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Young Deer Not To Fawn Over

May 9

Written by:
5/9/2012 10:13 AM  RssIcon

Yes, it’s cute.

It has white spots, a sweet face and skinny little legs, and looks so very alone sitting in the brush by itself.  

What’s a well-meaning person to do, but bring that fawn home, take care of it and make it a pet?

Please don’t.

While that fawn might look abandoned, it’s probably not. White-tailed deer are a “hider species,” meaning a doe hides her young in brush, grass or other vegetation during the first two or three weeks of its life while she feeds. Sometimes, a well-intentioned person might approach the fawn, and, thinking it is abandoned, try and rescue it. This can be hazardous to both the people and the deer. And despite how helpless it looks, a fawn is well-equipped to protect itself. By the time it is 5 days old, already it can outrun a human. At 3 to 6 weeks of age, fawns can escape most predators.

Moving a young fawn can stress it, and cause it illness or death. In addition, a friendly fawn will soon grow into an adult deer, and can become aggressive and dangerous. Also, a deer that is used to people can’t be released — as it is ill-equipped to live in the wild.

Even simply feeding the fawn can cause problems. While feeding wildlife may seem harmless or even helpful, it can cause an animal to lose its natural fear of humans and seek more human food. The animal can become aggressive or cause property damage in the search for more human food.

So what should you do if you happen upon a fawn? In most cases, leave it alone.

Unless a fawn is in imminent danger — for example, under attack by dogs or injured in a tractor-mowing accident — the best decision always is to leave it alone. If you are concerned about the fawn, leave the area and come back to check on it the next day. Do not remain in the area. Does are very cautious and will not approach a fawn if they sense danger.

If a fawn is in the exact location when you check on it the following day and bleating loudly, or if a fawn is lying near a dead doe (likely at the side of a highway), do not take the fawn into your possession. It is illegal to remove a fawn from the wild. Only fawn rehabilitators with a permit from the Commission may keep white-tailed fawns in captivity for eventual release. Instead, call the Wildlife Resources Commission at 919-707-0050 for the contact information of a local, permitted fawn rehabilitator or see a list of fawn rehabilitators.

1 comment(s) so far...

Re: Young Deer Not To Fawn Over

Hi Mr. Lowman,
It is extremely unlikely the doe will harm you or your dog. The best plan of action is to alter your walk a little bit until the fawn is a bit older. It should only take a few weeks. If that is not an option, try spraying plain water (NOT ammonioa) from your bottle, and see if that works.

By NCWRC blogger on   8/27/2012 11:55 AM

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