Fawns are Getting Stuck in Fences — And Some are Dying

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Warning: The video below contains graphic images.

SACRAMENTO COUNTY — On Wednesday, the Bradshaw Animal Shelter shared a photo of a fawn stuck between bars of an iron fence in the Carmichael area.

“As a wild animal, they don’t know what’s going on,” said Animal Control Officer Bill Davidson. “They’re going to be fighting hard to try and get out, which is where the injuries come from.”

Davidson said the situation shared by the animal shelter ended well when rescuers arrived.

“They basically backed it out by just kind of maneuvering it back through the wire and it ended up running off,” he told FOX40.

However, the predicaments are quite common.

“They’re following mom and they come up to a fence,” said David Cook with the Sierra Wildlife Rescue in El Dorado County.

Cook said he gets about three dozen calls per summer about fawns stuck in wrought iron fences.

“An adult deer will jump right over that with no problem but the fawn can’t jump that high,” he explained. “So, the fawn will come up to this and put her head through.”

The animals’ shoulders are narrower than their hips, so the fawns will get caught between the bars.

“And understand, the mom is already over there calling to her like, ‘Hey, let’s go,’” Cook said. “The fawn wants to go to mom; the fawn doesn’t understand reverse. So, the fawn is just ramming herself repeatedly, senselessly, just banging away.”

Cook said roughly half of the fawns who get stuck will die from their injuries.

If he gets the call soon enough, Cook is often able to set them free.

“While they don’t understand reverse, I do. So, I just reach down and I just wiggle them backwards,” he said.

There are measures homeowners can take to make their fences more wildlife safe.

Some people have wooden slats or an extra bar installed in between each existing one. But there’s a much cheaper solution.

“It’s the kind of plastic fencing people use to wrap around bushes or trees to keep deer from eating them. Instead of using it for that, it comes in a roll, you just roll it out, nice little plastic or nylon, and cable lock zip tie it all along here,” Cook demonstrated.

Another problem is adult deer get impaled on fences that have spikes.

Something round at the top would give the deer a much better chance of survival, Cook says.

“They share with us their beauty and their interesting lives and so I feel it’s kind of obligatory on our part to share with them. We’ll try to allow them to continue to use their environment,” Cook said.

Sierra Wildlife Rescue also does property inspections and recommends ways to make your yard safer for wildlife.

In Sacramento County, you can report any animal emergency by calling 311.

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