The Wyoming Game and Fish Department urges people who come across young animals to leave them alone and keep a distance.

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“Newborn wildlife is one of the best parts of springtime in Wyoming. But please view animals from a distance and do not pet or pick them up,” said Will Schultz, Game and Fish biologist. “With all animals, the first few weeks of life are the most critical in determining their survival and interference from humans can most definitely put their lives at risk.”

If you're spending time outside, there is a good chance you’ll see young wildlife. These fawns, hatchlings, and other babies are charming and tempting to photograph.

But getting too close to newborn wildlife is dangerous. According to the Wyoming Game and Fish, “A mother bear, bison, moose and even deer will display aggressive behavior when humans get close to their young.”

There is a misconception amongst some people that young animals without a mother nearby have been abandoned, but this is almost never the case. It is common for mammals to hide their young and return periodically to nurse.

“If children bring home a wild ‘orphan,’ immediately return it to the exact spot it was found. In the rare instance when a fawn or other newborn is found and the mother is known to be dead, contact the nearest game warden, biologist, or Game and Fish Regional Office; do not attempt to capture these animals yourself.”

Adopting newborn wildlife is illegal. State and federal law bans possession of game and many non-game animals with a possible penalty of up to a $1,000 fine.

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