I was out checking fences and livestock after this last storm when I noticed a doe standing in tall grass not far from the ranch road. She just stood and watched as I drove by just a few yards away. After checking the pasture I headed back to the gate to the house tract and noticed the doe laying only a few yards from where I saw her before. Thinking she might be injured I stopped and walked towards her. Walking only a few yards I noticed something on the ground and saw it was a newborn fawn laying perfectly still on the ground. I turned and went back to my two seat buggy and drove on my way.
This sighting reminded me that I needed to post a warning about touching these little fawns. This is the time of year that people come across these darling little creatures and want to pick them up or feel they are abandoned and think they are saving them. Do not touch it, if you get your scent on it the doe may not take it back when she returns. Deer bond based on smell and if that smell is strange she will not accept the young deer as her fawn.
Not only are fawns found out in the countryside but also in city neighborhoods as we encroach into their habitat with housing developments. In Suburbia the deer are quite at home with living on the forage found in large yards and greenbelts. Several generations have been raised among the houses and traffic and thus it is normal for them. What is not normal are the numbers of fawns that are picked up by well-meaning souls that find them laying in the yard or on the edge of a hike and bike trail. A doe will place her fawn somewhere she feels is secure and go off to feed. She will later return to check the fawn and nurse it as needed. So many city folks that run across these fawns think they are abandoned or the mother is dead and take them. Not being equipped nor trained in raising deer they either have to get help or try to raise it themselves. Many cannot get the little fawn to nurse or give it the wrong kind of milk and start it towards a cruel death even though they had good intentions.
I have raised three fawns through the years only because they were actually in danger. One followed a horse back to the barn on a large ranch in West Texas and we had no idea when or where the fawn had decided the horse was its mother. Another I found covered in fire ants and felt it would be dead or permanently injured in just a short time. The third was being carried down the road by a large lab in a subdivision. When I stopped the dog dropped the little fawn that in perfect condition. Since I did not know the where the lab had retrieved the fawn or how long it had been carried, and it now had dog scent all over it, I took it. All of the fawns were raised and later released when they could make it on their own. Rehabbers in Texas have an overabundance of whitetail fawns brought in each year that they have to raise because of the well-intentioned people that have picked them up.
Remember that if you find a fawn leave it where it is unless it is covered by fire ants or is actually in real danger. Do not get your scent on it. The doe will return and retrieve her fawn later. If you really think it is abandoned come back and check on it later just before dark. Ninety-nine percent of the time the doe will have moved it. It is illegal for you to possess a Whitetail fawn in Texas without proper permits. If it truly needs help you should go to the Texas Parks and Wildlife website and locate a licensed rehabber in your area. They will take the fawn and give it a chance to survive. Feel free to observe the beautiful wildlife of Texas, but do it from a distance.