may have good intentions in trying to help but they could end up causing injury to themselves or others.

Observing wildlife is fun and interesting for all ages. View wildlife from a distance and do not attempt to capture or keep any type of wild animal. The best course of action is to leave the wildlife in the wild.

Charles Johnson is the Star’s outdoor editor. You can reach Charles at ChrJohn7@aol.com.
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Outdoors: Wild animals are at home in the wild by Charles Johnson
Special to The Star

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