Illegally Kept Deer Fawn Leads To Drug Charges

Posted at 12:05 PM, Jun 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-15 12:05:46-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — The report of a deer fawn being kept illegally led to drug charges against a man and his mother in Marion County.

On Monday, June 11, conservation officers with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources charged 26-year-old Matt White, of Lebanon, Ky., with holding protected wildlife and one count of cultivation of five or more marijuana plants.

Officers also charged White’s mother, 59-year-old Lebanon resident Mary Colvin, with driving under the influence, possession of marijuana and having an open container of alcohol in her vehicle. Colvin arrived at the scene while officers were obtaining a search warrant for White’s residence on McElroy Pike.

Conservation officers were called to the residence after receiving a report of a captive deer fawn. In Kentucky, it is illegal for the public to keep a deer fawn.

Deer typically give birth in May and June. Mothers leave their offspring for hours while they go off to feed. This behavior makes it more difficult for predators to find the fawns by looking for the mother. Young fawns also attempt to avoid predators by lying motionless to avoid detection. This also makes them susceptible to people carrying them off while the mother deer is away.

Conservation Officers Brandon Boone and Lee Keith went to White’s house to investigate the captive deer report and discovered a fawn locked in a large dog cage outside of the garage. Upon further investigation, officers found multiple marijuana plants outside of the house and marijuana growing inside of the garage. Investigators said more charges may be forthcoming against White based on additional evidence found inside the house. 

White was arrested and lodged in the Marion County Detention Center. The fawn seized in the case went to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife advises people who find deer fawns to leave them alone. In cases where it is obvious the mother is dead, fawns unable to survive on their own can be taken to a licensed wildlife rehabilitation specialist.

Call 1-800-25-ALERT (1-800-252-5378) to report suspicious or illegal activity involving wildlife. Dispatchers staff the number 24 hours a day, seven days a week.