Dan Bergeron: (603) 271-2461
Lt. Heidi Murphy: (603) 271-3127
Jay Martin: (603) 271-3211
May 22, 2020
The best chance a young wild animal has to survive is in its natural environment under the care of its mother.
CONCORD, NH – In the coming weeks, deer will begin giving birth around the Granite State with the majority of deer fawns being born in May and June. Each spring, many New Hampshire residents see young fawns by themselves and fear the worst. Has the mother died? Has she abandoned her fawn? The answer in most cases is no. The doe is usually not far off, waiting to return to feed her newborn fawn.
Adult deer can be easily detected by predators due to their scent and large size. For these reasons, does will spend extended periods away from their fawns to disassociate their scent from the fawn and keep them safe from predators. For the first month of life, the doe will only visit the fawn a few times a day to nurse quickly before leaving again, although usually not going too far.
Unfortunately, some well-intentioned individuals who see fawns alone assume they are abandoned and sometimes take them in trying to help. Most of the time, however, they are removing the fawn from the care it needs. The best chance a young wild animal has to survive is in its natural environment and under the care of its mother. If you see a fawn, or any other young wildlife and suspect it has been abandoned or orphaned do not move the animal. Contact the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (603) 271-2461 to initiate a report. Department staff can assess the situation and help determine the best course of action. In most instances it is advisable to leave the fawn alone and allow time for the mother to return to move it to a different location.
Do not approach, pet, or feed wildlife. Never take in wildlife. Only qualified people with special rehabilitator permits, issued through the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, may take in and care for injured or orphaned wildlife. Improper care of injured or orphaned wildlife often leads to their sickness or death and often they cannot be returned to the wild. For example, deer fawns that have been fed cow’s milk will develop severe diarrhea (scours). Unless you have rehabilitator credentials, it is illegal to take or possess New Hampshire wildlife from the wild and keep it in captivity. For a full list of licensed wildlife rehabilitators, visit www.wildnh.com/wildlife/rehabilitators.html.