What to do when you find a fawn (or any baby wildlife) that appears to be orphaned?
Young animals are rarely orphaned, and usually a parent is just nearby foraging for food to bring back to the young. Oftentimes, mother deer will leave a fawn in your yard as a “safe place.” Leave them be for a while to let a parent return so you don’t accidentally babynap! Picking up and taking a baby fawn home to attempt care is illegal and will likely cause habituation and/or lethal gut issues due to improper nutrition.
If there is no parent to be found or they are confirmed deceased, please contact the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife at (541) 388-6363. There is a short window where orphaned fawns can be fostered by other deer with fawn at the same age.
Please remember that spaces at wildlife rehabilitation centers are very limited and are limited to certain species based on state and federal permitting, funding and capacity. It is not legal to rehabilitate adult deer in Oregon, and as of this summer, there is currently no full-time fawn rehabilitator in Central Oregon.
Think Wild is actively working to locate property, trained staffing, and funding to solve this gap in care, hopefully by next summer. Fawn are extremely easily habituated and require specialized rehabilitation training and protocols. We cannot currently rehabilitate deer at our current property due to staffing capacity and noise from Neff road.
Most importantly, please remember that all people that work in wildlife rehabilitation and conservation do so because we care about wildlife. We want to help every animal, but not all factors are within our control (avian flu, COVID, permitting, short staffing, etc.). Think Wild will always be transparent and follow legal regulations and care protocols that are in the best interest of the animal with no exceptions.
If you are interested in this issue, have comments, or want to donate property or funds specifically for fawn, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!