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Orphan Alert: Be very careful not to unintentionally create orphan fawns. Healthy baby fawns are frequently left alone while their mothers forage for food. Unfortunately, many times a lone fawn is picked up by people who mistakenly think the fawn has been abandoned. The fawn is then brought to Native Animal Rescue by the well meaning “rescuers” for rehabilitation. Sadly those fawns have been taken from the mother unnecessarily. The fawn should be immediately returned to the exact location where it was found and then left alone. The mother will return and always take her baby back. If you’re nearby, the doe will not return to her baby. After you leave and she senses the potential danger is gone, she will then rejoin her young. To determine if a fawn needs to be rescued…


Remember, if you encounter a fawn lying quietly in the woods, do not disturb. Mom is nearby and will return to her baby after you leave.

If you find a fawn wandering aimlessly and crying, that may be an indication the mother may have been hurt and will not return. Call Native Animal Rescue for advice at 831-462-0726.

The only time a fawn should be picked up and brought to NAR is if it is obviously ill, injured, orphaned, or being threatened by a dog. If possible, before you rescue the fawn, call Native Animal Rescue for instructions at 831-462-0726.

Adult Deer

Though it’s hard to accept, adult deer can almost never be caught and successfully treated. If an adult deer is cornered or captured, it will struggle to break free causing itself great harm in the process.

If you see an adult deer with a broken leg or other injury, leave the animal alone. Even though the injury may take a long time to heal, this is far preferable to the trauma of chase and capture. Wild animals have an amazing ability to heal and adapt to many types of injuries.

If the deer is unable to stand up, call Santa Cruz County Animal Services 831-454-7200 OR 831-471-1182 (after hours) or 911.

  • Do not touch an injured deer as their sharp hooves will do major damage to you.

If you accidentally hit and kill a deer, attempt to move it off the road IF it is safe to do so. Often when a doe is killed, the living fawn(s) will stay by their dead mom and/or dead sibling for hours.

  • If you can safely catch the fawn bring it immediately to Native Animal Rescue, OR
  • Call Wildlife Emergency Services at 831-429-2323.
Native Animal Rescue    1855 17th Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95062

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