The leaves are falling and summer is but a memory.  Those little bundles of joy we captured are losing their spots and blowing out 4 candles on their birthday cake.  Well, some of them anyway.  As we all know, it’s tough to be little.  About 40% of our fawns fell victim to predators and other mortality causes before the second candle was put on their cake.  

But the last couple of months have been relatively quiet. 

Shortly after posting the 2 month birthday update in late July, we lost 2 fawns in 2 days.  One was taken by a bobcat, and one was hit by a vehicle on U.S. 322 near Potters Mills. 

Thankfully, that pace wasn’t sustained.  After those 2 mortalities, the collars of the remaining fawns beeped along with no sign of trouble. 

Until this month…in early October, another mortality signal was detected. All signs point to a predator making a meal out this fawn with hemorrhaging observed at bite wounds around the head and neck. I guess life is tough even if you aren’t so little anymore.

So how many birthday cakes will be needed this month? 

With these 3 mortalities, about half of the fawns are still alive. Predation continues to lead the causes of mortality, accounting for 67% of all mortalities. For comparison, this study continues to track the forested site of the 2000-01 fawn survival study in terms of survival and mortality causes.   

But as I mentioned, the leaves are falling and that also means that deer hunting season is upon us.  That birthday cake count may be going down again.

-Chris Rosenberry and Jeannine Fleegle
PGC Deer and Elk Section

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