Fawning Time is Here: Leave Them Alone!
JACKSON – July is traditionally a time in Mississippi when white-tailed deer fawns begin to appear. Each year human encounters with these new-born deer occur and questions arise as to the wellbeing of the fawn.
“Starting in July we begin to get phone calls and reports of fawns being found or wandering into people’s yards,” said William McKinley, Deer Program Biologist for the Wildlife Bureau of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks. “Each year we tell people the same thing, leave the fawns alone. Their mother is keeping track of them; she has not abandoned them and will return.”
Mississippi law prohibits the capture, possession or caging of any wild animal.
According to McKinley, the first few weeks of a fawn’s life are spent in isolation. They are born without odor to avoid attracting predators. The doe leaves them for most of the day and feeds, returning several times a day to nurse the fawn. As a natural defense the fawn lays still in a fashion that makes people think it is sick or injured.
At a few weeks of age the fawn will be on its feet and can outrun most predators and has no trouble keeping up with its mother.
“As people walk in the woods and find a fawn, it is important to not touch it, or linger too long around it,” said McKinley. “It is difficult to do, but just walk away and leave it. Thousands of fawns do just fine every year without human intervention.”
Does bred in December will have fawns in July. Later breeding will result in fawns dropping at later dates. This means spotted fawns could be encountered as late as October. Remember, if you encounter a fawn, leave it alone.