Help, I found a fawn ...

This blog post is from a nearby Virginia resident who found a fawn near her house and called the Wildlife Center of Virginia. This is an excellent example of what fawns do ... and what those who find them should do!

We live on several acres in Western Albemarle in an old-growth forest of massive oak trees, poplars and mountain laurel. We have always had large dogs and many years ago fenced in our property so that the dogs had plenty of freedom to run and explore in the woods without wandering away or chasing deer. We have a nice variety of wildlife and often see deer grazing through the area -- mostly outside of the fenced area. Our dogs - one a Great Pyrenees mix, the other a German Shepherd mix - are both now very elderly and couldn't chase a deer more than a few yards.

My husband Larry says the deer see and watch us more than we see them, so I can only guess that the Mama doe knew that our dogs were no longer a threat.

Still it was a surprise when we first saw the fawn sleeping in our back yard on Sunday, May 19th right after lunch. It was an overcast and rainy day, and it was just a small brown speck in the grass. A couple of hours later it started raising its head and looking around and eventually stood up and walked around a bit, moving closer to the house and next to the iris bed.

An hour or so later, it had walked up the flower bed and moved right up against the back of the house. Unfortunately it had somehow managed to get behind a  fence that we installed to keep our once-active dogs off of the roof of a storage room, which is at the back of our basement. We didn't see the doe at all on Sunday.

When we got ready to go to bed, Larry went into the back yard and cut the fence so the fawn could easily get out. Then he opened up the back gate so that the Mama could lead the baby out since we knew it wasn't big enough to jump the fence.

The next morning we awoke to find the fawn just inside of the back gate. We both thought it looked like it had grown overnight. I still wasn't sure if Mama had shown up so I called the Wildlife Center for advice. I'm pretty sure it was Leighann who answered the phone and listened to my concerns. She suggested that Mama was probably still around and had decided that our yard was a safe place for her baby. By then the fawn had walked closer to our basement door and had settled on a piece of outdoor carpet we had put down to help our dogs walk across the gravel. Leighann suggested I pinch the skin to see if it was dehydrated to help determine if had been fed recently.

I wasn't sure how the fawn would respond to human interaction and was surprised to find it didn't even raise its head when I approached. After a pinch of the skin and a few pets on the back I was relieved to find it in good shape. I was now more confident that Mama was just letting us baby-sit while she was out eating and regaining her strength.  

About an hour later we looked out the basement door and the fawn was gone. As we walked out the door we saw Mama and baby nursing at the edge of the yard and woods. Mama saw us and moved away, and baby followed. We haven't seen the fawn since but we've seen a doe that could be Mama, both inside and outside of the yard, where she apparently enjoys eating our hostas.

This whole experience was a good reminder of God's love for all His creation and how He has given the deer natural instincts that serve them well. I was very grateful to have someone to call to give me some guidance and help alleviate my concerns. I guess our first reaction was to want to intervene and rescue this precious baby, when, given time, it would be reunited with Mama and she would care for it and provide all that it needs to grow. And had she not returned or the fawn been in distress, we knew we had a place to turn to for help.

We brought our grandchildren to an open house at the center a couple of years ago and we enjoy watching the Critter Cams from time to time. I had recently inquired about buying some paper products on one of our runs to Sam's and then just decided to write a check and let you guys get what you needed. Maybe someday I can have more hands-on involvement but for now I am happy to help get the word out about your good work.

--Rebecca Batton
 

Read the Center's "Don't be a Fawn-napper" post for more information on what to do if you find a young fawn.

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