Mississippi wildlife officials have a simple message for people who encounter seemingly abandoned deer fawns — Leave them alone.

Summer is officially here and with it comes the season for does to birth fawns, also known as the fawn drop. Simple deer biology will have the does leaving fawns alone to lower the risk of being discovered by natural predators.

As in every fawn drop period, many Mississippians will come across a newborn fawn this summer and mistakenly think the fawn has been abandoned or is sick, and want to take the fawn home to care for it. 

“We tell people the same thing every year, please leave fawns alone,” said MDWFP Deer Program Leader Lann Wilf.  

Mississippi law prohibits the capture, possession, or caging of any wild animal including deer fawns.  

Early in life, it is normal for fawns to be alone for most of the day.  Does take great care of their fawns and purposefully leave them bedded and hidden, returning 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 the Magnolia State occur from June through August.  

“Following deer breeding trends in Mississippi, the earliest fawns will be born in the northwest portion of the state, and the latest fawns will be born in the southeastern portions of the state,” Wilf said. “Please remember, if you encounter a fawn, do not pick it up.

“Leave it alone.”