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EDMUND B. ROGERS, Superintendent DORR G. YEAGER, Editor
Volume V JUNE 1932 Number VI

A Page of Comment

From time to time the pages of Nature Notes have contained references to "abandoned fawns." So often has the word appeared that our readers have undoubtedly found monotony in it. But the monotony that they have experienced is incomparable to the monotony that members of the Park service feel each spring when the reports of these fawns begin to pour in. Not only reports but the fawns themselves appear.

The season has arrived when the deer will begin to give birth to young. In order to explain the "phenomonon" of "abandoned fawns" let us look for a moment into the life of the doe at this time of year. When the baby, or babies as the case may be, is dropped, it is hidden in some secluded thicket away from the regular thorofares. At this time the fawn wears a spotted coat which blends the animal into its surroundings and makes it extremely difficult to find. Furthermore, the theory that the babies give off no odor for the first few weeks has been generally accepted by naturalists. This, of course, adds to the scheme of protection and safeguards the fawn all the more from any coyote or wolf which might be skulking in the vicinity.

With this protection which nature has afforded the baby it would be inadvisable for the mother to deliberately reveal the hiding place of her offspring by hovering over it. For this reason she wanders away, feeding in the meadows, and gives no clue that a tiny fawn is securely hidden in the underbrush.

It is at this time that the visitor, unfamiliar with the habits of deer, wanders into the thicket and discovers the "abandoned fawn." Straightaway he takes in the situation at face value, picks up the little animal and comes to us (as I said before) "with his heart full of compassion and his arms full of deer."

Many times the doe, believing that danger is lurking in the vicinity, will leave her baby alone for an entire day. I have known elk to stay away for nearly twenty four hours at a time, knowing that man was in the immediate region.

Animals know better how to raise their young than we do. The ages have taught them, as they have taught them many other things vital to their welfare.

The next time you find a fawn or hear of one being found see that it is left undisturbed, for the mother will return when she knows that it is safe to do so.

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