Wildlife officer gives tips for safe summer


June 14, 2017

Courtesy photo

Abandoned young animals, such as this fawn, should not be picked up by humans if found, according to New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.

Staff report

It's a wild world out there, but with preparation and caution, anyone can enjoy the summer in harmony with nature, according to a local wildlife professional.

Clay Moyers, Clovis' New Mexico Department of Game and Fish law enforcement field operations district officer, encourages anyone spending an extended period of time outdoors to be aware of their surroundings to avoid rattlesnakes.

"Anywhere you can't see well, you should probably expect to be that much more cautious. Rattlesnakes in this range can be anywhere. They're after prey, and they're going to go wherever that prey could be," he said.

"I wouldn't say that in any one type of area, you're gonna have that many more sightings than any other. Just be cautious and scan for snakes when you're out and about."

While Moyers noted that rattlesnake bites are not statistically prevalent in eastern New Mexico, he encouraged anyone traveling with pets to vaccinate their pets against bites and immediately seek medical attention if they find themselves bitten.

While the fox is more likely to come into contact with people than the rattlesnake, Moyers offered some advice on how to reduce a person's encounters with the furry creatures as much as possible.

"I would encourage people to definitely leave foxes alone, and limit the amount of available food that they leave outside, as well as block those sheds off so they're not creating fox habitats, because living in town is not the best place for foxes to be anyway," he said.

He also recommends residents have a vet administer the Distemper vaccine to their dogs, because foxes have been known to carry the disease in the past.

Moyers suggested a non-interventionist approach when coming across young animals that appear to be abandoned.

"I want to encourage people not to pick up what they may feel like is abandoned young wildlife - whether that be birds, fawn pronghorn, or fawn deer - because their mothers will stash them in places and come back and pick them up," he said. "People will run across a fawn antelope along the side of the road, pick it up, and they may very well be signing that animal's death warrant by doing so when it could have just been fine, had they left it alone."

With a set of safety precautions in place, Moyers believes residents will be ready to enjoy their summer outdoors.


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