With the fawning season underway, wildlife officials in Fairfax County, Virginia, want to discourage deer rehabilitation. In part because trying to help the deer may put you and the fawn at risk.
Starting May 1, attempts to rehabilitate deer fawns or bring baby deer from the Virginia county to other jurisdictions won’t be allowed, Fairfax County’s Animal Protection Police and the Wildlife Management Specialist said in a joint statement with county police.
“These restrictions on fawn rehabilitation, which are administered and enforced by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, are implemented to reduce potential transmission and spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) within deer populations in the Commonwealth,” the statement read.
The progressive, fatal disease was detected in some county deer earlier this year. More reason to leave the fawn alone, according to the news release.
“Given that fawns can no longer be rehabilitated in Fairfax County, it is especially important to make every effort possible to leave healthy fawns where they are found to have the best chance of survival,” the agencies said.
Fawns born in spring and early summer can be around homes without their mothers, but are rarely left without protection and safety. Female deer (does) can leave their fawns while foraging but are rarely far away from their fawn.
“Does will return several times each day to move and/or feed their young,” the statement said. “These visits are usually undetected by people because the mother deer only stays to feed the fawn for just a few minutes before leaving it alone again. The mother deer will be wary of you and human presence could prevent her from returning.”
Officials said that survival means leaving the fawn in its mother’s care. That means keeping your kids, pets and body away from spaces that fawn may be sitting in.
“Now, more than ever, we ask residents to leave fawns alone unless their health is truly compromised, as euthanasia would be the only option if a fawn is removed from the wild and cannot be reunited with its mother,” the statement concluded.
If you see a baby deer in distress, near an apparent dead doe, crying or showing signs of trauma, officials say you should call the Animal Protection Police at 703-691-2131.