COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) is reminding residents not to bother fawns that are left alone in the woods.

Although concerned onlookers may think the deer has been abandoned, SCDNR says that the mother is probably nearby, keeping a safe distance between herself and the fawn.

According to SCDNR, young fawns are “better protected away from the doe,” since “the presence of the doe nearby would attract predators because the doe lacks the protective coloration of the fawn, and the older and larger doe has a much stronger odor.”

The does only return for brief periods of grooming and feeding in order to minimize the chances of attracting a predator.

Human interference can cause significant problems for the fawn. Does may be spooked and run away, deserting the fawn, and a startled bleating fawn can reveal the animal’s location to nearby predators.