Fawns are frisky, healthy, delightful and ready to play with anyone that will return the favor. Mostly their brothers and sisters, and mother. There are lots of them right now.
Most fawns in New York are born in late May or early June, and the first few months are a critical period for survival.
Fawn survival is heavily influenced by habitat quality, and those fawns that have good hiding cover and quality forage have the odds in their favor.
You can improve habitat for fawns on your lands by promoting native forbs in fields and forests.
• Avoid mowing large fields until mid-August – mowing fields in June can kill or injure fawns. Large, un-mowed fields provide excellent cover from predators and high quality native forage for fawns and their mothers.
• Create patches of young forest within your woodlot – removing overstory trees and allowing more sunlight to penetrate to the forest floor, will stimulate growth of herbaceous plants and new tree seedlings. Fawn survival is typically lower in wooded areas than in areas with some agriculture and fields, but increased greenery on the forest floor improves cover for fawns, helping them to stay camouflaged and protected from predators. It also provides more food for the fawn and its nursing doe. Overstory tree removal is best done during winter or another period outside of the breeding, nesting or brood-rearing season for many wildlife species.
• Keep winter in mind – Thinking ahead to winter projects, it is much easier to identify trees by their leaves than by their bark. Summer can be a good time to mark trees for winter-time cutting projects designed to enhance year-round browse and cover. Contact a DEC forester or biologist for advice.
• DEC reminds you, if you happen to find a fawn: If you care, leave it there! For more information and answers to frequently asked questions about the care of young wildlife, visit DEC’s website.
Employing these simple practices can help fawns survive into adulthood. After all, healthy fawns have a better chance of becoming healthy adults and improve our opportunity to let young bucks go and watch them grow!