Lakecaster Online

OUTDOORS WITH KEITH WARREN

 


Week ending June 13, 2005

The wonderful thing about deer is that they are very adaptable to living in just about anywhere there is food and water. It is for that reason that it is so common to see them in many cities and towns. This is the time of year that deer have fawns. With the ever-growing population of deer, it is important to understand what to do if you happen to stumble upon a newborn fawn.

First off, wild deer belong to the people of the State of Texas and cannot be owned personally. There is one exception. If you are a licensed deer breeder then it is legal to own a legally purchased deer. But this column is written for advice to those who are not licensed.

Does have fawns in all kinds of places that they feel are safe. It may be in your yard or on the side of the road. The first piece of advice is to leave it alone. Many people think that just because the fawn may be alone that its mother has deserted it. Wrong. Typically does have two fawns each year. They will give birth to each of them in a separate place. The reason for this is to increase the chance of survival of the young. The doe knows where her fawns are and will return for them.

Does are physically stressed after giving birth and they instinctively know how to care for their young. They will leave them for hours to rest and feed. But they usually won't be too far away.

A newborn fawn will have no odor and is extremely camouflaged. It will lie motionless and is difficult to see. They only weigh several pounds at birth and are very frail and vulnerable. During the first day of life a fawn will lie still and only get up if the mother comes to feed it. Within a few hours they can barely walk. But they will learn how to get around quickly. Within three days a world-class track star couldn't catch one.

A fawn is cute and it is tempting to interfere with Mother Nature. Many people believe that if you touch a fawn, its mother will not return for it. That is not true. I have held dozens of newborn fawns within hours of their birth and the mothers have all returned to raise them. But the fawns I have held are not free ranging wild fawns. They are fawns that are owned by deer breeders.

If you come across a fawn, leave it alone. Hopefully you will have a camera with you to take some photos. But don't disturb it. If possible and time permits, find a place to observe the fawn from a distance. You will be amazed to see how well they blend in to their environment and how their mother will return to care for them.

The more you disturb fawns, the more you increase their chance of not surviving.
Keith Warren is the host of two weekly outdoor television programs that broadcast on The Outdoor Channel. For questions or comments about our shows or the outdoors, contact Keith at www.keithwarren.net.

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