How to Help a Fawn Survive

Three groups want to help a fawn survive; animal lovers, deer hunters, and coyote hunters. Each of these groups has rules and codes they live by, i.e.:

  • Don’t move an ”abandoned” fawn.
  • Don’t harvest fawns and ”kill a coyote.
  • Save a fawn.”

Members of each group have the same goal—a healthy and growing deer population.

During their best year, a nature lover will never save a fawn, a deer hunter who shoots a single coyote during deer season will save two dozen fawns, and a coyote hunter will save over one hundred fawns—perhaps hundreds.

How to help a fawn survive: Nature lovers.

There are two things a nature lover can do to help a fawn survive; leave it alone and support regulated hunting activities.

If you find a fawn.

Immediately back off and leave the area. The doe knows where her fawn is and hasn’t lost it. If it comes to you, secure your dogs and withdraw from the fawn. Use a bit of theater (hand waving and shouting) to instill fear in humans. The fawn should retreat and can communicate its new location to its mother.

If you find an abandoned fawn.

Nature lovers are kind-hearted people. If only the world was ruled by people like you. Having said that, the fawn hasn’t been abandoned. A doe spends very little time near her fawns. While a doe may be an attractive target to a coyote, a motionless, nearly odorless fawn is invisible to a predator.

Sure, a fawn looks so helpless and alone lying tucked up in some tall grass, but this is a survival technique that ensures survival. Left alone, the fawn will soon be mobile and agile enough to accompany its mom everywhere she goes.

Don’t feed or move fawns.

Never offer any food to a fawn. If you do feed a fawn, you will likely kill it. If you notice a fawn has not left an area for a day, do not move it. Does will sometimes abandon a fawn they detect has no chance of survival. However, there is no way for you to know, and you may delay her return by disturbing the fawn or the area she has left it in.

If your children or dogs have touched the fawn, the doe will not abandon the fawn. Simply avoid further contact and allow the doe a safe way to approach her fawn.

If more than a day passes, or the fawn appears injured, call your local game warden and report it.

Fawns are not pets.

In most states, keeping a fawn is illegal. In all cases, however, it is unethical. Deer are wild animals, not pets or livestock. Deer are very social and need a herd to survive. Living with you, a fawn will only be miserable, unable to return to nature and live a much shorter life.

Fawn coyote victim
Many fawns are killed by coyotes.

Why nature lovers should support coyote hunters.

Coyotes are fawn killers. They have a natural talent for determining when a doe will drop a fawn. They will follow them and scout every inch of the terrain, knowing a fawn is in the area. By supporting coyote hunters, nature lovers can help remove these destructive pests.

That is the only ask, your support.

How to help a fawn survive: Deer hunters.

As a deer hunter, you know the destruction they wreak on fawns and overall deer population numbers. Every fawn saved could become a potential trophy buck or give birth to one.

To help a fawn survive, you have to be willing to possibly give up your day’s hunt by shooting a passing coyote. It’s a hard ask, but one dead coyote during deer season could save two dozen fawns, maybe even more next year.

How to help a fawn survive: Coyote hunters.

The best way you can help save fawns is by knocking on more doors. Getting more permissions to hunt private lands, especially with landowners who deer hunt and want coyotes removed, is the best of both worlds for hunters and private property owners.

Your motto, “Kill a coyote, save a fawn,” is scientifically true.

Fawns are born at the perfect time and place to survive.

A fawn’s survival is almost guaranteed by being born when food is abundant for its mother and itself. It also benefits from the dense foliage that provides cover from predators like coyotes.

Fawns are also born in great numbers at the same time—like a school of fish. Coyotes may find one, but if they don’t have pups to support, there can be too many for the local population to obliterate.

If left alone, and deer hunters and coyote hunters lend a hand, a fawn should survive and live long enough to reproduce.

Dennis V. Gilmore Jr.

Dennis V. Gilmore Jr. is a former Marine Sergeant and the author of several books, including two on night hunting coyotes and red and gray fox. He has written several hundred articles on predator hunting for

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