The beginning of summer marks the appearance of white-tailed deer fawns throughout Mississippi, and the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks is asking people to leave these young deer alone.

"In late June we begin receiving many calls and reports that someone has found a fawn," MDWFP Deer Program Biologist William T. McKinley said. "We always tell people the same thing, 'Leave the fawns alone.'"

McKinley said people too often assume a fawn has been abandoned because the doe does not seem to be around. Many times, these well-meaning people take fawns home to care for them; however, Mississippi law prohibits the capture, possession, or caging of any wild animal, including white-tailed fawns.
Early in life, fawns are alone for much of the day. The doe will leave a fawn hidden and will return several times a day to feed the young deer.

As a natural defense, fawns remain so still that people could think the animals are sick or injured. However, at just a few weeks of age, those same fawns will be on their feet, can follow their mothers and can outrun most predators.

"If someone finds a fawn in the woods, they should not touch it," McKinley said. "People should remember that thousands of fawns do just fine without human assistance. I know it can be difficult, but people should keep their distance from the fawn.

"Count it a blessing that you were able to see it and walk away. The fawn has a much better chance at survival if it is left alone."

Does bred in December will begin to drop fawns in late June. Peak fawn drop is usually around the first two weeks of July. However, later breeding dates will result in fawns dropping at later dates. This means spotted fawns may be encountered as late as October in southeast Mississippi.

So, remember: if you encounter a fawn, or leave it alone.