Appreciate fawns from afar

While lone fawns may appear to be abandoned, it is a regular practice of does to leave their young while out foraging.

by Brydie Todd, WildSafeBC coordinator

Deer fawns are currently becoming a regular part of the scenery in town. Fawns are normally born between late April and early July—and it’s important to remember to appreciate them from afar.

The best defence of a newborn deer against predation is its spotted coat, which blends easily into grassy backdrops, and its lack of scent. In its first few weeks, its relative lack of scent allows the fawn to go unnoticed by predators. Therefore, it is most safe when nestled on its own in a bed of grass.

While lone fawns may appear to be abandoned, it is a regular practice of does to leave their young in the safety of tall grass or bushes while out foraging. Once the mother has had a chance to feed, she will return to the bedding site to nurse her offspring.

If humans make the mistake of handling or moving fawns, does may be unable to locate their young, or may even be unwilling to accept their own offspring upon their return.

Recently a family in Grand Forks noticed a fawn that appeared to be alone in their yard for multiple days. Armed with the knowledge that human intervention might be detrimental to the animal, the family simply observed the seemingly-distressed fawn.

After a long wait, the mother finally returned. It was a great example of Mother Nature working things out on her own.

Human interactions with wildlife often result in hardship for animals, whether immediately or down the road. Does and fawns are particularly sensitive to human intervention, so avoid areas where there are known bedding sites. Undue stress on these animals may even elicit a defensive attack, particularly when dogs are involved.

Always keep your pets on a leash and stay on trails to avoid unwanted interactions with wildlife.

The Conservation Officer Service advises that when a fawn is presumed abandoned, to monitor it for 24-48 hours. If the mother does not return in that time to nurse its offspring, report the animal to the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277 to alert the local conservation officer. Aggressive or injured animals should also be reported.

WildSafeBC endeavours to reduce human-wildlife conflict to keep wildlife wild and communities safe.