From the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
-- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is reminding people to please leave what may appear to be abandoned young deer alone in the outdoors.
Every year the department receives dozens of calls from concerned citizens who have found what they consider to be abandoned baby deer or fawns. With the best of intentions, some concerned citizens bring fawns home and then call the department to retrieve and raise them.
LDWF wants the public to know that it is against the law to pick up baby deer or any other wild animal. If caught transporting deer without a permit, these well meaning individuals will be subject to citations and fines.
Picking up fawns seriously diminishes their chance to live a normal and healthy life. When a baby deer is born it is weak, awkward and unable to move well enough to feed and escape predators. However, the newborn fawn has a coat of light brown hair liberally covered with white spots that provides excellent camouflage against predators. The mother doe will remain in the area to feed and nurture the fawn. When the young deer gets older and stronger it will be able to forage for food with its mother. Until then, its best defense is to lay motionless in a thicket or grassy field.
Fawns turned over to LDWF must be hand reared by a licensed wildlife rehabilitator at considerable cost of time and expense. Initial mortality is high since fawns raised on a bottle in a pen situation do not have the opportunity to learn important survival skills. The deer that do survive in pen-raised environments must be confined to a pen for the remainder of their lives.
When encountering baby deer in the wild, simply leave them untouched and quietly depart from the area. This action will provide the young deer its best chance to survive in the wild and prevent a possible citation for a well intended outdoorsman.