White-tailed deer across the Northland have started to have their fawns, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is urging people to leave the little dears alone.
Even if you don’t see the mother around, a fawn almost certainly has not been abandoned. Unlike human mothers that cling to their newborns, deer mothers often move away from fawns while feeding to avoid drawing any attention to newborns. Fawns’ camouflage spots, and an odd quirk of nature that makes fawns almost odorless (also unlike humans), is usually enough to get them through the first few days when their legs are wobbly.
The DNR notes that mama doe will come around every four or five hours to check on the fawn, and she is usually within earshot. Only when the fawns are strong enough to outrun predators do the young travel much with their mother.
A fawn’s curiosity may entice it to approach a person who comes upon it. The DNR urges people not to try to catch a fawn if they encounter one. Walk away. Never feed or collar a fawn. Contact a local DNR Wildlife office if you have questions.