Lakeway's White-Tail Deer Herd
Welcome to Deer Country!
White-tail deer are the smallest members of the North American deer family. Adults have reddish brown coats in the summer, fading to a duller gray-brown in winter. The bucks are easily distinguished in summer and fall by their sets of antlers. Antlers will fall off in the winter and then regrow. Mature does can bear twins or even triplets, in spring. Fawns are born covered in spots. “White-tail” refers to the underside of their tails, which stand up and wave like flags when they sense danger. (Many sources call them “white-tailed” deer, but around here we shorten that a bit.)
Four to five million white-tail deer live in Texas. Sometimes solitary, most travel in small sets, combining into larger groups seasonally. Ruminants, they mostly eat plants and shrubs, as well as fruits and acorns (click here for Deer Resistant Landscaping). In Lakeway, their predators are coyotes, dangerous metal fencing (click here for Safe Fencing), and vehicles (click here for Driving in Deer Country).
A special thank you to Lakeway residents for many of the beautiful photos found on the wildlife portion of the website. Unless otherwise credited, the deer photos are by resident/WAC member Nina Davis.
Fall Rutting Season
Spring Fawn Season
The City of Lakeway sees an abundance of newborn fawns each year in early spring and into summer. White-tail does often have twins and occasionally even triplets. A mother doe will clean a newborn fawn and let it nurse. Then she may move the fawn to a safe area and leave it there while she goes to feed. The fawn is too weak and wobbly to travel far with its mother, so it will instinctively stay where the doe has placed it until she comes back. This protects the fawn, which has no scent to attract predators. A fawn left to rest is PARKED. The spot chosen may seem very exposed to us; however, fawns are safer from predators out in the open than they would be if hidden in a wooded area. So, fawns are often parked in Lakeway yards and on golf courses.
Parked Fawns – Leave them be! You may find a newborn fawn in your yard or nearly stumble over one on a walk. Please, do NOT assume it was abandoned or needs help. Removing a fawn that is not in danger or clearly in distress causes harm to the fawn, the mother and the entire herd. Parked fawns tend to curl up like cats and nap. They will remain motionless for hours, which keeps them safe. They will stay where put unless harassed.
Enjoy this informative and adorable 2 minute video from Texas Parks and Wildlife on parked newborn fawns.
Rarely, a fawn needs help. Signs a fawn is in trouble:
- If the fawn is wandering around or bleating, it may need help.
- If the fawn’s ears are curled at the tips, its mouth is dry, or its bottom is dirty, Mama Doe hasn’t been around in a long time to nurse or clean the baby, and the fawn needs help.
- If the fawn is being attacked by fire ants, it needs help.
- If the fawn has been injured, it needs help.
Local resources to contact IF a fawn needs help:
Leanne Dupay, permitted wildlife rehabilitator with Texas Parks & Wildlife 512-694-1811. (She lives in The Hills.)
Shandra Dettbarn, permitted wildlife rehabilitator with Texas Parks & Wildlife 512-660-3568.
City of Austin Animal Services (512-974-2000) serves Lakeway. An Animal Protection Officer may come out and take the fawn to Austin Wildlife Rescue for care (see below).
Austin Wildlife Rescue 512-472-9453 https://www.austinwildliferescue.org/ They are an intake center only and do not pick up animals. The location is at 5401 E. MLK Jr. Blvd., Austin, TX 78721. Hours are Monday - Sunday 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
All Things Wild is located just north of Georgetown 512-897-0806 http://allthingswildrehab.org/ Their “Found a Fawn or Deer?” page has specific info. http://allthingswildrehab.org/deer/ Their “Contact” page has a lot of helpful tips. http://allthingswildrehab.org/contact-us/