Press Release 7/2/2019 – Wildlife Watch: Fawns
The Alamosa Police Department has received several calls for service concerning the welfare of baby deer. Deer fawns are born April through July, with the majority of fawns born in June. Most first-year does will have one fawn each year, but twins or triplets are typically seen thereafter. It is understandable to be worried about a fawn that you may believe has been abandoned by its mother. PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE FAWNS before checking the following:
See if the fawn is in a safe spot – (i.e., not in the middle of a road, not too close to a road or in an exposed ditch, etc. If the fawn is, then it can be moved about 50 to 100 feet to a safer location, preferably in the woods or high grass near the woods. If possible and circumstances allow you to wait, please call and have law enforcement or Colorado Parks & Wildlife relocate the fawn to a safer location.
Does the fawn look healthy?
Shiny, clean coat
If yes, the fawn’s healthy.
Understand that the mom (doe) will give birth and leave the fawn. She can leave up to about 12 hours, and then come back to nurse when the fawn bleats (calls out). Bleating sounds like a baby goat. When the mom hears that, she will go to the fawn within about 20-40 minutes. Just stay back and watch with binoculars. Mom is normally within a 500’ radius of the fawn.
UNDERSTAND SHE IS NOT ABANDONING HER BABY. She does not want to bring attention to the fawn by being with him/her, and she needs to feed herself to generate more milk to give to the fawn. Please give Mom and the fawn space. Stay back and watch with binoculars. You can continue to check on the fawn, while keeping your distance. Mom will only be there when she has to nurse, and she comes usually when it’s dark or almost dark (dawn or dusk). She nurses quickly and then leaves again.
The fawn may leave the area that day or in several days. At 2-3 weeks old, the fawn will follow Mom. Please do not touch or attempt to feed the fawn unless you believe it’s in critical danger. To see if the fawn is hydrated, you can pull the skin gently and it should snap right back or you can observe or feel his belly to see if it feels full.
If, on the other hand, you determine that there is a problem:
The fawn on his side or his legs are stretched out
You see a dead deer on the road (check to see if the deer is a nursing female), and you believe the deer could be the mother of the fawn,
If you see a fawn walking around calling out for more than about 40 minutes,
Covered with insects
These are not good signs and could indicate that something has happened to the Mom.
If you have already removed a healthy fawn, please put the fawn back, as the mother may abandoned its baby. We’ve had reports that the mother has returned even after a few days, but be sure to keep an eye on the fawn because the Mom’s milk may have dried up by then. So put the fawn back if you can and continue to monitor it for distress.
While there are a small percentage of young animals that are truly in trouble, it does happen, but remember too, that not all newborn wildlife will survive and are designed to live with their parents within their natural habitat.
Never chase a fawn to capture it. The stress of being chased can be dangerous to a fawn. Fawns are prone to a condition called capture myopathy, which is caused by chase and stress. Capture myopathy can lead to damage to internal organs, and even death.
Never give food or water to injured or orphaned wildlife. Inappropriate food or feeding technique can lead to sickness or death. Fawns in particular have very sensitive stomachs and require a special diet. Cow’s milk will make them sick.
You should ONLY call police dispatch or Colorado Parks & Wildlife if you are absolutely certain that the fawn is in distress and in critical condition. Leave the fawn alone! Keep children and pets away. Monitor from a distance and reassess the situation in 24 hours.
The City of Alamosa is a multi-cultural community of 9,000+ centrally located in the San Luis Valley of Southern Colorado. The City was incorporated in 1878 and is the gateway to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve where more than 300,000 visitors enjoy Colorado’s natural beauty each year. For more information, visit us at www.cityofalamosa.org.