Understandably so, people often mistake fawns to be “orphaned” because the mother typically leaves them alone in daytime, feeding the young as-needed. Foraging in a location separate from the fawn helps both animals hide from predators & people more effectively. The camouflaged, scentless fawn lies perfectly still and blends into the surroundings (see photo below of one spotted at Carlisle Reservation last month) until the mother returns in the evening. Often the fawn may be seen in the same spot for several days until the mother decides to lead the fawn to a new hiding place.
A fawn resting quietly does NOT need to be rescued by humans. A fawn that is crying, walking around or walking up to people, shows signs of injury, or is covered by flies is a fawn in distress and is probably orphaned. Never give a fawn cow’s milk, or formulas intended for human infants, puppies, kittens, etc., as these products can cause gastric distress and diarrhea. As of 2009, it is illegal in the state of Ohio to rehabilitate white-tailed deer, including orphans. Please leave fawns where they were found for all attempts at re-uniting. If re-uniting fails or there is confirmation of a dead mother, please call the Ohio Wildlife Center’s Hospital at (614) 793-9453 for further assistance. ~CVC Naturalist Miss Jenn 🙂