As you explore the neighborhoods or frankly go anywhere in Ocean Shores, you will see a lot of deer. The deer here aren’t afraid of you or your car. Please slow down, but please don’t stop in the middle of the road to view them. A lot of times, the deer fully expect you to stop while they’re crossing the road. Please do.
It is illegal to hunt or kill deer in the city of Ocean Shores.
To coexist with deer, they must be understood.
Spring is the time of year deer give birth. A deer may have between one and three babies – two is most common. Fawns are born from April through June. The fawn is able to stand in 10 minutes and can walk in seven hours. Young fawns stay with their mother through the following winter.
Healthy fawns are left alone daily while their mothers forage. Unfortunately, a lone fawn is often picked up by people who mistakenly think it has been abandon. Sadly those fawns have been taken from the mother unnecessarily.
Such fawns should immediately be returned to the exact location where they were found and left alone. The mother will return and will always take her baby back. If you do not leave the fawn alone, the doe will sense danger and not return. Once she senses the potential danger is gone, she will rejoin her young.
The only time a fawn should be picked up and brought in is if it is obviously ill or injured. If a fawn is wandering aimlessly, that may be an indication the mother is hurt and will not return.
The fawn’s natural predators are cougars, coyotes, bobcats and packs of domestic dogs. It is of vital importance that we keep our dogs contained to prevent needless attacks.
Fawns are born scent-free and have white camouflage spots that protect them from predators. The doe continues to work to keep her babies’ scent-free.
This is yet another reason why humans should never touch a fawn. Leaving human scent on their body will attract predators to the fawn. If you have touched a fawn and are returning it to the place where found, please do the following:
* Put on rubber gloves and get a towel.
* Rub the towel in the grass then wipe the fawn’s body to remove human scent.
Sadly, automobiles kill thousands of deer annually.
Here are a few tips on how to make your drive safer for you and the deer:
* Scan for wildlife at all times in areas where forest or fields are on both sides of the road. Be particularly attentive during dawn, dusk, and nighttime hours.
* At night, always watch for reflection from the eyes of deer and other nocturnal animals.
* If one animal crossed the road ahead of you, stop and watch; there will likely be others.
* If you accidently hit and kill a deer, move it far off the road. Often a doe will be killed and her fawn is still there in harm’s way. The living fawns will stay by their dead mom or their dead sibling for hours.
* If a deer is hit and wounded, immediately call 911 or the non-emergency number of the local police for assistance. Please do not let the deer suffer.
* Do not touch an injured deer as their hooves can seriously injure you.
If you see an adult deer with a broken leg or other injury, leave the animal alone unless it can’t stand. Even though the injury may take a long time to heal, this is far preferable to the trauma from chase and capture. A wild animals’ ability to heal and adapt to some injuries are quite amazing.