Its that time of the year again that will see an increase in “orphaned” fawns being found. Many well intentioned citizens and animal lovers will feel bad for a discovered Fawn that has been abandoned with no sign of the mother, and rescue the fawn knowing it is too young to take care of itself.
STOP. Do NOT rescue the fawn. It is most likely fine and not orphaned. Doe’s that have new fawns will usually bed them down and leave them alone for hours at a time. Why? The best defense of a deer against predators is its speed and awareness. A new born fawn has neither of those for several weeks. The mother has to roam about and forage for food. She will usually be within a few hundred yards but you will never see her. She makes sure her baby is safely bedded down, and will only return a few times a day. This is for a few reasons. She has to check on it and of course feed it. She has to clean it as well. The mother will clean the fawn periodically ensuring there is no scent for predators to locate them.(when we humans just have to pet the baby deer, we put it in danger by transferring our scent to the baby)
The Fawn will spend the first few weeks of its life motionless laying flat on the ground. The iconic white spots aid in its camouflage and allow it to blend into the ground and remain hidden.
With the above knowledge we now know not to rescue an orphaned Fawn. Chances are its momma is watching you take her baby, and removing the baby is stressing out the mother and the fawn.
If you find a Fawn wandering and bleating around a dead doe that’s nearby then yes, you might have found an orphaned fawn. If this is the case, Call the local Game Warden. Do not attempt to rescue it.
#1. You do not know what is going to be required.
#2. It is against the law to possess a game animal in Texas.(Sec. 63.002. of the TPWD wildlife Code)
#3. If you do attempt to rescue the deer, you are violating the law and can be charged with a class C misdemeanor. If the animal die’s while in your possession you might be forced to pay restitution for the animal on top of the fine.
As cute as they are, please leave newborns alone. Momma is probably watching. She knows what is best for her baby and doesn’t need help from people. Enjoy the sight and cuteness of the newborn from a distance and please don’t disturb it. Just observe and enjoy. The less contact mother and baby have with humans, the better.
Hope all found this educational and enlightening. See you on the Range or in the woods,