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Michigan DNR: Leave fawns and other wildlife alone

Interacting with baby animals decreases chance of survival

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Fawns, even if found alone, should not be bothered or touched, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

During the first weeks of a white-tailed fawn’s life, the mother deer often hides it in secluded areas. The DNR said the mother will leave it alone in an attempt to not draw attention to the baby's location.

Read more: Michigan DNR offers advice on what to do about bird nests, babies

The mother will return to nurse the fawn when she feels it’s safe.

Fawns have spots and are virtually odorless when young, according to the DNR, and these adaptations help them stay hidden. Watch a video from the DNR about finding fawns in the wild below.

“If you find a fawn alone, do not touch it,” said Hannah Schauer, DNR wildlife communications and education coordinator. “There is a good chance it is supposed to be there.”

Habituated deer, especially bucks, can become aggressive as they mature, the DNR said. While a deer may seem approachable, it may act unpredictably and injure humans.

Additionally, when baby animals spend time with humans, their chance of survival decreases. According to the DNR, each day an animal spends with humans makes it less likely to survive in the wild.

“The best thing to do is to leave the fawn alone and enjoy the experience from a distance,” Schauer said.

Only licensed wildlife rehabilitators are allowed to remove damaged or injured animals from the wild.

The only time an animal can be removed from the wild is when the animal is injured or it is obvious the parent is dead, the DNR said. In that case, a licensed rehabilitator must be contacted before you move the animal.

A list of licensed rehabilitators can be found here.

Below is a video from the DNR about fawns.


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