Contact(s): Dianne Robinson, DNR Wildlife Biologist, Dianne.Robinson@Wisconsin.gov, 262-424-9827
MADISON - Outdoor enthusiasts fortunate to see one of Wisconsin's whitetail deer fawns, born between late April and July, are reminded by state wildlife officials to enjoy the wildlife view from afar for the fawn's safety.
DNR Wildlife Biologist Dianne Robinson says the fawn's mother is nearby, but out of sight of observers.
"Spring is when well-meaning people discover fawns alone, mistakenly believe they are in trouble and take unneeded action that may harm the animal," Robinson said. "A fawn's best chance for survival is with its mother."
Robinson also serves as chair of the multi-agency Keep Wildlife Wild committee.
"Deer moms care for and protect their young differently than human mothers," Robinson said of the state's official wild animal. "It is normal for deer mothers to leave their fawns unattended because keeping fawns hidden and alone is actually an adaptation to protect them from predators. As long as the mother does not detect nearby threats she will return occasionally to feed her fawns or move them to new hiding places. "
Robinson says her best advice to spring callers concerned about fawns is simple: "Leave the fawn where it is. Do not touch the fawn as its lack of scent is one of its natural protectors."
Is it hard to know if a deer fawn is truly in need of help?
"Absolutely," Robinson said. "We do understand people want to help and that's a wonderful sentiment. However, to really help, remember that a healthy fawn's best chance for survival is with its mother. Do not touch or feed the fawn. Call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator right away to help you decide if a particular fawn needs help."
If a fawn is injured or known to be orphaned, contact your local wildlife rehabilitator immediately by visiting the DNR's website, dnr.wi.gov, and searching keyword rehab. If you need help, contact the DNR Call Center at 1-888-936-7463.