The peak of the fawn drop in Mississippi arrives this month — when most deer are born and when they are the cutest they’re ever going to be.
Nearly irresistible, they are.
But wildlife officials say it is very important that humans resist the urge to interact with fawns. It is also against the law to do so.
Leave them be
“If someone finds a fawn in the woods, they should not touch it,” said Amy Blaylock, the wildlife bureau director for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. “I know it can be difficult, but people should keep their distance from the fawn. The fawn has a much better chance at survival if it is left alone.”
Blaylock said that does bred in December will begin dropping fawns in late June, but because does in most areas of Mississippi are bred in late December or early January, the peak of the fawn drop is usually the first two weeks in July. Because some does, particularly in southeast Mississippi, aren’t bred until late January and into February, the fawn drop can continue into August and even September.
“The doe takes great care to purposefully hide the fawn during its first few weeks of life,” Blaylock said. “As a natural defense, the fawn lays still in a fashion that makes people think it is sick or injured.”
In addition, she said, the fawn is born nearly completely void of scent, which is why the doe will often bed the fawn down in heavy cover and leave the immediate area to remove her natural scent. It is at this time that when encountered by humans, many people mistake the lack of adult presence as a sign the fawn has been abandoned.
Blaylock said that is not the case; instead the doe will return and check on her fawn and feed it frequently.
“Leave the fawn alone,” Blaylock said, adding that within a few weeks the fawn will be up on its feet and able to follow its mother. It will be fast enough to outrun most predators.
Other baby animals
Deer aren’t the only wildlife that birth in the summer months. Humans, according to Blaylock, also mistakenly handle baby birds and squirrel. In some cases, they may be blown out of nests during a summer storm but the adults will find them and continue to care for them.
Mississippi law prohibits the capture, possession, or caging of any wild animal, including white-tailed deer fawns, squirrels, and birds.
Leave them alone.