The first whitetail fawns are just beginning to appear now. Brandon Friermood took the photo above of a doe and her fawn Sunday evening near Barnes.
Wildlife officials in both Minnesota and Wisconsin urge people to leave newborn fawns alone, even if a doe isn’t present. Here’s information from a news release from the Minnesota DNR today:
“While a new fawn may appear helpless, it’s important to keep your distance and not interfere with the doe’s natural instinct for raising its young,” said Jeff Lightfoot, DNR northeast regional wildlife manager. “Leave fawns alone and let wildlife remain wild.”
Deer rear their offspring differently than humans. Most fawns are born in May, and within hours of birth the fawn is led to a secluded spot so it can nurse. With a full stomach, the fawn is content to lie down and rest. If the doe has twins, it will hide the second fawn up to 200 feet away. Then the doe leaves to feed and rest herself, out of sight but within earshot.
In four or five hours, the doe will return to feed the fawns and take them to a new hiding place. Deer follow this pattern for two to three weeks, and only then – when fawns are strong enough to outrun predators – do the young travel much with their mother.