With the official beginning of summer, white-tailed deer fawns begin to appear in Mississippi and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks advises people to leave them alone.
“In late June we begin to receive a large number of calls and reports that someone has found a fawn” said William T. McKinley, MDWFP Deer Program Biologist. “We tell people the same thing every year – leave the fawns alone!”
According to McKinley, many people assume the fawn has been abandoned because the doe is not visible. Often, these well-meaning people take fawns home to care for them; however, Mississippi law prohibits the capture, possession, or caging of any wild animal, including white-tailed fawns.
Early in life, fawns are left hidden and alone for most of the day by their mothers. The doe will then return several times a day to nurse the fawn. As a natural defense, the fawn lies still in such a fashion that it makes people think it is sick or injured. Later, at only a few weeks of age, the fawn will be on its feet most of the time, is able to follow its mother, and is able to outrun most predators.
“If someone finds a fawn in the woods, they should not touch it,” said McKinley. “People need to remember that thousands of fawns survive every year without human assistance. I know it can be difficult, but people should keep their distance from the fawn. Count it a blessing that you were able to see it and then walk away. The fawn has a much better chance at survival if it is left alone.”
Does bred in December will begin to drop fawns in late June, but the peak of fawn birthing season is usually around the first two weeks of July. However, later breeding will result in fawns being born at later dates. This means that spotted fawns could be encountered as late as October in southeast Mississippi.