What to Do If You Find an Abandoned Baby Deer This Spring
The short answer is: it's not abandoned, so don't do anything.
You’ve probably seen a lot of posts on Facebook about what to do if you find a baby animal. The answers vary, depending on the animal and the circumstances. Bunnies should be relocated back to their nest if you know where it is. Racoon babies with no mom can be handled by animal control officers. Baby ducks somehow always end up in a storm drain, are rescued, get reunited with mom and go about their day.
But baby deer should be left alone 100 percent of the time. As cute as they are and as much as you want to “rescue” it from its little patch of grass, human contact could leave the fawn to euthanization.
Freetown’s Animal Control Officer Lisa Podielsky explained that mother deer leave their young each morning and return for them at dusk. If you see a fawn, seemingly alone and “abandoned,” curled up in a little ball, leave it alone.
"Most of the time, fawn can’t keep up with mom and rather than attract the attention of coyotes, she’ll leave them hidden in a safe spot for the day and come back to feed them at dusk," says Podielsky.
Fawns are fed early in the morning and again at night so there is no reason for anyone to be worried that the baby is hungry and alone. It's actually in the safest place possible and mom knows exactly where to find them at the end of the day because she put them there. The next day, she'll find a whole new hiding spot and everyone will stay safe another day.
"When fawns are separated from their mothers or their mothers are killed, the fawn has to be put down. Massachusetts does not have a deer rehabilitation program for baby deer to be sent to," Podielsky said. "If you see a baby deer on the side of a road or in a dangerous situation where it could be harassed by people, contact an animal control officer to handle it. Just touching a baby animal could unknowingly transfer bacteria from your hands that can make them very sick and lead to euthanization."
As much as you want to squeeze the heck out of that little long-legged cutie, control your inner Snow White and let the baby animals be. If they feel safe, mom and baby will continue to visit your yard, where you can watch them from afar.