5 Common Myths About Whitetail Fawns

June 3, 2016 By: NDA Staff

Every spring, social media fills with photos and videos of recently born fawns from across the country. While we love seeing these reports of successful whitetail breeding efforts, the ensuing discussion often leads to misinformation regarding whitetail fawns. We want to address five of the most prevalent fawn myths.

If there is no doe in sight, the fawn is “abandoned.” This is simply the whitetail’s predator avoidance strategy. Fawns spend their first three to four weeks hiding alone before they routinely follow their mothers. Don’t move or “rescue” a fawn just because you don’t see a doe nearby.

Fawns are odorless. This is false, as their unique scent is how their mothers identify them. In fact, they urinate on their tarsal glands daily, even when just a few days old.

A set of twin fawns are always from the same father. This also is false. Research has documented that about 25% of all sets of twin fawns have different fathers. There has even been a case of triple paternity documented where a set of triplets was sired by three different bucks.

There are more female fawns born than males. Again false. In fact, male fawns tend to slightly outnumber female fawns.

Once you pick up a fawn, its mother won’t take it back. Research has clearly shown that handling a fawn, even for several minutes, has no impact on whether its mother will accept it. Just return it to where you found it and leave.

So, next time you are discussing fawns with your family and friends, please share these facts. We also hope you spend more time thinking about the fawns on your hunting property and, importantly, their survival during their first few weeks when they are especially vulnerable. Not long ago, the topic of the day was how best to protect yearling bucks. Today, and into the foreseeable future, it will be how to increase fawn survival in areas where predators have become the norm. It’s definitely a new day in the world of the whitetail.