This is the first account I’ve heard so far this year but I’ll bet I’ll hear more. Baby fawns are being born just about now and these little fellows are often found by people walking the woods or in the case I heard about recently, looking out their kitchen window.
A friend called to report something strange his daughter had found in their yard within 10 steps of the kitchen window. A tiny fawn, still wet with umbilical cord still attached, was lying in the grass in the yard. Obviously, a doe had delivered the fawn in this most unlikely of places.
Knowing that baby deer should be left where they’re found, this homeowner had a problem; he had four dogs and was fearful of what would happen to the fawn if the dogs found it. He gathered up the little deer and took it to the woods behind the house out of sight and scent of the dogs. In this case, I think he did the right thing because he spotted a doe nearby. The next morning, the baby and doe were nowhere to be seen. This situation was unusual.
In the vast majority of cases, the fawn should be left where you find it since contrary to what many believe, the fawn has not been abandoned and the mother is nearby.
According to a press release I received this week, one I get every year about this time, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is reminding people who encounter what appear to be abandoned young deer, alone in the outdoors, that those fawns should be left undisturbed.
Here’s how the press release reads: “Every year the department receives calls from concerned citizens who have found what they consider to be "abandoned" fawns. Well-intentioned, concerned citizens sometimes bring fawns home and then call the department to retrieve and raise them.
“LDWF is alerting the public that it is against the law to capture young deer or any other wild animal. If caught transporting or possessing wild deer without a permit, well-meaning individuals may be subject to citations and fines.
‘”Picking up fawns seriously diminishes their chance to live a normal and healthy life,’ said Emile Leblanc, LDWF Wildlife Division biologist. ‘When a fawn is born, it is weak, awkward and unable to move well enough to feed and escape predators. However, the newborn fawn has a coat of light brown hair liberally covered with white spots that provides excellent camouflage against predators. The mother doe will remain in the area to feed and nurture the fawn. When the young deer gets older and stronger it will be able to forage for food with its mother.’
“When encountering fawns in the wild, simply leave them untouched and depart quietly from the area. This action will provide the young deer its best chance to survive in the wild and prevent a possible citation for a well-intended outdoorsman.”
There have been too many cases of well-intentioned folks picking up what they believe to be an abandoned fawn and keeping it as a pet. There have also been numerous reports of that cute sweet little creature becoming aggressive and dangerous once it reaches maturity.
If it is confirmed that the mother has in fact died, such as seeing a fawn next to a road-killed doe, call LDWF and report what you find. There are facilities available that are licensed to take in such baby animals. Snap a photo or two and then leave the fawn where you find it; that little fellow will likely make it just fine.
What if it’s in your yard with four dogs? This is where common sense kicks in.