I left the house yesterday right after sunrise headed to town. I was on my way to help my uncle move some lumber from his house up to his place in the country. On the way I was treated to the rare sight of a Hill Country White-tailed Doe nursing her fawn. I see lots of fawns throughout the spring and summer but it is rare to see one actually nursing.
It 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. Rehabbers in our area have an overabundance of whitetail fawns they are raising 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 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, Wild Ed