MONTPELIER – Deer fawns are born this time of year, and people should avoid disturbing or picking them up, says the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department.
Most deer calves are born in late May and the first and second weeks of June, according to Vermont biologist Nick Fortin.
Fortin says it’s best to keep your distance as the mother of the fawn is almost always nearby. When people see a small fawn alone, they often mistakenly assume that it is helpless, lost, or in need of rescue.
The fawns do not attempt to evade predators during their first few weeks, but rather rely on camouflage and stillness to remain undetected. During these times, fawns learn essential survival skills from their mothers. Bringing a fawn into a human environment results in separation from its mother, and it usually results in a sad end for the animal.
Fortin encourages people to resist the urge to help wildlife in ways that can be harmful, and he offered these tips:
• Deer suckle their young at different times of the day and often leave their young alone for long periods of time. These animals are not lost. Their mother knows where they are and will come back.
• Normally, deer do not feed or care for their young when people are nearby.
• Deer fawns will imprint themselves on humans and lose their natural fear of people, which can be essential to their survival.
• Keep pets under control at all times. Dogs often kill fawns and other baby animals.
For the safety of all wildlife, it is illegal to bring a wild animal into captivity in Vermont.
“It is in the best interests of the Vermonters and the wildlife that live here that we all maintain a respectful distance and help keep wildlife,” added Fortin.