What To Do If You Find A Fawn

Spring is baby animal season, and the Wisconsin DNR reminds you to leave fawns alone.

If you encounter a fawn while outdoors, the DNR urges you not to touch it or intervene in any way. It’s probably right where it needs to be, and it’s mother likely isn’t far away.

In the first few weeks of life, fawns are alone most of the day. They stay hidden while their mothers are away to avoid drawing attention to their fawns’ location. They lie still in brush or grass, keeping quiet until their mothers return. Although the mother can return at any time of day to nurse the fawn, white-tailed deer are more active at dawn and dusk. This means the fawn can be alone for long periods between feedings.

“Fawns have specialized dietary needs that are not easily met, and they need to learn normal social behaviors from their mothers,” says Jenna Fastner, DNR Captive Wildlife Health Specialist. “Keeping your distance and not intervening gives the fawn its best chance for survival.”

If you find a fawn lying still and quiet, leave it alone. Leave the area and do not go near the spot again. Do not touch the fawn or bring children, pets, or friends to look at it. Doing so could endanger the fawn by giving away its location to a predator. The mother won’t return to nurse the fawn while people or pets are nearby.

“Fawns can walk from birth but need a few weeks to grow fast enough to keep up with their mothers and avoid predators. By the Fourth of July, most fawns are on the move alongside or nearby their mothers because they have the speed and agility to run from danger,” explains Fastner. “Until they reach that point, their spotted coats and minimal scent are their best defenses from predators.”