This is the time of year when we receive lots of calls at Wolf Hollow from people who find small fawns all alone and are concerned because they’re not with their Mom. But a young fawn lying curled up in the grass on its own is perfectly normal.
Fawn naps in the midst of wildflowers while doe is nearby. Photo by Robert Demar
Most of the Black-tailed Deer fawns in our area are born in May, and for the first couple of weeks their little legs are too weak and wobbly to jump over obstacles, run away from predators or follow Mom very far, so their mothers leave them in sheltered spots while they go off to feed. The fawn’s job is to lie quiet and still and wait for her to return, protected by the camouflage of its spotted coat and the fact that it has almost no scent to attract predators. After a few hours (up to 6 or 8 hours is not unusual) the doe returns to nurse her fawn, before going off to feed again. By the time the fawn is about 3 weeks old it is much stronger and is able to spend more time following its mother.
Each year we raise injured fawns, or orphans whose mothers have been killed by cars or dogs, but, sadly, we also receive fawns that have been “kidnapped” by well-meaning people. If you find a fawn please don’t disturb or touch it. Please stay back, keep dogs and children away and leave Mom to come back to feed her baby later. Please don’t try to care for it yourself. Fawns have very sensitive digestive systems and can quickly become sick if they don’t receive the proper diet and care.
If you see a doe and small fawn crossing the road, please stay well back and give the little creature time to pick its way across the hard surface on its tiny hooves. If they’re startled, the doe will probably run off and the fawn will immediately crouch down in the road and lie very still. If this happens, you can very carefully slip your hand under the fawn’s belly, carry it off the road and leave it in a safe, sheltered spot nearby. Mom will most likely return for her baby when she thinks it’s safe.
If you think a fawn is injured or in need of help, give us a call at Wolf Hollow 360-378-5000. We’ll be glad to talk with you and help work out if the fawn needs our care or is just waiting for Mom.