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Don’t ‘fawn-nap’: Okanagan conservation urges public to leave baby deer alone

Deer mothers leave their babies alone for hours at a time

While they may be small and look lonely, deer fawns should not be touched or moved if found alone in the spring.

Conservation Officer Ken Owens told Capital News that deer mothers, called does, regularly leave their babies for hours or even a day at a time.

Fawns are un-scented and have spots, which helps them to camouflage from predators since they are not yet strong enough to keep up with their moms.

Owens said that already in spring 2023, the Conservation Service has received numerous calls for abandoned fawns.

He explained that each year, well-intentioned people try to ‘rescue’ baby deer thinking that they are orphaned.

Unfortunately, when people disturb the fawns, they can end up being truly orphaned by their mothers.

Often, the mother deer is close by and a human’s presence could discourage her from returning.

Each year conservation officers in the Okanagan hand out fines to people who are in possession of baby deer.

“The fawns were not orphaned or injured but fawn-napped.”

Additionally, Owens urges people to keep their dogs on a leash, especially during fawning season. Unfortunately even nice dogs can kill, injure or disturb baby deer, and prevent their mothers from returning.

Owens said that if you come across a fawn that may be injured or not being cared for by its mother, do not touch it and return the next day to check on it. If it is in the exact same spot and bleating, it may be orphaned. If it is clear that the mother is dead, or that the fawn is abandoned, contact the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.

READ MORE: Kelowna woman fined for possession and sale of endangered turtle


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Jacqueline Gelineau

About the Author: Jacqueline Gelineau

I'm a reporter in the beginning stages of my career. I joined the team at Capital News in November 2021...
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