ST. LOUIS – With more and more deer in suburban areas, you might end up finding a fawn in your yard at some point. Don’t rush out to try to help the poor, abandoned baby deer. It’s probably doing fine on its own.
Fawns are born in May and June. If you find one lying alone in your yard, try not to worry.
“What’s very common for deer mothers, for does to do is to leave their fawn somewhere where they think it is fairly safe,” said Dan Zarlenga with the Missouri Department of Conservation. “It could be in a grassy area, a woodsy area. It might even be in your backyard.”
The baby isn’t strong enough to follow mom all day, so female deer hide their newborn before going off to feed. But they are always close by.
“The best thing you can do is leave it alone. You can view it. You can watch it. And know that the mother is right around close by, maybe even watching you,” said Zarlenga.
Though they seem vulnerable, fawns are not totally helpless. They do not have a strong scent that would attract predators and they know to keep quiet when hiding.
“The mothers do this by nature. And the fawns do this by nature, by instinct, know what to do. And that’s usually to lay still and not move around a lot,” said Zarlenga.
If you see a fawn near a dead mother, then you might want to call a wildlife center. Or if you see something threatening the fawn, like a dog, remove that threat. Otherwise, resist the urge to move the baby.
“The mother knows where it left the fawn. It’s probably close by. And, if for some reason the mother did get a little farther away and you move the fawn, now that’s going to disrupt the mother,” said Zarlenga.