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Fawns in the Hayfield. How to avoid them?

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  • Fawns in the Hayfield. How to avoid them?

    This is an unpleasant subject I'm sure, but does anyone have any ideas on how to get the young fawns to get up and move before the equipment? I am going VERY slow and "trying" to see them but every year I kill at least one. I know many people hate deer but I'm not one of them. It just breaks my heart. I'm mowing with a swing tongue (pulled by the tractor) mower conditioner.
    Patty
    www.rivervalefarm.com
    Follow us on facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/River...ref=ts&fref=ts

  • #2
    It's a tough thing to try to spot hidden fawns in tall vegetation.

    A couple guys who hay around here have their dogs out and loose with them. The dogs like to run ahead of the mower and chase running stuff. If they come across a fawn they either end up flushing it or circling it so the mower knows there's something there.

    However these are dogs used to being out with the mowers. Not sure how safe having loose, running dogs is either.
    You jump in the saddle,
    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!
    ...Belefonte

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    • #3
      it's the nature of the beast. Sadly that's what fawns do: no scent and ducking under pressure.

      One piece of advice was to cut around the field one day, then coming back the next so hopefully the does have collected the fawns by then.
      Did not work, the first round the farmer had four fawns under the mower.

      No matter how you dislike deer, you just don't want them to get into the mower, that's just ugly!
      Originally posted by BigMama1
      Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
      GNU Terry Prachett

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      • #4
        Hmm. Might try an air horn or some gunshots? Don't know...
        Nudging "Almost Heaven" a little closer still...
        http://www.wvhorsetrainer.com

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        • #5
          Originally posted by MistyBlue View Post
          It's a tough thing to try to spot hidden fawns in tall vegetation.

          A couple guys who hay around here have their dogs out and loose with them. The dogs like to run ahead of the mower and chase running stuff. If they come across a fawn they either end up flushing it or circling it so the mower knows there's something there.

          However these are dogs used to being out with the mowers. Not sure how safe having loose, running dogs is either.

          Obviously this wouldn't work for folks with hundreds of acres to mow, but before my husband bushhogged our 20 acres, I'd take our Plott Hound/Lab cross out on a long retractable leash & methodically criss-cross every foot of each field. Dog enjoyed it, & we managed to flush quite a few fawns out before hubby started in with the tractor. I remember once simultaneously flushing out twins - dog came upon one; & a mere 15 feet away, I nearly stepped on another at the same time!

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          • #6
            truth is ?

            you can't if you are at the proper speed and rpm for anything but the smallest oldest pull behind sickle bars, you will kill your share.

            it's just a hard fact about farming hay

            Tamara
            Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
            I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

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            • #7
              I know some people who mount those whistle things on the front of their motorcycles so when out riding the deer will hear it and go away from the edges of the roads. I don't know how good they work....might that be something to try?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by vtdobes View Post
                I know some people who mount those whistle things on the front of their motorcycles so when out riding the deer will hear it and go away from the edges of the roads. I don't know how good they work....might that be something to try?
                fawns under a certain age will not move for any reason...a human can pick them up and carry them off if they came upon them

                Tamara
                Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

                Comment


                • #9
                  You can plan to hay first cutting or so a little later? We have mostly grass hay which we harvest first cutting a little later than alfalfa so most fawns, by then, are at the age when they run instead of hunkering down. Only one dead fawn in 33 years that way. Field nesting birds are about done nesting by then too.

                  It always makes me sad to see the meadow larks and bobolinks crying after someone cuts their hay.........you just know that there are dead babies on the ground.

