the spring it is a perfectly natural occurrence to come across
a fawn that is seemingly by itself.
To reduce the
risks of a predator locating her fawn, a doe seeks seclusion just
prior to birth, trying to be less conspicuous by avoiding other
deer. For the first few weeks of the fawn’s life, the doe
keeps the fawn hidden except for suckling bouts.The doe may also
feed and bed a considerable distance from the fawn’s bed site.This
way, even if a predator detects the doe, the fawn may still have
a chance of avoiding detection.
To further keep
her fawn safe from predators, the doe consumes the fawn’s
urine and droppings to help keep the fawn as scent-free as possible.
The droppings provide the mother with further nutrition at a time
when it is much needed.
When not nursing,
the fawn curls up in a bed site and remains motionless, its white
spots blending in well with the sun-flecked ground. Fawns lose their
spots at 90 to 120 days of age, when they begin growing their winter
wildlife departments and wildlife rehabilitators receive calls about
“orphaned” fawns. Callers are told that in the spring
it is a perfectly natural occurrence to come across a fawn that
is seemingly by itself in the woods.The fawn is probably not alone;
its mother is nearby, aware, and attentive.
The advice to
anyone encountering a fawn lying quietly alone in the woods is to
leave it alone. Mother will be nearby and will be taking care of
it once you move away.
If you have
handled the fawn, rub an old towel in the grass and wipe the fawn
to remove human scent. Using gloves, return the fawn to where it
was found. Fawns can often be returned to their mothers if taken
back to where they were found within eight hours.
If a fawn appears
cold, weak, thin, or injured, and its mother does not return in
approximately eight hours, it may be orphaned. In such a case, you
can call a local rehabilitator (look under “Animal”
or “Wildlife” in your phone directory) or your local WDFW Regional Office for the name and phone number of a rehabilitator in your area. (For
additional information, see Wildlife Rehabilitators
and Wildlife Rehabilitation.)
from "Living with Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest"
Written by: Russell
Link, Urban Wildlife Biologist