When encountering an injured deer on the side of the road, it is not advisable to duct-tape its broken legs, blindfold it and leave it with a blanket and banana, as teenagers reportedly did in Cottage Grove.
Tod Lum, district wildlife biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Roseburg office, said its best to call law enforcement instead.
“If they hit something and it’s still alive on the side of the road like that, I would call 911 because it’s a hazard,” Lum said.
He said a police officer would potentially be called out to put the deer down before it flails out into traffic and causes a wreck.
Oregon State Police Trooper Jay Evans, who has responded to incidents like these, said the course of action depends on the situation.
“If you’re out in the middle of nowhere off of a forest road, and there’s a road-struck animal and we deem it’s necessary to put it down, that’s a safe place to do it and we can do that,” Evans said. “Depending on everything else involved, including the quality of the animal, we can salvage that. Typically we don’t salvage road-struck animals because we don’t know how long they’ve been there and it’s not safe for human consumption.”
If the deer is already dead, Lum suggests calling Oregon Department of Transportation or county road crews that could remove the animal from the road.
ODFW often receives calls asking how to help a wounded deer, but Lum said deer do not do so well when people try to fix the injuries themselves.
“They’re very flighty and a high-energy type of animal, so they’re not going to do well with a cast or splint on their leg, they’re just going to go berserk,” Lum said.
Though Lum and Evans encourage people to call law enforcement to handle it, in the state of Oregon it is legal to put a stop to animal suffering.
“If you had an animal that was suffering that you found in your backyard because it was hit on the road and then hobbled off and was under your apple tree or something, you could put it down if you’re outside city limits,” Lum said. He added people who do this should still call police to let the them know.
However, Evans said he thinks many animals are put down prematurely by people who don’t know whether they are suffering or if they would be able to recover. He added ODFW troopers can also come sedate a deer that has wandered into someone’s yard.
Evans said the best course of action is to call the Oregon State Police Dispatch Centers. To reach dispatch, call the Southern Command Center at 541-776-6111 or the Northern Command Center at 503-375-3555, and dispatch will send troopers from OSP or ODFW to respond.