White-tailed Deer Authorization

All individuals seeking to rehabilitate white-tailed deer must meet pen, care, and feeding specifications before they acquire fawns or obtain a fawn rehabilitation permit. They must also adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. All persons in possession of any fawn must notify the Wildlife Division when they receive each fawn. Only persons who meet pen specifications will be allowed to hold or rehabilitate fawns.
  2. All fawns will be cared for in a manner specified by the DEEP.
  3. All fawns must have minimal human contact while under a rehabilitator's care.
  4. Any person who acquires any white-tailed fawn must release fawns on the date and in the location specified by the Wildlife Division Deer Biologist. These decisions will be made on a case by case basis.
  5. The Wildlife Division must have the final decision in the disposition of all fawns.
  6. The Wildlife Division will ear tag all white-tailed fawns being rehabilitated.
  7. If any fawn dies while in captivity, the Wildlife Division must be notified immediately.
Fawn Pen Specifications
  1. Size: Minimum space required for 1-4 fawns is 300 to 500 square feet. Larger pens are better, space allowing. Pens must be at least 8 feet in height.
  2. Number: One or two fawns per pen is best. For health reasons, no more than 4 fawns will occupy a single pen, regardless of the size of the pen.
  3. Materials: Twelve gauge wire mesh with openings no larger than 2 inches in diameter, wood arranged in a "stockade" manner, or other sturdy solid siding can be used for pen construction.
  4. Shelter: Artificial cover of at least 20 square feet per fawn shall be provided as shelter from the sun and the elements. The roof of this shelter should be 5-6 ft. from the ground. A three-sided shed or small pole barn works very well in this capacity. It would be beneficial to provide a "hiding area" for fawns to escape visibility by building a petition within the shelter. Also, some sort of natural cover would be desirable in the pen area. Note: Pens should not be completely covered, as sunlight is very important to the health of fawns.
  5. Location: Pens must be built in an area where fawns will not be disturbed by humans or pets. If possible, they should be located well out of sight of human activity. If this is not possible, every effort should be made to block their view with vegetation, plywood, or other material. The less the fawns see of humans, the "wilder" they will be.
  6. Shape: A pen that is longer than it is wide provides longer runs and better exercise for fawns. A pen 15' x 30' would provide adequate exercise room.
  7. Bedding: Sawdust, wood shavings or hay must be provided as bedding in the shelter portion of the pen. Sawdust or shavings are the preferred bedding materials. Change bedding once a week, or more often if necessary.
  8. Ground Cover: Half to two-thirds of the pen must be in an open, grassy situation. This will prevent the pen from becoming excessively muddy, and will provide fawns with an area to exercise, nibble on grass, and lay in the sun. Good drainage in the pens is particularly important for good health. There should be no low spots where water can collect or mud puddles form inside the pen.

Note: Deer pens must be occupied exclusively by deer. Use of the pens by other species is a potential source of disease.

For further information about feeding and release guidelines or to arrange a site inspection, please contact the Wildlife Division Deer Biologist at Franklin Wildlife Management Area at 860-418-5921 or Laurie Fortin, Wildlife Division Biologist at 860-424-3963, laurie.fortin@ct.gov, or by postal mail at:

Laurie Fortin
Connecticut DEEP
Wildlife Division
79 Elm Street
Hartford, CT  06106-5127

How to Become a Wildlife Rehabilitator

Content last updated on April 30, 2019.