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DNR: In most cases, leave fawns alone

Fawns should be left alone, says the Wisconsin DNR, unless they are in a dangerous place, such...
Fawns should be left alone, says the Wisconsin DNR, unless they are in a dangerous place, such as on a roadway. (Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)(KOTA)
Updated: May. 31, 2021 at 1:00 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WEAU) - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is reminding people who find fawns in the state should leave them alone in most circumstances.

“If you come across a fawn lying still and quiet and don’t see its mom around, that’s a good sign,” Amanda Kamps, DNR Wildlife Health Conservation Specialist, said. “That fawn is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do to keep safe.”

According to the DNR, spring is when white-tailed deer fawns are most common across Wisconsin. A fawn or group of fawns laying still and quiet with no doe present is a good sign, said the DNR.

The DNR says that mother deer spend most of the day looking for food away from their fawns. It takes a few weeks after birth for fawns to keep up with their mothers, even though they can walk from birth, so their best defenses are a soft scent and spotted coat.

The DNR reminds people stay away from fawns and to leave the area, since the mother will not return if there are people or animals nearby. Fawns can become endangered by people or animals staying close to them, said the DNR, since it gives away the location to predators.

If you find a fawn, the DNR offers these tips:

  • If you find a fawn lying quietly in brush, high grass or even your lawn, the fawn is most likely healthy and safe. If you are concerned, monitor the fawn from a distance. Its mother will return periodically to feed and move it to a new location.
  • If a fawn is in an unsafe location, such as near a roadway, it’s okay to move the fawn back from the road several yards. Be sure to wear gloves and a facemask to protect the health of the fawn and be sure to consider your own safety when walking near a road. The mother will find the fawn. Although you should avoid touching the fawn unless absolutely necessary, it is a myth that the mother will reject the fawn if it has human scent on it.
  • If a fawn appears visibly sick or injured, call the DNR or a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for further guidance. Visit the DNR website for contact information for a county near you.

The DNR reminds residents and visitors to Wisconsin that it is illegal to possess any wild animal, including fawns, to protect their health and safety. Fawns can become dependent on people for food, making their release back into the wild nearly impossible, says the DNR.

For more information on baby animals in the wild and what to do if you come across them, you can visit the Wisconsin DNR website or go here.

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