Leave Fawns Alone, Wildlife Commission Urges
RALEIGH, N.C. (April 13, 2006) ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â With fawning season in full swing, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is asking people not to approach, touch or remove any white-tailed fawns.
At the peak of fawning season in May and June, people might see fawns left alone and assume they have been abandoned by the doe. Usually, this is not the case. Whitetails are a "hider" species, which means the female will hide her fawn in vegetation during the first two or three weeks of its life as she feeds.
Dappled and lacking scent, fawns are well-camouflaged and usually remain undetected by predators. The doe will return to the fawn several times a day to nurse and clean it, staying only a few minutes each time before leaving again to seek food. The doe also will consume the fawnÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s excrement to eliminate odor that might attract a predator.
Fawns are not as helpless as they might appear. By the time a deer is 5 days old, already it can outrun a human. At 3 to 6 weeks of age, fawns can escape most predators. Typically, fawns are functionally weaned by about 10 weeks and are eating vegetation and other browse, although they may continue to nurse for another 4 to 6 months.
With a diet that may include more than 500 types of plants, fruit and mast, whitetails have proven to be an exceptionally adaptable species. Now numbering about 1.1 million in North Carolina, deer have made themselves at home not only on farms and forests, but also in suburban yards and parks.
Unless a fawn is in imminent danger ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â for example, being attacked by dogs or injured in a tractor mowing accident ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â the best decision always is to leave it alone. If you are concerned about the fawn, leave the area and check on the fawn the next day. Do not remain in the area. Does are very cautious and will not approach a fawn if she senses danger. It is a myth, however, that does will reject a fawn with a human scent.
If a fawn is in the exact location when you check on it the following day and bleating loudly, or if a fawn is lying beside a dead doe (likely at the side of a highway), do not take the fawn into your possession. Instead, contact the Wildlife Resources Commission at (919) 707-0040 for the telephone number of a local permitted fawn rehabilitator (see rehabilitators by county).
Besides being biologically irresponsible to remove a fawn from the wild, it is also illegal. Only fawn rehabilitators with a permit from the Commission may keep white-tailed fawns in captivity for eventual release. With the exception of trained wildlife rehabilitators, most people are ill-equipped to care for a fawn. Attempts to "save" an abandoned fawn typically do more harm than good.
The majority of captive fawns which are not taken to an experienced fawn rehabilitator eventually die because most people do not know how to care for them. A fawnÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s best chance of survival is to remain in the wild.
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