Within and along the foothills of the western Cascades, black-tail deer have dropped their fawns. Once in a while, I’m lucky enough to see one.
Cute right? I often see deer, but I rarely see fawns. There’s a good reason for that.
Deer fawns are very small and vulnerable. Unable to outrun predators, they utilize a simple and effective defense—lie down and remain still until the coast is clear. In this manner, the newborn deer can be so cryptic and their scent so faint they often avoid detection.
No defense in nature is foolproof, however. Fawns can be an important food source for bears, coyotes, and bobcats. In this evolutionary arms race, camouflage and stealth is counteracted by a keen sense of smell, skill, and sometimes luck.
If you are lucky enough to stumble upon a deer fawn, please leave it be. The fawn may have laid down because you approached, but mothers sometimes hide their fawns in brush, returning periodically to nurse. Most likely, the fawn you just found is not abandoned or orphaned. Mother is nearby and when you leave, the doe will return.
2 thoughts on “Deer Fawn”
That is one cute little fawn. Glad you had the opportunity and thanks for sharing it with us.
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Thank you for this post, Ranger Mike!
One day last year, at the end of May (I think), I was doing a solo hike on a section of the Appalachian Trail in northern Connecticut. As I descended a hill and rounded a curve, I came across a tiny fawn hidden behind a rock.
I stopped abruptly — but still felt too close.
As I stood still and waited, s/he looked at me, stood very slowly, then toddled off to the woods about 15 feet away. My hope is that the fawn’s mother found her there soon after.
I feel very privileged to have come so close to such a beautiful animal. How lucky we are to have access to trails and parks that bring us closer to these animals.