Lincolnville resident Kate Cole had heard the bleating for over a day. She had seen the female (doe) deer and knew a young fawn must be nearby. When the bleating continued, coming from the same spot, Kate went to investigate. She found a young fawn with its foot wedged between two rocks. She freed the frail youngster, stepped back and watched. It struggled, but could not stand. It was evident the leg that had been stuck between the rocks was injured, but it was unknown to what extent.

Kate called me and I contacted the good folks at the Wildlife Care Center in Vassalboro. Don and Carleen Cote, owners of Wildlife Care Center, care for dozens of wild critters each year. Some have been orphaned, some injured and some kept in illegal captivity. I called Carleen, and without hesitation she said, “Bring him over.”

I arrived at Kate’s to find a deer so small that it would fit in the palms of both hands. He was curled up in a straw-filled box, seemingly unafraid of his human caregivers. Kate and neighbor Jackie Harkness gave the youngster a final pat on his soft forehead and then helped me carry the box and fawn out to my truck.

I arrived at Wildlife Care Center 45 minutes later and was met at the door by Don. I had interrupted his dinner, but he said,” Don’t worry it happens all the time, especially this time of year.”

The fawn, now named Number 7, was taken to a small barn. Although he was alone in the straw-filled stall at the time, the six other fawns that Don and Carleen were caring for would join him later in the evening. Don will feed Number 7 and observe him during the night and then schedule an X-ray for to see if there was any permanent damage to the deer’s leg.

After we left Number 7 in his new, temporary (we hope) home, Don gave me a tour of the facility. There were red fox, bobcat, a silver fox, raccoons, deer, ducks, geese and other wild critters. Some would be released as soon as they were able to fend for themselves, and others, because of their injuries, would have Wildlife Care Center as a permanent home.

Wildlife officials advise us not to disturb or pick up young animals that appear to be abandoned. In most circumstances, the parent or parents are nearby waiting for you to leave. Kate knew after hearing the bleating for an extended period of time that something was wrong, and went to find the young deer. She did the right thing once she knew it was weak and injured. Don said the fawn was most likely three to five days old and would not have survived much longer in the wild.

A special thanks to Kate Cole and to Don and Carleen Cote.

Have a safe week in your part of the great outdoors.