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Caution: fawn crossing

June 14, 2012

A couple of years ago in June, there was a motorcycle ride in New Jersey to benefit a children’s foundation, and I was riding with our local chapter of the Red Knights. We were on a rural road in Sussex County, when I spotted a doe and her fawn come out to the shoulder of the road maybe six bikes ahead of me. A split second later, the fawn shot across the road right between two riders. The fawn disappeared in the brush unscathed and the riders likely breathed a sigh of relief.

Evidently, the fawn wasn’t satisfied with being separated from its mother; a second later, it went full bore back the way it came across the road. A friend was two bikes ahead of me, and the fawn leaped into the air seemingly trying to fly above the motorcycle. It cleared the bike, but took my friend off the bike, knocking him backward. My friend was conscious and alert, but suffered a broken helmet visor and a broken nose. The fawn ran off into the brush and it’s unknown how it fared, the slow speed of the column of riders at that point saving both parties from more serious injuries.

This is the time for the appearance of fawns; most of them were born around the last week of May. They tend to curl up and blend in with their surroundings when first born; well-meaning people often mistake them as being sick or injured. Soon, they get their footing and follow their mother. It is at this point that they become somewhat of a road hazard. Deer are on the move in the spring and can be unpredictable near a road or highway, and when the fawns start traveling with their mothers, they have no concept of vehicles on roadways; they may go anywhere at anytime when near a roadway.

If you see an adult deer along the roadway this time of year, take a little extra time; there may be a newly minted fawn or two just waiting to dart out and explore that giant slab of rock with yellow lines in the middle of it. Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe recently cautioned motorists about deer hazards on roadways. More of his comments and some helpful hints can be found at