MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources is asking people who may find a fawn alone in the woods… to leave them alone.
Many people who come upon a solitary spotted fawn in the woods or along a roadway mistakenly assume the animal has been deserted by its mother and want to take it home to care for it.
Officials with DNR say in fact, the young fawns have not been abandoned and are still in the care of a doe.
The best thing to do with an animal like this is to simply leave it alone.
According to DNR, removing a fawn from the forest is also illegal because the animal is being taken outside the legal season for taking deer, which is the hunting season.
They say the apparently “helpless” deer fawns born during April, May and June in South Carolina will begin daily movements with their mothers in about three or four weeks.
Human handling and disturbance of fawns can cause a doe to shy away or even desert her offspring and a whining response by the fawn can summon nearby predators.
SC DNR says they receive many calls each spring and summer from people who have discovered the so-called lost deer.
“Young fawns are without a doubt cute and cuddly, but if taken into captivity they grow into semi-tame adult deer that can become quite dangerous,” said DNR. “Adult buck deer, no matter how they were raised, are especially dangerous during the breeding season. Even does raised by humans are unpredictable.”
DNR says even “tame” deer seriously injure people and, in cases where the deer are a threat to humans, the deer sometimes have to be killed.
If you notice a dead doe near the fawn, please call a wildlife rehabilitator. There’s a list of rehabbers by location here: https://www.dnr.sc.gov/wildlife/rehab/deer.html