Wildlife officials: Mom is nearby, don’t pick up that baby deer

Therese Apel

If you’re a hunter or just someone who loves deer, you know that mid-Summer is fawn season.

The lush vegetation of Summer provides two things that are integral to the survival of a fawn: It provides nutrition to the nursing mother, and it provides cover for the growing baby. That cover is important in the early days of the fawn’s life as the mother will let it bed down and then she will go away from the baby so as not to draw the attention of predators to it.

Fawns able to walk as soon as they are born, but they don’t start following their mother until they are 3 weeks old, according to the Mississippi Wildlife Fisheries and Parks website. They won’t follow her everywhere until they’re eight weeks old.

The doe will actually visits the fawn every 4-6 hours to nurse, and then usually moves it to a new spot.

A lot of people don’t realize that when they find a fawn all alone, it hasn’t been abandoned. This can lead well-meaning citizens to want to pick them up and take them home or take them to a wildlife refuge.

According to Ricky Flynt, formerly of MDWFP and now working with Mississippi Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund: DON’T DO THAT.

“You may think you are a hero, but you are signing a death warrant when you do,” he posted on his Facebook Monday. “Besides that… the fawn is fine. Mama deer has not abandoned it LEAVE IT ALONE… PLEASE!!!”

MDWFP states on their website that picking up that baby deer could end up killing it.

“If taken from it’s mother, it’s chances of survival drastically decreases, since they need key antibodies from their mother’s milk,” says the MDWFP website.

Peak fawning dates for most of Mississippi are in July, MDWFP says, but for other parts of the state it starts in mid-June.

See the map below to see when the baby fawns make their debut in your area.

When are fawns born in you area? (Map: MDWFP)

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