Maybe it’s the spots. Or the cute faces. Or those wobbly legs. There’s just something so sweet about baby deer that it brings out the protective instinct in humans.
Unfortunately, too much fawning over fawns can be harmful to them.
April through July is the peak time for births among the white-tailed deer in Virginia, and you may run across a young deer bedded down along a trail or curled up in your backyard that appears to be abandoned. Fairfax County Wildlife Biologist Katherine Edwards warns: “If you see a fawn that appears abandoned, leave it alone.”
In almost all cases, fawns are only temporarily left by their mothers for protection and don’t need any help from you. Edwards explains, “People don’t often see that mother deer return at dawn and dusk to move and/or nurse their young. Keep children and pets away and give the fawn space to allow the doe to return to its baby.”
Don’t be a fawn “kidnapper!”
If you or someone you know has already handled or “rescued” a fawn, return it immediately to the exact place where you found if less than 24 hours have passed. Its mother will be looking for it.
Do seek help if you see a fawn that is showing obvious signs of injury or distress. Call on the experts if you see a fawn that is wandering and crying incessantly, has swollen eyes, has visible wounds or broken bones, or if there is a dead lactating doe nearby. If you see these signs, contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, veterinarian or the Animal Protection Police for further assistance and instruction.
If you have questions about whether an animal needs help, contact the professionals. Call the Virginia Wildlife Conflict Helpline toll-free at 1-855-571-9003, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or search online to locate a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, The Fairfax County Animal Protection Police can be reached through the police non-emergency line at 703-691-2131.