Anyone who has raised small children knows just how bad they perform with danger all around. You have to hold their hand or they will run right off a cliff. The whitetail doe is faced with the same problem. Common sense is not an instinct, it is learned. Several times this week while traveling to and from the river, I had to try to figure out what a fawn was going to do. I watched a panic stricken doe try to maneuver her fawn to safety. Roads are a big problem. When a deer runs in front of your car, her speed is a tell tale sign. If the doe is not swift or she lingers, a fawn is trailing her. The fawn is oblivious to your car. It is only watching mom not the 2000 pounds of steel speeding down the road. Fawns are only 4 weeks old this time of year and can't run more than 10 MPH.
In a fawn's early stage of life, its mother will cross a road, the fawn will often freeze in the woods and the doe will cross back again in front of your car. Later in this season the doe will just assume the fawn has learned to cross roads and she will wait on the opposite side. As your approaching car gets louder the fawn will panic and cross at the last second right in front of you. It is a difficult scenario and the best option is to give them the brakes. Hitting a fawn is probably one of the most disturbing things you can experience in the wild. June and July are the most dangerous for the fawn, by August they usually get it right.
Example; I drove around a corner on a logging trail right behind a doe and fawn traveling in the same direction. The doe whirled around to alert the fawn. The fawn sensing the presence of danger chose to return on the same path from which it came...right towards my car. The fawn ran to the front of my vehicle and stopped. The little guy was confused as to what this large piece of steel, smelling of gas and oil, was doing in it's path of retreat. As we all sat there for what seemed like an eternity, doe looking at her fawn between us, the fawn looking at the car, and me parked in the middle of the road. It took time, but the fawn finally realized the car was the danger! It wheeled around 180 degrees and ran towards its mother and followed her into the forest. It was a happy ending for this fawn's first car confrontation.
The doe will move the fawn each day to a new area before she grazes near by, crossing roads along the way. This survival technique is to relocate to a fresh, scentless area. It is at this time the new born is on the learning curve. It won't be long before the fawn's innocence will turn to a well honed allusiveness.
Sweet Is The Lore That Nature Brings