Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close. Psalm 27:10 NLT
A few days ago my next door neighbor called me over to his yard. At the edge of his garden lay the above pictured fawn, curled up in a ball and trying to look invisible. I took a few pictures from a distance, then both my neighbor and I left the area.
One time, I came upon a spotted elk calf lying in a field. I was walking with a couple other employees of the Fish and Game Department. Had we seen the calf a second sooner, we could have backed off and let it remain where it lay. But it was so well camouflaged that we didn’t see it until we were almost on top of it. No doubt the cow elk was in the nearby brush watching the entire event.
It may seem strange to us that an older deer would leave its young alone without the protection of the mother. But the adult deer carry a scent which can lead a predator to its young. The fawn does not yet have this scent, plus it has the advantage of its spots which help camouflage it in the grass and brush.
The tendency for most people who see a fawn or small wild animal by itself is to think it’s been abandoned by its mother. That is almost never the situation. In the case of the fawn in my neighbor’s yard, or the elk calf that my friends and I happened upon, the mother was in all likelihood very close by. We didn’t see her because she too may have been bedded down in the area.
Small deer need to nurse every few hours to thrive. And if you’ve ever seen one nurse, they are none too gentle on their mamas. The doe belonging to the fawn pictured above was probably just taking a well needed break from Jr. and enjoying a little quiet time away from the mayhem.
If you spend much time in the woods, chances are that sooner or later you’ll come upon a young animal that seems abandoned. Some areas don’t allow handling of wildlife regardless of the situation. And unless you know for an absolute certainty that the mother is dead, please leave it be. The chances of survival for the little one appearing alone are far greater than if a human gets involved.
Perhaps if you’re lucky, you’ll get to see some young animals this summer. At this time of year, I am fortunate enough to see spotted fawns running about my yard almost every day. Although it happens frequently, I don’t take it for granted. I consider the sight to be a true blessing from the Lord.
Have a great day.