Stop Killing Orphaned Deer
  • Petitioned Joe Maurier

This petition was delivered to:

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Director
Joe Maurier

Stop Killing Orphaned Deer

    1. Joan Schaffner
    2. Petition by

      Joan Schaffner

      Washington, DC

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks (FWP) kills all orphaned deer, under all circumstances.

Please sign this petition and ask them to change this policy!

Here is Lucky’s story, one that depicts the serious flaw in the Montana policy that kills all orphaned deer. Unfortunately, Lucky’s luck was very short-lived.

In June near Condon, Montana, two people witnessed a hit-and-run accident where four deer were struck by a car. The two stopped to pull the body of one of the deer off the road only to find that a fawn that had been in utero had been expelled from his mother in the accident. The pair rescued the fawn and took him to their home.  Because he was breathing very well and already trying to stand up, they took the fawn to a companion animal rescue in Eureka, where he managed to take a bit of food, then curled up and went to sleep in a laundry basket with one of the resident dogs.  Given his amazing story of survival, the fawn was named, Lucky.

Unfortunately for Lucky, the pair next decided to do what they felt was the right thing: They called the game warden with the Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks (FWP) to see if there were a rescue/rehabilitation location that could help Lucky.

The next day the warden came to take Lucky – not to help him, but to kill him. Although his then-guardians pled with the warden for more than an hour, the warden explained that FWP’s policy left him no discretion, that all orphaned deer must be killed as a matter of policy. Lucky was put to death.

FWP policy dictates that all orphaned deer (and certain other animals) who are not able to be returned to the wild be killed. Although there is a wildlife rehabilitation center in Helena, Montana, the center refuses to take in bats, skunks, raccoons, elk, moose and deer “under any circumstances, due to risks related to disease, public health and welfare.”  This refusal is dictated by state policy for hooved animals that “prohibits the rehabilitation of ungulates  at the centralized Wildlife Center in Helena or by any third party.” 

FWP claims that, “The policy is necessary because Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a fatal neurological disease that affects deer and elk, is spreading in the United States and Canada. Although it has yet to be documented in wild populations in Montana, CWD is found in nearby states and provinces, and an infected animal could spread CWD from a holding center back into the wild.”  But that excuse doesn’t wash. FWP “tested more than 1,300 deer, elk and moose collected during the 2010-2011 hunting season and did not detect chronic wasting disease in any of the animals.” 

In fact, there have been no reported cases of CWD in Montana and a test exists to detect it. FWP policy could simply be that all rescued animals be tested for CWD.

Lucky was born under very tragic circumstances, yet was miraculously saved by caring Montanans – only to be indefensibly killed by the government. 

Lucky isn’t the first baby deer to be killed needlessly. But we can try and ensure that he is one of the last. His tragedy should be a call for reform so that his death will not have been in vain.

Please sign this petition to the Montana FWP asking them to reconsider this policy and develop one that does not falsely protect public health at the expense  of innocent, orphaned wildlife.

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 1,500 signatures
    2. Petitioners want to save orphaned deer, FWP wants to prevent disease

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      More great press coverage: "An electronic petition on activist site shows more than 14 hundred signatures from across the country. All opposed to Montana's policy on orphaned deer."

    3. Petition: Change Montana's policy of killing orphaned deer

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      Fantastic article in The Missoulian about this petition!

    4. Reached 1,000 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Bernell Trapp ALLEN, TX
      • about 3 years ago

      The only disease in Montana that's fatal and neurological is the FWP! When an animal is found and it appears to be perfectly fine, it can be transported to a quarantined area until it's determined it can be safely released. These men are just asses, looking for any reason to kill!!

    • Brie Ledesma LEAGUE CITY, TX
      • about 3 years ago

      Dare to imagine PEACE between Man vs. Man and Man vs. all the ANIMALS around the globe. Animals Have Rights/

      Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are all still savages. Roman Rolland, Nobel Prize, 1915

      • about 3 years ago

      I am so shocked that a department designed to look after the environment would do such a dreadful thing. That poor faun, to be born in such tragic circumstances, to survive against the odds and then to be killed

    • Karen VA Luce MILWAUKEE, WI
      • about 3 years ago

      This is a glaring example of game management gone wrong!!! I come from Wisconsin, where we have serious problems with Chronic Wasting Disease and no such policy of killing baby orphaned deer exists. This is a sad example of Montana Wildlife, like other agencies killing living feeling animals in a craze. The policy isn't even justified in reality, but only on a broad concern of conveying a disease that the orphaned deer could, possibly have, but without any rational basis other than its a disease that exists in deer. There are other options and Montana should use them!!! There are probably deer farms that would take in these babies after testing, have you even tried to find non-lethal solutions???? Stop killing orphaned baby deer for no reason!! It sounds to me like this couple would have paid for quarantine, and testing. If I had the chance to donate I would have helped! Stop the indiscriminate killing! Especially of baby animals!!!!

    • Calliope Skoumbourdi RHODES ISLAND, GREECE
      • about 3 years ago

      Dear God humans are barbaric. KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL is all they know. :(


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