Annually, Fawning Season Lasts from April through July
Now is the time of year when we may start seeing baby deer nesting in our neighborhoods, and you know mama is not too far away. During the fawning season, you may notice that does behave more defensively to protect their babies. To help you know what to do or not do, check out these “Worthington Deer Facts.”
Being informed and vigilant helps us to avoid negative encounters with wildlife.
DO NOT INTENTIONALLY FEED DEER
Fed deer can lose their natural fear of humans, leading to aggressive behaviors. Additionally, feeding may congregate deer near roadways, increasing the risk of collisions.
Feeding deer can also be dangerous for the animals. Altering their diet can upset their digestive system and possibly lead to death.
LEAVE FAWNS ALONE
You may find fawns that appear to be abandoned and worry that they need rescuing. Most of the time they should be left alone. Fawns, born from April through July, are purposely left alone by their mothers. Female deer stay away from the fawns to avoid leading predators such as dogs or coyotes to their location. The white-spotted coat camouflages a fawn as it lies motionless in vegetation.
If a wild animal has been injured or truly orphaned, do not take matters into your own hands. It is best to contact the Franklin County Wildlife Officer, to address your concerns at (614) 902-4212.
KEEP YOUR DISTANCE
Deer are wild animals and should always be treated as such, so always make sure to observe deer from a distance. Does often bed their fawns near buildings and houses for safety, and they have a strong instinct to ward off predators.
If you are too close and a doe acts in a protective manner, there is a good chance you are near their fawn even if you do not see it. If a doe does try to follow you, try changing direction, as you may unknowingly be walking toward a hidden fawn.
STAY SAFE ON THE ROADS
Driving cautiously during the fawning season is important because does and their fawns can often appear suddenly, particularly during dawn and dusk when seeing them is more difficult. Fawns move slowly when following their mother across the road and when startled, their instinct is to drop to the ground and lie still
Always remember to drive the speed limit or slower after dusk. Additionally, use your high beams whenever possible, deer eyes reflect bright white or yellow and high off the ground.
MAKE SURE TO CONTROL YOUR PETS
Mother deer have a strong instinct to protect their young fawns when they sense a threat. Pets, particularly dogs, may trigger these defensive reactions from does. Does will often bed their fawns near buildings and houses to provide safety to their offspring. A doe may defend her fawn by charging at a dog and trying to strike with their front hooves. Deer could display behaviors including staring, snorting and walking stiffly as a warning to a dog/person.
It is important to always walk you dog on a leash to help avoid negative interactions in our community. When taking dogs out in the yard, be prepared to call the dog back inside quickly if a deer approaches. If approached by a doe, back away slowly and leave the area. Keep dogs from barking at the deer and pick up small dogs. Try to avoid that area for the 10–14-day period most fawns are bedded. After that period, fawns follow their moms around and are very mobile and the does are less stressed by predator presence.
If you do notice a doe coming toward or focusing their gaze while snorting, you should back up calmly, and stay between the doe and the dog while waving and shouting at the deer.