It’s summer in Mississippi, and with it comes the annual warning from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks:

Leave deer fawns alone!

MDWFP biologists are receiving numerous phone calls per day from concerned people who have discovered newborn deer and, before calling, have made a big mistake.

“We tell people the same thing every year – please leave fawns alone,” said MDWFP Deer program leader Lann Wilf, who added that in addition to putting the deer at risk, it is also illegal to capture, possess or cage any wild animals including white-tail fawns.

The problem is that well-meaning, but unknowing humans find these cute spotted fawns and because the irresistible little animals are alone, they believe the fawns have been orphaned or abandoned. Actually, it is normal deer behavior.

Wilf explained that after birthing their fawns, does intentionally leave their young bedded and hidden most of the day. Fawns are as close to scent-free as deer can be and are difficult for predators to find. Does return several times a day to nurse them.  

In just a matter of weeks, the fawns will be up following her and able to out-run predators.

Following a gestation period of approximately six and a half months, most fawning dates in Mississippi occur from June through August.

“Following deer breeding trends in Mississippi, the earliest fawns will be born in the northwest portion of the state,” Wild said. “And the latest fawns will be born is in the southeastern portions of the state.”

In Southeast Mississippi, it’s not unusual to have fawns born in mid to late September.