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Just because a baby deer is alone doesn't mean it needs your help

It's probably fine, leave it be.

Baby deer are going to be born all over the state in the coming weeks.

Yes they're cute, and when they're sitting all alone in the grass, they look vulnerable.

But they're not. They're probably fine, so just leave them alone.

That's the message from the Minnesota DNR, which Monday put out its yearly "Don't touch fawns" warning.

“Fawns do fine even if they look abandoned or fragile,” says Adam Murkowski, DNR big game program leader in the release. “People can give them the best chance of survival by leaving them alone.”

What are they doing alone?

Deer moms nurse their young at different times of the day. Sometimes they'll leave for a bit, or even for longs periods of time – but they know where they left their baby, and will come back.

And the baby deer isn't moving because that's not what it does when it's young. Instead of trying to run away from predators during the first few weeks, they stay still as a way to avoid being seen. Their white spots help serve as camouflage, the DNR explains.

You being near the baby deer could mess these processes up.

Mama deers won't feed a fawn, or even care for it, if a human is nearby.

And if you as a human approach the baby deer, it could lose its fear of people – an important trait that is key to its survival later.

Murkowski puts a fine point on it: "We understand people often mean well when they move fawns. But one way or another, once fawns are moved these young animals usually end up dead."

More about deer

White-tailed deer are found in every single Minnesota county, and are pretty flexible in terms of living environment, the DNR says.

There are usually two fawns born at a time, each weighing about 8 pounds, the DNR says, noting they stay with their mom and nurse for a few months after birth.

Once summer rolls around (so after all the births in the late spring), there are usually 900,000-1 million of the animals in the state, according to the agency.

The DNR also has a guide to baby animals, laying out what to do if it seems like they're orphaned.

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