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.