Found a Deer Fawn Alone?

People often assume that a fawn found all alone needs help, but in most cases this is perfectly normal.

Mother fawns will leave their young alone between feedings, hidden in grass or shrubs. The scent glands of a fawn have not yet developed, which helps keep them safe from predators. To keep from leaving her scent, a doe will only visit the fawn to feed it, and will avoid approaching the fawn and giving away its location if there are threats (people or predators) nearby. If you find a fawn alone, look for these signs to determine if it needs help:

Healthy Fawn

  • Laying quietly
  • No visible wounds or injuries
  • Eyes bright, ears stand erect

Fawn in Distress

  • Wandering and/or crying
  • Visible injury
  • Shivering or lethargic
  • Dead mother found nearby

Healthy fawns should be left where they are. The area should be avoided and pets kept away. A mother will not return to feed her fawn if she perceives a possible threat.

Often in suburban areas, a mother will leave her fawn in a backyard in the quiet morning hours, later returning to find a busy street full of people, pets, cars, and lawnmowers. She will not return to her fawn until the night when the area is quiet again. In this scenario, a fawn may be alone for 12 to 16 hours. In most circumstances this is ok - the mother will move the fawn to a better location overnight. If you are concerned about a fawn that has been in the same area for more than 12 hours, or has been left exposed to bad weather, please contact the Pennsylvania Game Commission at 724-238-9523 or the Town of McCandless Police at 412-473-3056.