Rehabilitating and releasing abandoned or “picked up” white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) fawns back to the wild is a popular alternative to euthanasia, but the fates of these fawns are often unknown. We measured survival rates and sources of mortality for radiomarked white-tailed deer fawns that were orphaned or picked up by the public, raised by wildlife rehabilitators, and released into the wild. A total of 14 of 23 and 8 of 19 fawns during 2000 and 2001, respectively, died within 30 days of release. The Kaplan-Meier 100-day survival rate was 0.232 for all deer. We found no difference in survival distributions based on rehabilitation site. Sources of mortality for released fawns were canids (50%), unknown cause (20%), accidents (10%), bobcats (Lynx rufus) (10%), poaching (6%), and legal harvest (3%). Most rehabilitated and released fawns died, but those that survived did so around human dwellings and may have become a nuisance or presented public safety concerns.
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