One of the cool things about asking BDN readers to share their trail camera footage is that it allows me to reach out to experts to get answers to the questions that might arise.
That’s the case today, as David Cyr sent in a great recent video that shows a pair of fawns nursing in a northern Maine field. Cyr said he was surprised to get the footage, for a simple reason.
“Check out this cam video of fawns nursing this late in the year,” he said. “I thought they would be completely weaned by now.”
Since deer are mating as we speak, and fawns are born in the spring, it would make sense that the nursing process would be over by now.
I reached out to Nathan Bieber, the deer biologist for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and asked for his thoughts.
“Fawns are typically weaned off their mother’s milk by now,” Bieber said. “Any nursing that you see into October or November is probably mostly a social bonding act between fawn and mother and not really necessary for the fawn’s survival.”
The time and date stamp on Cyr’s video shows that this activity took place on Nov. 6. Bieber said some other factors might be in play as well.
“Nursing as late as November suggests that additionally the fawns were probably born later than normal. It’s possible their mother is a very young mother. If younger deer are bred, it tends to be later in the breeding season because they cycle into estrus later,” he said.”This may be possible though, especially if the deer was in very good body condition, which may be related to its diet, especially if it’s a deer that’s being artificially fed. It may be an older doe that just happened to be bred late as well, which can have several causes.”
So there you have it. Just more proof that you learn something new every day.
Do you have a trail camera photo or video to share? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us “I consent to the BDN using my photo.” In order to prevent neighbors from stopping by to try to tag particularly large bucks, moose or bears, some identities and towns of origin may be omitted.