Keep your eye out for some new additions to your neighborhood over the next few weeks. May and June are the typical months when white tailed deer will birth their young. These fawns have been carried all winter, and as temperatures begin to warm up, mothers will begin looking for a safe place to have their young. If you are seeing fawns in the area of your property, it could be a challenging summer of deer browsing.
Fawns are typically born late spring every year, and in some cases when conditions are ideal, mothers will have twins or triplets. After they are born, mothers will leave their young in a safe place during the day while they go search for food and water. The fawns are born completely scentless, so their mothers will intentionally stay away from them, as their own scent can attract predators. The fawn’s spots are designed to help camouflage them among leaves and undergrowth as they hide. They will lie perfectly still if a predator or human is nearby to try remain hidden as best as possible. If you do happen to find a fawn, don’t be tempted to try to feed or move the deer. While they are cute and look helpless, this is perfectly normal and their mother will be back for them. Fawns will live like this for the first month or so of their lives.
Fawns can present serious challenges regarding landscape protection. As fawns are fairly immobile, their mothers will often stay in the local area looking for food sources during the day. The average intake for a nursing doe is almost double what a typical deer will eat. This can often come at the expense of our beautiful landscapes, as mothers search for calories to feed their fawns. As fawns approach 2-3 weeks of age they will begin eating solid foods and grass. As they attempt to learn what foods they do and don’t like, they will eat just about anything. This is when we will occasionally see browse to winter plants and other deer resistant plants that they typically will not eat. By late summer they will have a good idea of the plants they like, and by the fall will weigh 70-80 pounds.