Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Spot a fawn? Leave it alone!

Spring is a great time to have a baby (I think).  You get the summer off to enjoy the new baby, it’s getting warmer and the farmer’s markets come back.  But, I am not the only one who is planning to deliver in the next few weeks; many of Maine’s white-tailed does will be joining me in adding to the population.

Does will typically give birth in fields and along the tree line where they are comfortable and not in too much stress.   As we get out and about more to enjoy the changing seasons, it is vital that we stay away from does that may seem like they are in trouble (they could be pacing or have their tail up) because they are getting ready to fawn and do not need the added stress.  The bulk of the fawning will take place from the end of May until the middle of June.

Once a doe has her fawn(s), she will leave them in hiding for the majority of the day so she can feed.  The doe will normally return to feed her new fawn 2-3 times a day.  Like all new moms, these does need about 30-40% more energy than other does, in order to keep themselves and fawns healthy.

Here is the biggest issue we face as outdoor lovers:

The long absences can cause people who come across the fawns to think that the doe has abandoned them. During their first week of life, fawns will remain in hiding when the doe is not around, or if they are being threatened, as opposed to running. After the first week, fawns are capable of avoiding a predator on foot, but they still might want to hide instead.  Like any newborn, the first few weeks of a fawn’s life are the most critical and it’s really important that people do not handle them!  A doe knows exactly where her fawn is and assumes they are safe there until she can come back to them.

Too many people are uneducated about this and assume that when they come across a fawn that is alone, it must be abandoned.  They pick up the fawn and remove it from its home and take it away from its mother.  So, I beg of you PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not touch a fawn if you come across one in the woods or in a field!!! Chances are the doe is nearby and knows exactly where her baby is.

Keeping the fawns in the woods is the only way to ensure that the deer population can continue to grow and be healthy.  Last year, the Game Wardens and rehabilitation sites across the State saw a record number of fawns being brought in because people through they were abandoned.  We need to trust the natural instincts of this animal.  I want to ensure that there are more healthy fawns in the deer herd that can grow up and continue to help the rebuilding process.  The only way to do that is to leave them alone if you find them in the woods!

2 comments:

  1. Very good post, thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Rick! The more we can spread the word, the better. People think they are helping but really they are hurting the deer.

    ReplyDelete