The doe leaves the fawn alone for eight hours or more, while
she feeds, drinks, and her milk replenishes. She will return
several times during the course of the day to feed and/or
clean her baby before leaving once again.
Young fawns have little scent and spend most of the first 2
weeks of their life inactive, except while nursing. Since
their natural instinct for these 2 weeks is freeze behavior,
it is unlikely fawns will be found by dogs or coyotes (unless
they trip over them).
If a doe stayed with her fawn, it would give away its hiding
place. If her fawn is moved, she will look for her baby for
2-3 days, continually returning to the area where she last
left it. By one month of age, most fawns begin to venture out
to browse with their mothers.
Fawns may be abandoned because its mother may have been
killed, because of multiple births, inexperience of first time
mothers or people or dogs frightening mothers away.
Under certain circumstances the fawn should be rescued
found next to a dead doe
is injured, has severe scrapes, deep puncture wounds, or
has maggots or lots of flies around or is heavily infested
with ticks around the eyes
is severely dehydrated
body temperature is extremely low
is found laying on its side with outstretched limbs
If the fawn you have found doesn't fit the above criteria, a
hands-on check can help determine if the fawn can safely be
left for a few hours.
Be aware that when you begin the exam, the fawn may run away
or bleat, bringing the doe to the rescue. If that happens,
back away-you have your answer!
Otherwise, stand the fawn up, feel under the stomach for the
umbilical scab (if it's there, the fawn is under a week old),
lift the tail and look for diarrhea, check for maggots,
scrapes, punctures or other injuries.
Put your little finger in the mouth, toward the back of the
tongue. A healthy fawn's temperature is about 102 degrees, so
the mouth should feel warm to the touch and the saliva should
not feel sticky.
Pull up the skin on the back and check for tenting. There is a
small indentation between the corner of the eye and the ear.
When a fawn is healthy and hydrated, this depression is barely
When severely dehydrated and the fat reserve is used up, these
depressions can be as much as 1/4inch deep and the eyes will
look like they are protruding.
It takes several days for a fawn to starve to death (depending
on its age and size), so if none of these factors are present,
it is reasonable to leave the fawn or put it back where it was
Keep dogs penned up and people away and check in a few hours.
If it's morning, wait until after dark. If it's evening, leave
the fawn until morning -WEATHER PERMITTING.
Young fawns cannot tolerate cold, wet conditions. Fawns will
usually move no more than 50 feet without the urging of their
mothers. After waiting 10-12 hours, if it's still near the
spot it was found, bring it in.
Putting human scent on the fawn could cause the doe to
perceive her baby to be in danger and cause her to move it to
the farthest part of her fawning range rather than the average
200 feet, or so, she would move it if there were no perceived
danger. Following these steps helps fawns from being
'kidnapped' and assures only the fawns truly in need of
rescuing are brought in.
If you have to rescue a fawn, follow these