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May 12, 2022

Wildlife officials: Leave the fawns alone

Fawns, generally born between May and July, are intentionally left alone by does to avoid leading predators to them, with the mothers returning a few times a day to move and feed their offspring. (Photo by Daniel Walsh, USGS.gov)
By Virginia Mercury
Staff
Spring is in full swing, and that means Virginians might be tempted to aid white-tailed deer fawns that appear to have been abandoned.

Don’t do it, the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources says.

“Concerned people sometimes pick up animals that they think are orphaned. Most such ‘orphans’ that good-intentioned citizens ‘rescue’ every spring should have been left alone. Most wild animals will not abandon their young, but they do leave them alone for long periods of time,” the agency said in a news release.

Fawns, generally born between May and July, are intentionally left alone by does to avoid leading predators to them, with the mothers returning a few times a day to move and feed their offspring.

“You probably will not see the doe at all since she only stays to feed the fawn for just a few minutes before leaving it alone again. If less than 24 hours have passed since a fawn has been ‘rescued,’ the fawn should be taken back and released at the exact same location where it was found. After returning the fawn, immediately leave the area and do not wait for the doe to return. The doe will not come back for the fawn if a human is nearby,” DWR said.

More information is at dwr.virginia.gov/wildlife/deer/keeping-deer-wild/.
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