Fawns are cute; leave them be
Fawns are typically hidden in dense cover to avoid predation, but by now, the babies are getting a little more daring and beginning to travel with the doe.
“For the past few weeks you may have noticed small cloven tracks in soft soil indicating white-tailed deer fawns are on the ground,” said Dwayne Elmore, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension wildlife specialist. “Look for them at this time near dense cover in early morning or late afternoon.”
June is a taxing time for lactating does, as they must not only meet their own nutritional needs but also those of one, two and occasionally, three fawns. Fortunately, early summer is a time of abundance.
“Most plants are actively growing and are palatable due to high protein levels and low lignin, chemical defenses and silicate levels,” he said. “At this time of year, white-tailed deer are relying heavily on forbs, which are broad-leaved herbaceous plants.”
Assuming the doe is able to find sufficient food resources, fawns will grow rapidly. With that in mind, landowners should carefully consider their herbicide and mowing plans as it could be removing not only critical cover, but also food for white-tailed deer and other wildlife, such as eastern cottontail and northern bobwhite.
“Occasionally, you may stumble upon a hidden solitary fawn. If so, resist the urge to rescue it, and leave it alone,” Elmore said. “The doe is nearby and is patiently waiting for you to move along so she can nurse.”
Once the fawn is about 10 weeks old, it will be weaned and will forage with the doe for the remainder of the summer and into the fall. The recent rains across the state have dramatically improved forage quantity and should help with fawn survival this season, ensuring a new crop of white-tailed deer on the hoof.
Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Higher Education Act), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, genetic information, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, or status as a veteran, in any of its policies, practices or procedures. This provision includes, but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. The Director of Equal Opportunity, 408 Whitehurst, OSU, Stillwater, OK 74078-1035; phone 405-744-5371; email: email@example.com has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Director of Equal Opportunity. Any person (student, faculty, or staff) who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based on gender may discuss his or her concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with OSU’s Title IX Coordinator 405-744-9154.
Agricultural Communications Services
145 Agriculture North
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078