Journal of the San Juan Islands


Fawn season: four tips to help them along the way

May 17, 2013 · Updated 6:05 PM

Black-tailed Deer fawns, like the one pictured here, are in abundance in the San Juan Islands in the month of May. Read the accompanying article by Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation to find out how you can increase their chances for survival. / Contributed photo/Wolf Hollow

— Submitted by Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center

The Black-tailed Deer we have here on the San Juans mostly give birth to their fawns in May, so right now is the peak of fawn season.

For the first 2 or 3 weeks these fawns are small and vulnerable. You can help reduce the number of fawns that are injured or separated from their mother by following these guidelines:

1) Keep dogs under control. Deer fawns and other young wild animals such as raccoon and fox kits, are easy for dogs to catch and injure. Dogs running in fields and woodland can frighten wild animals causing youngsters to become separated from their parents.

2) Drive carefully. Young fawns move slowly when they are following Mom across the road.  If they are startled, their instinctive reaction is to drop to the ground and lie still. If you see a fawn following a doe across the road, stop and stay back until it has finished crossing. Don’t sound your horn or try to chase it. If it drops to the ground, carefully slip your hands under its chest and belly and move it to a safe, sheltered spot a few feet off the edge of the road. Then leave, so that mom can come back for her youngster.

3) Do Not Disturb. If you find a fawn on it’s own, lying curled up in the grass, don’t touch it or disturb it, just leave quietly. For the first couple of weeks, the fawn is not strong enough to follow its mother through brush and over fallen branches, so it is left to lie quietly hidden until she returns. It is normal for a doe to leave her fawn for up to 6-8 hours before returning to feed it.

4) If you find a fawn that is injured or weak please call Wolf Hollow at 378-5000. Please don’t try to care for it yourself, as fawns can quickly become sick if they are not fed the proper diet. A fawn that is raised with lots of contact with people and pets can become tame, reducing its chances of survival in the wild, and increasing the likelihood of it being considered a “nuisance”  when it is grown.

It is illegal to keep any wild animal unless you have a permit to do so.



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