If you see a deer fawn this summer, DWR says leave it alone

May 22, 2023, 9:30 PM

If you find a fawn in the wild, give it plenty of space.  Its mother hid it where you found it.  Sh...

If you find a fawn in the wild, give it plenty of space. Its mother hid it where you found it. She knows where it is. Photo credit: Utah Division of Natural Resources.

SALT LAKE CITY — With the summer months just around the corner, many people will be venturing into the mountains to enjoy the great outdoors. If you do head into the mountains, it’s likely that you may see a deer fawn or an elk calf.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is reminding all hikers to stay clear of wildlife. The DWR says if you try to approach a baby animal it could have fatal consequences for the animal. Additionally, you could be injured in the process as well.

Hiding is good protection for deer fawn or elk calve

According to the DWR, fawns and calves are often born in June. If you see one in the wild, but not its mother, the DWR says that doesn’t mean the animal has been abandoned. The DWR says that is rarely the case.

“Newborn fawns are actually frequently alone and isolated during their first weeks of life — and that’s on purpose,” Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Big Game Coordinator Dax Mangus said in a news release. “The mother knows that leaving the fawn alone is the best way to protect it from predators.”

According to the DWR, newborn big game animals fall into one of two categories.

  • Followers: These include bighorn sheep lambs and bison calves.
  • Hiders: These include deer fawns and elk calves.

For the protection of the fawn, the mother will leave the fawn in hiding for the first two to three weeks of its life, it’s the best way for fawns to stay safe immediately after they are born, according to the DWR. The mother will reunite with the fawn later in the day to take care of it and nurse it. 

What to do if you run into one

The DWR offers four tips if you encounter either a deer fawn or elk calf that appear to be alone.

  • Do not go near it.
  • Do not touch or pet it.
  • Give it all the space it needs.
  • Do not attempt to remove the animal from wild.

For more tips on how to live safely with wildlife, click here.

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If you see a deer fawn this summer, DWR says leave it alone