Orphan Deer?

A “buck” is called a male deer. A “doe” is called a female deer. Babies are called “fawns.”

I’m an orphan if…

  • I’m next to my dead mother.
  • I appear cold and hungry.
  • I appear injured.
  • I’m lying on my side, or wandering and crying excessively.
  • I come right up to you.

It is normal to see fawns of any age left alone. The mother has tried carefully to hide her fawn while she goes to forage. The fawn has a natural camouflage coat to help it blend in with the high grasses that the mother has left it in. They lay flat and motionless, so they do not attract the attention of predators while waiting for their mother to return. The doe will return and nurse her fawn a few times a day to avoid attracting predators. A fawn found alone and quiet is okay.

Mother deer are wary of human smells; if you have already handled the fawn, take a towel, rub it in the grass, and then wipe down the fawn to remove all human scent. Then return the fawn to the place where you found him.

If the fawn is still alone, or you know that the mother is dead, immediately call a wildlife rehabilitator. Meanwhile, keep yourself and all pets away from the fawn. Try not to move the fawn. You do not want to scare it off.

If the fawn is in a dangerous situation, like near a highway or populated area, you may want to try to move it a short distance away to a safer area. Not too far away, you want the mother to be able to find it. Do not chase a fawn to catch it. This could cause it to become even more frightened. Get down on the fawn’s level and slowly move towards it. The fawn will more than likely move backwards, so keep this in mind as you move towards it. You don’t want the fawn to move backwards into traffic. You are just going to move the fawn far enough away from any immediate danger such as traffic. Then call a wildlife rehabilitator or your animal control officer to remove the fawn.