At Windswept Ranch, this time of year, we get more calls about fawns from Bear Valley than from any other area in Tehachapi. I think that just shows how much Bear Valley's residents care about their deer, so this seems a great time to remind everyone how to act when encountering deer.
First, and foremost, please remember that these animals are wild! That cute spotted fawn, is a very important part of California's eco-system. They are animals native to our region and have been here longer than any of us.
And if you are anything like me, you treasure seeing these animals in the wild. And realistically, that is where they belong.
But with that said, unforeseen circumstances sometimes force us to intervene. Here are some of the things you should know:
First, do not assume that if you see a fawn alone that it is orphaned or abandoned. Mother deer often leave their young alone, sometimes for 12 – 24 hours. She leaves her baby where she will know where to find it. You see, fawns have no scent, so they are basically invisible to predators when they are young. Fawns are not steady enough on their feet to travel with the herd until they are about 2 weeks old, so mom parks it and remembers the exact location. And if you remove them, that poor mother will return for days, looking for her little one.
So if you see a fawn alone, please do not pick it up unless there is clearly a problem: If it is "meowing" constantly and no mama is coming, is next to a dead mom, or is obviously in distress with labored breathing, signs of an injury, signs of dehydration or hypothermia, or signs of diarrhea. Instead, check on it over the next 12 hours. If you find it has moved, that means the mother has come back and moved it. A fawn will not wander from where the mother has left it. If the fawn is still there after a period of time, your best bet is to call a rehabber: We have no one licensed to do fawn rehabilitation in our area, so Windswept serves as a transport to licensed rehab facilities in Fresno, Malibu and Santa Ynez while we work to get our license.
And please remember, that cute little spotted critter will grow to be a big deer, and if habituated, could be dangerous. Deer belong in the wild, and we hope you will help us keep them there.
If you have a deer emergency, you may call Diana at (661) 809-3965, or Sharon at (661) 821-1835.