A doe spends very little time with her fawn the first weeks after its birth to minimize the chance that predators will find it by tracking her scent. It’s illegal to be in possession of white-tailed deer fawns because its best chance of survival is in the wild, undisturbed by humans. This publication debunks several myths about “abandoned” fawns and offers suggestions about what to do if you find a fawn without its mother.

​ACES Publication ANR-1396 Lost, Abandoned, or Orphaned Deer Fawns

Mark D. Smith, Stephen S. Ditchkoff, Jim Armstrong


Dr. Mark D. Smith, Extension Specialist

10/14/2015 3:26 PM
Hi Todd,
You should still leave it where it is as it’s mother is likely to be around somewhere. And if it is not, as gut wrenching as it may seem, it will be best to let Mother Nature take its course. Here’s a link to our publication on what to do about deer fawns  http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-1396/index2.tmpl.
Please keep in mind that:
1. It is ILLEGAL to possess live white-tailed deer without a permit.  And the state wildlife agency won’t issue you a permit to keep the fawn. They will likely confiscate it, write you a ticket, and then euthanize the animal.

2. Little deer grow into big deer, and in the case of males (bucks) can be very unpredictable and quite dangerous during the breeding period (winter).  And having one that is partially habituated to humans poses a health and safety risk.  It may seem like fun and cute now, but getting hoofed by one and needing stitches is not so fun.

3. In most cases, the survival rate of “rehabilitated” deer that are released back into the wild is extremely low.
Please let me know if you find this information useful.