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What should you do if you find a fawn?

  • Written by Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center

There may be fewer deer on the San Juans than there were last year, but quite a few fawns will still be born in the next few weeks. You may come across a tiny fawn curled up in the grass in your yard or hidden under a bush when you walk in the woods. It will probably be all on its own with no Mom in sight, but that’s perfectly normal.

Fawn curled up in the grass. Robert Demar photo

What should you do if you find a fawn?

The best thing to do is quietly move away and leave it in peace so Mom can return later. Please don’t get close or touch the fawn.

For the first couple of weeks a fawn’s legs are too weak to follow Mom through the woods, so its job is to lie still and quiet, camouflaged by its spotted coat. Mom may leave for 6-8 hours before returning to feed her fawn and perhaps move it to a different spot nearby. By the time they are about three weeks old, their legs are stronger, and they can travel longer distances, but fawns are still not as fast as Mom. This means they are vulnerable, not only to natural predators but also to our dogs, so this is an especially good time to keep your dog under control and not let it run loose.

What should you do if you find a tiny fawn lying curled up in the middle of the road?

This usually happens when a new fawn is slowly following Mom across the hard surface and a car suddenly appears. Mom leaps off into the bushes and the fawn instinctively drops to the ground and freezes. If the fawn is unhurt, slide your hand under its belly, gently carry it a few feet off the side of the road and leave it in a safe, sheltered spot. Mom is probably nearby, waiting for you to leave so she can return for her baby.

If you are concerned that a fawn may be injured or separated from Mom, please give us a call. We’d be happy to help you work out what’s going on or bring the youngster in for care if it truly needs help.

Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center 360-378-5000.

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