To reduce the risks of a predator locating her fawn, a doe seeks seclusion just prior to birth, trying to be less conspicuous by avoiding other deer. For the first few weeks of the fawn’s life, the doe keeps the fawn hidden except for suckling bouts.The doe may also feed and bed a considerable distance from the fawn’s bed site.This way, even if a predator detects the doe, the fawn may still have a chance of avoiding detection.
When not nursing, the fawn curls up in a bed site and remains motionless, its white spots blending in well with the sun-flecked ground. Fawns lose their spots at 90 to 120 days of age, when they begin growing their winter coats.
Every year, we receive calls about “orphaned” fawns. Callers are told that in the spring it is a perfectly natural occurrence to come across a fawn that is seemingly by itself in the woods.The fawn is probably not alone; its mother is nearby, aware, and attentive.
If you have handled the fawn, rub an old towel in the grass and wipe the fawn to remove human scent. Using gloves, return the fawn to where it was found. Fawns can often be returned to their mothers if taken back to where they were found within three days.
If a fawn appears cold, weak, thin, or injured, and its mother does not return in approximately eight hours, it may be orphaned. In such a case, you can call us or bring it to the center. Although the Phoenix Wildlife Center is NOT a licensed fawn rehabilitator, we CAN triage the animal and make it comfortable until it can be transported to the appropriate facility.
The advice to anyone encountering a fawn lying quietly alone in the woods is to leave it alone. Mother will be nearby and will be taking care of it once you move away.