It's no secret that Winnebago County, Illinois is home to a large population of white-tail deer. They are often seen in open crop fields, shady wooded areas, and sometimes even in your backyard.
White-tail deer are a fixture in our community and we often say, "Watch out for deer!" as a common farewell.
During the months of May through June, you will start seeing adult female deer (Does) and their newborn babies (Fawn). Many times, fawn are found alone, nestled in tall grass or hidden on the forest floor.
Don't worry, fawn aren't abandoned to fend for themselves. Doe return several times a day to feed their offspring and to move them to a new hiding spot if necessary.
So, Why Do Does Hide Their Babies?
A mother doe will actually leave her fawn to help protect and prevent them from discovered predators. By staying away from their young, this deters predators from finding the location of their vulnerable babies.
Fawn are naturally camouflaged. Their white spots mimic the sun shining through the trees onto the forest floors. Their instincts are to lie motionless in the tall herbage, that way they are undetectable.
Their ability to stay low and out of site keeps them safe. A still, quiet fawn is a safe, healthy fawn!
When You Find a Fawn...
As tempting as it is to rescue a cute fawn, when you find one alone - leave it where it is. Chances are the mother is still in the area and will return to check in and feed their fawn.
If you believe the fawn is truly injured (it may be crying, approaching humans, or covered in blood or insects) contact your local wildlife rehabilitation center. Here is a great resource to find a rehabilitator in your area: https://www.wildlifeillinois.org/list-of-licensed-wildlife-rehabilitators/