EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Easthampton officers saved a baby deer’s life by investigating a reported call of a fox dragging a fawn Sunday night.
According to the Easthampton Police Department, officers arrived at West Street and the fox was scared off. An uninjured newborn fawn was found and unable to stand on its own. Officers stayed with the fawn until it began walking again.
After some time, the fawn went off into the woods and reunited with its mother who was waiting all along for its arrival.
Marion Larson, the media relations contact with the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) sent 22News more information on the incident. She provided a summary below after checking with the MassWildlife deer biologist David Stainbrook and furbearer biologist Dave Wattles with their response on the situation.
“First, kudos to the Easthampton police officers. They did the right thing by getting the fawn back to where the doe (mother deer) can get to it. Even it if it did have minor injuries, that was the best course of action that gives the fawn its best chance for survival.
It is rare that a fox is successful in taking a healthy fawn, but it does happen occasionally with newborn or injured fawns. Fawns are essentially helpless immediately after birth. The fox was just taking advantage of a free meal. In a very short period of time, just a few days, the fawn will be strong enough to outrun a fox. Coyotes, bears, and bobcats can and will still prey on fawns for the first month or so of life. The vulnerability of fawns to predators decreases each day and week following birth.
That being said, it is also rare that the mother was “waiting” for the fawn and visible to the officers. White-tail deer don’t actively defend their fawns. (A cow moose will aggressively defend her young against predators and even people if she feels they are a threat.) The doe limits the amount of time spent near the fawns for nursing so as not to draw the attention of predators. Once, the fawns are old enough to outrun predators, they will no longer be left alone and will stay close with their mother for the rest of the summer and into winter.
We are entering the birthing or fawning season in May through June and often get calls from people who discover a fawn who want to do the right thing. The best thing to do when finding a fawn or fawns is to leave the area immediately. As mentioned before, fawns are left alone for long periods of time to keep predators from discovering them. Even if they are bleating or walking around, it’s important to leave them alone. If in a road or very near to one, it’s reasonable to bring the animal into a nearby shrubby or forested area, and then immediately leave.
Sometimes people take a fawn home, thinking it is abandoned, but this is much more harmful for the fawn as it is very difficult to care for them. For the animals safety and health of it is also illegal to care for wildlife without certification. Fortunately, there are plenty of successful instances where fawns taken home by well-meaning people were reunited with their mothers even after a period of several days. This is done by placing the fawn within the vicinity of where it was found and then quickly leaving the area. This allows the doe to feel comfortable coming to her fawn as they will not move to the fawn if people are around. In most cases the doe will reunite with the fawn within several hours. She will not be put off by the smell of humans! Resist the urge to “check” on the fawn for at least a day.”
During the summer months, many fawns are born in Massachusetts. If you find a fawn, leave it alone.