Sunday afternoon, Kay and I were driving home after a special Father’s Day lunch in town, and as I glanced toward the pasture across the road from our home, something caught my eye. It was a tiny fawn standing within a few yards of the pasture fence.
I stopped, lowered the window and snapped a few photos of the little fellow before it wandered off across the pasture. I posted a snapshot of the little deer on Facebook and within an hour, there were responses from others around the region who had also seen newborn fawns.
“We saw one about 20 minutes ago, less than a few hours old”…”I saw one outside of Tullos in Winn Parish last Wednesday.”….”One was in my yard.”…”My husband saw two today here in the woods.”
What does this all mean? You don’t have to be a wildlife biologist to realize that this is the time of year when fawns are being born in our area.
Every year about this time, I receive a press release from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) reminding people who encounter what appear to be abandoned young deer alone in the outdoors that those fawns should be left undisturbed.
Here’s how the press release reads…”Every year the department receives calls from concerned citizens who have found what they consider to be “abandoned” fawns. Well intentioned, concerned citizens sometimes bring fawns home and then call the department to retrieve and raise them.
“LDWF is alerting the public that it is against the law to capture young deer or any other wild animal. If caught transporting or possessing wild deer without a permit, well meaning individuals may be subject to citations and fines.

“Picking up fawns seriously diminishes their chance to live a normal and healthy life. When a fawn is born, it is weak, awkward and unable to move well enough to feed and escape predators. However, the newborn fawn has a coat of light brown hair liberally covered with white spots that provides excellent camouflage against predators. The mother doe will remain in the area to feed and nurture the fawn. When the young deer gets older and stronger it will be able to forage for food with its mother.

“When encountering fawns in the wild, simply leave them untouched and depart quietly from the area. This action will provide the young deer its best chance to survive in the wild and prevent a possible citation for a well-intentioned outdoorsman.

“There have been too many cases of kind-hearted folks picking up what they believe to be an abandoned fawn and with the idea of keeping it as a cute little pet. There have been numerous reports of that sweet little creature becoming aggressive and dangerous once it reaches maturity.

“If it is confirmed that the mother has in fact died, such as seeing a fawn next to a road-killed doe, what you should do is call the LDWF and report what you find. There are facilities that are licensed to take in such baby animals.”

If you should chance to walk up on one in the weeds or next to a log, snap a photo if you would like and back away slowly. The doe is likely peaking through the brush somewhere nearby and is probably watching you to see if you are a threat to her baby. Once things settle down and you leave, she’ll return and the little one will follow her away.

It’s tempting I know to have compassion on what seems to be a helpless little baby deer and rescue it from harm when in fact, this is Mother Nature’s way of taking care of the situation.  Mother doesn’t need your help.