• Caring for deer

NOTICE

Sadly, we cannot admit orphaned fawns at the Wildlife Aid Foundation, as we do not have the resources to raise them. A fawn needs to bond with a single carer, while it is being reared, and we do not have the facilities to do this. ALL fawns should be referred to Harper Asprey in Camberley (01276 681668), where they have a specialist deer unit and people experienced in raising fawns.

General information


Never try to catch any deer! It is very dangerous and you can get seriously injured. If you find one that needs help, please, call us and we will send someone out to rescue it. Stay reasonably close to the scene, so that we know where to find the deer when we get there; if you walk away, the deer will disappear and we won’t be able to find it.

There are six species of deer in the UK. The most common species found in Surrey are Fallow, Roe & Muntjac deer.

Fallow: breeding starts in late September and peaks in mid-October; the fawns are born in late May - mid June. The fawns are weaned by October. (Forestry.gov.uk)

Roe: breeding starts in mid-July to mid-August; the fawns are born in May - June (delayed implantation).

Muntjac: breed all year round.

DEER

If the deer is causing a hazard on the road, please, put your hazard lights on to protect both you and the deer. NEVER try to pick up an injured deer without expert help. The main aim is to try to keep the animal calm until help arrives. Stand well back, keeping well away from the deer’s antlers and hooves, both of which can inflict a very serious injury.

Please, call the Wildlife Aid Foundation and we will send help, as soon as possible, if we are available. Otherwise, please, call the RSPCA if we cannot respond. NEVER transport a deer in your car! This will result in serious injury to the deer, you and your passengers.

Handling or sitting near deer causes incredible stress to them. This will bring on a condition called “Capture Myopathy”. Once this condition sets in, the deer will die.

Deer hit by cars may often be stunned and not injured. They can take up to an hour to rest and recover, and will then run off after this recovery period. Deer, in these instances, should be moved off the road and monitored. They will not need medical treatment unless they are actually injured. Many deer are brought in to rescue centres, unnecessarily, and when this happens it puts unnecessary stress on the animal and prevents recovery.

If the deer is injured, we may need to assess the chances of quick treatment and release, and to do this we will need to come and see the deer in situ. Broken limbs, in deer, are almost impossible to manage and, in these cases, it is usually kinder to humanely euthanise the patient, than attempt heroic surgery on an animal that does not tolerate captivity.

Unfortunately, if it is at all mobile, we will not be able to catch it. The best thing to do is carry out the ‘broom test’ to establish mobility. (Gently touch the animal with a broom handle to see if it responds – it will either flee or remain where it is.) A mobile deer, even on 3 legs, can still run faster and further than a rescuer. Keep it under observation, if possible, and call us again if it collapses.

It's probably very unlikely - if it got in, it can almost certainly get out again. A deer can easily jump a 2-metre fence and will usually find its way out when it gets bored. Often, deer choose back gardens and secluded spots to rest up during the day, and will usually move away under the cover of darkness. Do not approach it, as it will cause it stress. Leave the deer until the next morning, and you'll probably find it's moved on.

Muntjac are on the invasive species list and rescue centres are not permitted to release them. This does not include situations in which they are trapped in fences, etc.

Important!

Muntjac have small antlers, which end in a sharp point, and elongated canine teeth (tusks), which are dangerous. Both will cause serious injury; please, do not try to catch them, yourself!

Breeding & Fawns

Mothers will leave fawns for long periods of time; the mother will feed the fawn in the early morning (dawn), then go off to find food during the day, returning, periodically, to check on the fawn. The mother will not come back if there are people close to the baby, so don’t stay close, observe from a distance. The mother will come back to feed the fawn again.

If there is a fawn that is in distress or in an unsafe environment (out in the open, on or near to the road, or is really wet and cold and in an unsheltered area), please, ring us to come and assess the situation; do not move the fawn or disturb it. Please, wait nearby, so you can see the fawn, but not so close as to spook the mother, in case she is close by; she will not come out if she can see or scent the presence of people. Only ever interfere if the fawn is in immediate danger (in the road and may be hit by a car, has been attacked or likely to be attacked by a dog or other animal).

Do not touch the fawn! If the fawn is lying down, but with its head up and eyes bright and alert, it has almost certainly just been left by its mother while she moves away to feed, and it should not be disturbed or picked up unless in imminent danger from dogs or machinery. Do not stroke it or touch it in any way, as human scent can cause its mother to abandon it. Watch the fawn from a distance, preferably by using binoculars, to see if the mother returns. Young deer are often left alone for several hours at a time, so you can check it again, later. If the mother does not return by dusk, call the Wildlife Aid Foundation for help and advice. A volunteer will probably need to attend the scene and assess the situation.

Do not touch the fawn! Observe the fawn for a couple of hours in case the mother is close by. However, if the mother does not return, then it’s possible she may have been killed in a road accident or disturbed by dogs and abandoned the fawn. It is also possible that the mother has abandoned the fawn because she knows it is sick.

If the fawn is injured, then it may need to come in for treatment; we would send someone out to assess the injuries, before we brought it in. Never bring a fawn in yourself; always wait nearby until one of our rescuers arrives.

Useful telephone numbers

RSPCA: 0300 1234 999
British Deer Society: 01425 655434
Harper Asprey: 01276 681668