Sunday, June 8, 2008

Deer Fawns Not Really Abandoned

I was headed over to my mother’s house last evening when the traffic came to a quick standstill. I could see up about 5 cars and watched this deer creeping across the road like a snail. I was wondering why a doe would be crossing the road so slow when the reason became obvious. She was leading a brand new spotted fawn across the street. It was only hours old and was taking tiny steps on its spindly legs as she led it across to a yard with better forage. I went on down the road to mom's house and turned in the drive. There standing in her yard was a doe with a pair of spotted fawns. These were several days old and could already run at a good clip. This time of year we are seeing this years fawn crop in more and more neighborhoods as we encroach into their habitat with development.

Here 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 and get the fawn to nurse it as needed. So many city folks that run across these fawns think they are abandoned and take them. Not being equipped nor trained in raising deer they either have to get help or raise it themselves. Many can not 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. Rehabbers in our area have an over abundance of whitetail fawns they are raising because well intentioned people have picked them up.

Remember that if you find a fawn to leave it where it is unless it is covered by fire ants. Do not get your scent on it. The doe will return and get the fawn later. If you really think it is abandoned come back and check on it later. Ninety-nine percent of the time the doe will have moved it. It is illegal for you to possess a fawn in Texas so 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. Good watching, Wild Ed

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