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Categorized | Featured, Outdoors

Find a fawn? Enjoy the experience, but from a distance

Young fawns like this often are found alone in the wild this time of year; best to leave them alone.

A thicket, a patch of tall grass, a quiet spot in your backyard—what do these places have in common? All are locations where fawns have been found throughout Michigan. For the first few weeks of a white-tailed deer’s life, the mother will hide it in secluded spots, a behavior that helps reduce the potential for predators to find the fawn. 

Hannah Schauer, a communications coordinator for the DNR’s Wildlife Division, said that while fawns may appear abandoned, they rarely are. “All wild white-tailed deer begin life this way,” she said. 

In fact, the mother’s placement of the fawn and the fawn’s own excellent camouflage are further strengthened by one more natural defense that will help the animal stay hidden from predators: Fawns are virtually odorless when they are young!

For all of these reasons, Schauer said that if you do come across a fawn on its own, the best thing to do is not touch it. 

“There’s a very good chance the fawn is exactly where it is supposed to be,” she said. “It’s not uncommon for a deer to leave her fawn unattended, so no attention is drawn to the fawn’s hiding place. When she feels it is safe, the mother will return periodically to nurse her fawn.” 

Schauer advises leaving fawns alone and simply enjoying the experience from a distance. “Leaving baby animals in the wild ensures they have the best chance for survival,” she said. 

Only licensed wildlife rehabilitators may possess abandoned or injured wildlife. Unless someone is licensed, it is illegal to possess live wild animals, including deer, in Michigan.  

Help keep Michigan’s wildlife wild. Learn more at michigan.gov/wildlife or contact Hannah Schauer at 517-388-9678.

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