How to Handle an Abandoned Baby Deer in the Wild

Posted by Christy Caplan

A fawn is sleeping under your deck. Even though it feels like you should immediately stop what you're doing and rescue this fawn, read the below rules first.

The Advanced Wildlife Control provides words of wisdom, so follow these four important steps

What to Do If You Find a Baby Deer

For starters, the baby deer is not actually abandoned. Early in a fawn's life, it is still too clumsy and awkward on its newly discovered legs, so built-in defense mechanisms like its coloring and spots help protect it from potential predators while hiding in plain sight.

Does often leave their fawns in a location they deem safe while going out looking for food. Many times the doe is very close by, though she may not return to check on her new fawn for several hours.

A "safe location" may be in your own backyard, but this is still safe!

Advanced Wildlife Control explains warning signs that a baby deer may, in fact, be in trouble:

"There are a few warning signs to identify if a baby deer has truly been abandoned. If you notice the fawn in the morning and it appears wet, as if the dew has collected on it, this is likely a sign that it is abandoned. While does will leave fawns for long stretches of time, they do not often leave them overnight. In addition, if the fawn has been alone for more than 10 hours at a time, it may be a sign that it is abandoned, as fawns feed approximately every 10 hours."

Who Do I Call About an Abandoned Baby Deer?

Advanced Wildlife Control offers these rules if you find a wild animal and need some general guidelines. If you have an animal in need, please:

  • Do not handle the animal any more than necessary to contain it - this is for your protection as well as for the animal's well being. Wild animals are terrified of humans. They may fight back, try to flee, or freeze. Many people mistake the "freeze" behavior for tolerance or enjoyment of contact when in reality it is a fear response.
  • Do not feed the animal. Most animals eat specialized foods, and feeding can be dangerous to the animal's health. For example, did you know feeding a starving animal can kill the animal if it is not done properly?
  • Be cautious when choosing to leave water. Many wild animals do not drink standing water, and attempting to help them drink can result in pneumonia. In addition, if an animal spills its water and gets wet, it could get cold and may die. If in doubt, it is better not to leave water.
  • Call your local Wildlife Care Center as soon as you can. If you can't bring it to the center during open hours, or you believe the animal is in critical condition and needs immediate attention after hours, call your nearest emergency vet hospital.

The deer fawn you find in your yard is probably fine! Baby animals as you read above can be removed if they're small and you're concerned they're in harm's way but a lone fawn is probably in the tall grass on purpose. Leave the newborn fawns wherever you found them.

Have you ever found a baby fawn? Please leave a comment below. 

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How to Handle an Abandoned Baby Deer in the Wild