On fawns and cubs

  • May. 16, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Submitted by James Hilgemann, Conservation Officer Service–There is a good chance in the next few weeks you will come across a lone fawn lying in the grass near the road or along a trail in the forest. On your return trip the fawn is still lying where you first found it, and still alone. Should you pack it in the car and take it home? Drop it off with the local Conservation officer? Good intentions, but the correct answer is definitely not. The fawn is probably not the orphan you think it is. In all likelihood, the doe is probably off in search of food and water, and she will be in close proximity to the fawn, though you may not see her. To produce enough milk for her fawn the doe requires a large volume of food, comprising leaves and grasses. It would not be unusual for the mother to leave and return five or six times daily to nurse and lick her fawn. Of course the doe may experience trouble herself and be delayed in her travels and return visits to her fawn.For the first two to four weeks, fawns are not strong enough to run well from predators. A natural defence mechanism is for the fawn to simply lay still. Its spotted coat also makes the fawn well camouflaged with its natural surroundings. In addition to this, the fawn is essentially odourless, having little or no body scent. By leaving the fawn alone, the doe is actually protecting it, because if the doe always stayed with her fawn, her scent could lead predators such as bear to it.Another reason to leave the fawn where you find it is that a doe can become very aggressive if she feels her fawn is being harmed and there have been documented cases of deer striking humans with their hooves which can inflict serious bodily harm.In addition, it is an offence under the BC Wildlife Act to be in possession of live or dead wildlife without a permit or approval.The best advice should you come across a fawn is to enjoy the moment and move on. If the fawn is seen alone for more than 24 hours, then contact the local Conservation Officer (toll free 1-877-952-7277), and provide a brief description and location of the animal. The same advice should be exercised for any bear cubs that you may come across. Keep in mind that the sow may very well be close by and will certainly act with aggression if she finds you near her cubs. This is the most dangerous encounter one may find in nature and avoidance is recommended.Also as a side note. With the birth of the fawns over the next month and their proximity to island highways and roads, road kills on fawns is a way of life. Of even greater concern is the foraging that takes place by scavengers such as eagles on the carrion roadside. Unfortunately, eagles will binge eat, and oftentimes be unable to fly away from approaching traffic, and as a consequence become casualties as well. So should you see eagles along the highway, slow down and exercise caution, giving the eagles a wide berth to enable them to fly away unharmed.

Just Posted

Marathon day on Haida Gwaii

Totem to Totem race looks to set another participation record

World’s largest animal spotted off coast of Haida Gwaii

Fisheries and Oceans Canada spotted the animal during their Science At-Sea mission

Two monumental poles return home to Haida Gwaii

The artifacts ended up in Vancouver by being taken, appropriated, stolen, or sold through the years

Northern B.C.’s Ridley coal terminal sold, Canada divests, First Nations to own portion

Ten per cent of shares transferred to the Lax Kw’alaams Band and the Metlakatla First Nation

Haida artist Derek Edenshaw helps Rupert spruce up city

A giant kraken, painted by local artists under Edenshaw’s tutelage, is now on display

Fashion Fridays: 5 casual summer dress styles

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

Home sales softened last year after the federal government introduced new stress test rules for uninsured mortgages

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

B.C. man pleads guilty in snake venom death of toddler

Plea comes more than five years after the incident in North Vancouver

Trudeau says Ottawa open to proposals for B.C. refinery as gas prices soar

Prime minister says he knows B.C. residents are struggling and the federal government is open to ideas

Clock’s ticking to share how you feel about Daylight Saving Time in B.C.

Provincial public survey ends at 4 p.m. on Friday

B.C. First Nation’s group using ads in Texas targeting company for fuel spill

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

After B.C. dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

Most Read