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SportsOutdoors

Best to leave young wildlife alone

A doe and her fawn graze in Heckscher

A doe and her fawn graze in Heckscher State Park. (Nov. 30, 2004) Credit: Michael E. Ach

Early June usually kicks off with reports of good fishing across Long Island, but it is also peak season in our area for the birth of young wildlife including rabbits, birds and white-tailed deer, some of which will undoubtedly be discovered as anglers, hikers and outdoors enthusiasts explore local shorelines, fields and woodlots.

In many instances, well-intentioned people finding young wildlife assume it to be helpless and in need of assistance, but that's rarely the case. Should you happen upon a newborn, take a minute or two to enjoy the encounter while keeping your distance, then leave the creature alone.

According to wildlife experts with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, it's generally not a good idea to touch or help young animals found in the wild. "Helping" may cause more harm than good as wild animal parents often shy away from their young when people are near.

White-tailed deer fawns are a good example of how human intervention can be problematic. Most fawns are born in late May and the first half of June. Although able to walk shortly after birth, they spend the majority of their first several days lying still. During this period a fawn is generally left untended by its mother, except when nursing. Rarely is the fawn truly abandoned -- but if human presence is detected by the parent, the next nursing visit may be delayed.

Fawns nurse three to four times a day, usually for less than 30 minutes at a time, but otherwise the doe keeps her distance to reduce the chances of leading a predator to her youngling. The fawn's protective coloration and ability to remain motionless all help it avoid detection by predators until it is strong enough to keep up with its mother.

For more information and answers to frequently asked questions about young wildlife, visit the DEC website at: www.dec.ny.gov/animals/6956.html.

 

Take the train to fish

New York City anglers looking for a hassle-free fishing trip should consider the MTA/LIRR Captree Fishing Getaway package. Take the train from Penn Station to Babylon and board the S-47 Suffolk Bus to Captree for an all-inclusive, round-trip fare of $46 for adults and $29.50 for kids. The day includes a half-day of fishing aboard the Captree Fleet. Fishing tackle is free so there's no need to haul along fishing rods. Trains depart Penn Station at about 7:10, 9:06 and 11:05 a.m. on weekdays, and 7:10, 9:10, and 11:10 a.m. on weekends. For boat departure times visit: captreefleet.com.

 

It's tourney time

The 18th Annual Duke of Fluke Fishing Tournament, the largest fluke contest on Long Island, is June 9. Entry is $30. Contact Comb's Bait and Tackle in Amityville at 631-264-3525 . . . The Caleb Smith Preserve Junior Angling Tournament, sponsored by Friends of Caleb Smith Park in Smithtown and The Fisherman, is June 9. Kids age 5 - 12 can participate. Entry fee is $10 for member children and $15 for nonmembers. Free bait and goody bags provided. Call 631-265-1054 for more info . . . The Ducks Unlimited Striped Bass Tournament is June 9 at Star Island Marina in Montauk. Entry is $250 per boat. Call 631-377-6619.

Email: outdoortom@optonline.net

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