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Kevin Hahn
KEVIN
HAHN

Food Plotting

Watch Out For Deer Fawns When Mowing

Sat, June 01, 2013

On June 9th of last year, I got a call from my daughter and from the tone of her voice I immediately knew she was upset.  She had just hit a deer fawn with the mower. She wasn’t bush hogging weeds nor was she mowing a hay field.  She was mowing a yard when she hit a fawn that was lying under tall grass that had fallen over into the yard at the edge of the field.  The mower blade had cut a 3 inch gash on one of the fawn’s rear legs.  The cut was barely skin deep but was in the area of leg that would be analogous to a human knee joint.  When the fawn got up to run, the joint protruded through the cut skin which held the leg into an upright bent position.  With the leg stuck in the bent position, the fawn could not stand or run. When I arrived, I found my daughter holding the fawn to keep it calm and to prevent further injury.  We cleaned the area, used super glue to close the wound—which buy the way worked excellent, and then placed the fawn back in its original spot. Unfortunately when we returned the next day to check the fawn, we found it dead in the same spot we had left it.  I assume the stress of the whole experience was too much for the little guy. 

Side note: One of my good friends and occasional hunting partner who is also our veterinarian advised me years ago to carry super glue while hunting with my dogs to “emergency suture” any cuts the dogs might receive in the field.

Picture of my daughter Emily holding the fawn that was injured by the mower.  The fawn was lying hidden at the edge of yard under the tall grass seen in the background.

What the experts say about newborn fawns

According to Clay K. Nielsen, an associate scientist with the Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory at SIUC, the fawning season in Illinois starts up in mid-to late May and goes through the month of June.  The first two weeks after fawns are born, they will remain hidden away in weeds and tall grass, and remain mostly still. After this period they will get up and run from danger.

David Yancy, deer biologist with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, states that newborn fawns will lay motionless in thick cover away from their mothers. They attract less attention from predators that way, but that makes them vulnerable to mowing. Fawns that are hiding in the weeds aren’t abandoned. The mother is in earshot. She comes in to nurse and groom the fawn two to three times a day.  She’s staying away from the fawn because she doesn’t want to draw attention to its location. His advice is also to defer mowing until the beginning of July.

In 2011 we observed first-hand what Yancy describes above.  On May 27th,  we watched from our front living room window as a doe aggressively chased away what were obviously her two yearling fawns.  The doe would then return to the same spot in the woods adjacent to our house.  After she left the woods, we checked out the spot and sure enough, she had a newborn fawn on the ground.  We watched the doe return for three days to nurse the fawn, then exit the woods every time after nursing, leaving the fawn by itself.

Picture of a newborn fawn left alone in the woods adjacent to our home.  The doe would return 2-3 times a day to nurse the fawn.

If you have to mow

The following are tips from North American Whitetail for Fawn-Friendly Farming if you have to mow during the fawning season.

MOW FROM THE INSIDE OUT
How you mow, and with what, can make a big difference as well. In general, it helps to mow an area from the inside outward, as opposed to the other way around. This allows wildlife to escape into surrounding cover much more readily than if the tractor forces them into a smaller area in the field’s center.

WALK THE AREA

If possible, consider walking out the area before you start cutting. If fawns, bird nests or the like are present, a careful walker has a good chance of spotting them. Then a decision can be made as to whether to continue with the mowing plan or delay it a bit.

SLOW DOWN
To further minimize the chances of harming fawns; it also helps to ease off the throttle. A fast-moving tractor can take wildlife by surprise, particularly where vegetation is lush. And by all means keep a sharp eye to the ground in front of you. Occasionally you might be able to spot a fawn or bird nest just in the nick of time.

CONSIDER A FLUSHING BAR
In an ongoing effort to reduce wildlife losses, some researchers have worked with what are called “flushing bars” on mowing/haying equipment. This is an apparatus that hangs out in front of the tractor, giving animals and birds a bit of a warning before the blades and tires arrive. Such a device can help, but it isn’t totally effective. Again, the slower the mowing rig is moving, the greater the chances of avoiding trouble.

 

Comments

I had heard using super glue works to actually close wounds, but can cause a blood poisoning issue?  I could be totally wrong though?

Posted by CCHUNTER2024600 on June 02

CCHunter…I have used superglue to close cuts on my labs with no issues,  But your question is valid, so I did some checking on the internet.  I found the following on Wikipedia about superglue (cyanoacrylate) for medical use.

CA glue was in veterinary use for mending bone, hide, and tortoise shell by at least the early 1970s. Harry Coover said in 1966 that a CA spray was used in the Vietnam War to retard bleeding in wounded soldiers until they could be brought to a hospital. Butyl cyanoacrylate has been used medically since the 1970s outside the US, but, due to its potential to irritate the skin, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration did not approve its use as a medical adhesive until 1998 with Dermabond.[10] Research has demonstrated the use of cyanoacrylate in wound closure as being safer and more functional than traditional suturing (stitches).[11] The adhesive has demonstrated superior performance in the time required to close a wound, incidence of infection (suture canals through the skin’s epidermal, dermal, and subcutaneous fat layers introduce extra routes of contamination),[11] and final cosmetic appearance.[12][13]

Kevin Hahn (Cooper)

Posted by Cooper on June 02

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