FREDERICTON (GNB) – This is the peak fawning season in New Brunswick, and the Department of Natural Resources is advising people not to approach newborn fawns. Even if a fawn appears to be abandoned, it is best to leave it alone.

The prevalence of diseases in deer and moose has increased in Canada, and handling fawns increases the risk of diseases being spread. It also violates several provincial and federal laws designed to protect wildlife and animal health.

Female deer only visit their fawns three or four times a day for about 15 minutes at a time to nurse, so it is not uncommon to see a newborn fawn without its mother, even for stretches of several hours.

Fawns can walk, although unsteadily, shortly after birth, and female deer conceal them in dry, sheltered areas. Except when nursing, female deer tend to stay away from their fawns in order to keep from drawing attention to the hiding place.

Many people who find fawns think that they are helping the young animal by taking it home or to a Natural Resources office. However, fawns taken from their mothers usually die. The department advises hikers, campers, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts to stay away from all newborn animals in the wild.