I found a baby deer (fawn), what do I do?

So this little guy or gal. Tresha first saw this morning bedding on our front hill behind Buddha but it ran off as she went to the car. We were surprised we didn’t see its mom around. Normally when we see little ones, around here mom is not far off. Didn’t think anything about it until going out to check the garden when I saw the little deer in our neighbors fenced in backyard. It was trying to find a way out but couldn’t get over the fence. It either came in their open gate or there is one low spot in the fence line from a tree falling a few years back that it may have been able to come in. Still no momma deer around. As were trying to decide if there was anything we should do, Tresha looked up online and found some information on Ohio DNR Wildlife website. After reading the information we decided to do what it said and leave it be for now and will check on it in the morning to see if it was able to get out of their yard as we didn’t want to cause it anymore anxiety or draw attention to it from any of the predators in our woods.

I found a baby deer (fawn), what do I do?

Leave it alone if:

      • It is seemingly healthy. The mother is likely nearby. Leave the area. Do not repeatedly check on the fawn. The more time you spend in the area the more likely you are to attract predators to the location. Also, the doe will not return while you are present.
      • If the fawn is in a dangerous location, move it to a safer location. Although you should limit touching the animal, it is a myth that the doe will reject a fawn with human scent on it. When moving a fawn, the young deer may try to follow you as you leave. To prevent the fawn from following you, face it away from the direction in which you plan to leave so it cannot watch you. Tap the fawn once or twice firmly between the shoulder blades (this mimics how the mother taps the fawn with her nose to communicate “stay here and wait until I come back”). Quickly leave the area. Do not linger. The baby may move around somewhat. Keep going and it should lie back down. If possible, you can monitor from afar with binoculars.

Contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator if: 

      • If you find a female deer that is struck by car and a fawn is waiting beside her
      • The fawn appears to be sick, cold, weak, injured, or covered in parasites
      • If the fawn is bleating without ceasing for several hours, and you observe that the mother has not returned in 24 hours.

Never keep a fawn as a pet!

      • Fawns are wild animals that belong in the wild. Once they grow, they are active and independent, which could easily make them dangerous and destructive.
      • Take a moment to understand that your good intentions in picking up a fawn could actually cause harm to you AND the animal. Understand that wild animals are born to live their lives in the wild.
      • Raising a wild animal in captivity is illegal unless you have a state permit.

How can I help prevent orphaned fawns?

    • Always keep your pets under control and watch them when they are outdoors, especially in the spring and summer when they could easily find baby wildlife.

A little about deer:

    • The white-tailed deer, commonly referred to as the whitetail, is perhaps Ohio’s best-known wildlife species. It is seen in the state’s wildlife areas, parks, and nature preserves as well as in the backyards of rural and suburban residents.
    • Deer typically have their babies (fawns) in May, June, or July. The first time a female deer (doe) breeds, they typically produce one fawn; each year after does can produce 2 or 3 fawns in a litter.
    • Fawns are born nearly scentless (so predators cannot find them easily). They also have spots that serve as camouflage and are able to stand soon after being born, but as a protective tactic will remain hidden.
    • It is common for female deer in urban areas to place fawns around homes, backyards, or flower beds. The mother placed it there because she felt it would be safe (often intentionally near humans).
    • To protect her fawn, the mother will spend very little time with it. This is to prevent attracting predators to the fawn’s location. She will leave her fawn in various hiding places for long periods of time, returning several times a day to nurse it. By staying away, the mother is protecting it.
    • Fawns will begin following their mothers at four weeks old. When they are two months old, fawns are able to forage for themselves and are completely weaned from their mother.
    • It is normal as fawns get older to “play” and be seen without their mother.
    • Learn more about white-tailed deer