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                  • #10
                    if you run dogs through the field several times a day for several days before the cutting, the moms are likely to find other places to hide their fawns.
                    Dogs generally won't find or flush the young fawns that get chopped by the mowers- the fawns are scent-less and won't move even if stepped on, so the only way to get them out is to convince the mom the area isn't safe to hide them.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by vtdobes View Post
                      I know some people who mount those whistle things on the front of their motorcycles so when out riding the deer will hear it and go away from the edges of the roads. I don't know how good they work....might that be something to try?
                      All research shows that the deer whistles do not work. Wish they did! My road is real hazard from deer this time of year.
                      APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by wendy View Post
                        if you run dogs through the field several times a day for several days before the cutting, the moms are likely to find other places to hide their fawns.
                        Dogs generally won't find or flush the young fawns that get chopped by the mowers- the fawns are scent-less and won't move even if stepped on, so the only way to get them out is to convince the mom the area isn't safe to hide them.
                        sad but true.
                        Originally posted by BigMama1
                        Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
                        GNU Terry Prachett

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                        • #13
                          Fawns are hard-wired to stay put regardless. A doe left one next to our driveway and I got literally within inches of it and took some pictures. He never moved.

                          We had some redneck neighbors that let their dogs run loose and I sat in the garage guarding it with my .22 until Ditzy Doe came and got him.

                          If you do see a fawn, don't touch it. For the first few weeks they have no natural scent, and touching one will taint it with your odor. The doe will recover it, but it's natural protection will have been compromised.

                          Forget the deer whistles. You might as well hang a coon tail from your car antenna. My Miata hibernates in the garage during the rut as I have no desire to get up close and personal with the underside of rut-crazed cervids.

                          Q: What's the difference between beer nuts and deer nuts?
                          A: Beer nuts are usually about $1.50. Deer nuts are always under a buck.
                          The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
                          Winston Churchill

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                          • #14
                            Sadly one or to baby deer have lost their lives out in our hayfield. I was told that mother deer find a suitable place for their babies to hang out while they go off and eat or whatever, and they tell that babu to STAY (somehow through nonverbal deer speak) and instinctively that deer stays put. So the mower, tedder, rake, and baler are no match for following mom's orders!

                            It is sad, but it's kind of like dead baby bird season inside the barn when the barn swallows learn (or don't) to fly and end up squashed in the barn aisle. Word of advice birds, STOP NESTING IN OUR HAY! I can't tell you how many scrambled birds eggs we've found in the barn the past few weeks from throwing bales down from the loft with birds nests in them!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Frank B View Post

                              Q: What's the difference between beer nuts and deer nuts?
                              A: Beer nuts are usually about $1.50. Deer nuts are always under a buck.

                              Originally posted by BigMama1
                              Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
                              GNU Terry Prachett

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                The sad fact around here is that when it's time to hay(three plus days without rain in the forecast) you cut and ted and rake and bale. You can't just wait for later or you will lose your second cut hay too. You may not get another dry period to make hay. I do a lot of finish cutting too and so far have been pretty lucky...no fawns run over yet.

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                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Today was better. Flushed out 5 fawns without hitting any! Once they are a few days old they will get up and run. I "accidentally" found a very young one while I was trying to find a Quail nest. I never did find the nest but my foot bumped into something soft. I parted the alfalfa and there he was! I nudged him and he did get up so I herded him to a safe patch of grass. He was very tiny, not very old and I don't think he would have moved on his own. What a lucky find!

                                  Tomorrow I will lay down the last of first cutting.
                                  Patty
                                  www.rivervalefarm.com
                                  Follow us on facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/River...ref=ts&fref=ts

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                                  • #18
                                    I came across a newborn fawn on a back road one day, right in the middle of the road. As I came closer, instinct took over and told it to lay down and be still - in the middle of the road.
                                    Tranquility Farm - Proud breeder of Born in the USA Sport Horses, and Cob-sized Warmbloods
                                    Now apparently completely invisible!

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                                    • #19
                                      I was hoping for a good a really good suggestion on this subject! I know the ole adage, if you work with livestock better be prepared for deadstock. I guess I am a wimp. Be it a mouse, horse, deer. By in large it is unavoidable if your first cutting ends up being in June. Around here, SE PA, June is fawning season and doe’s love the long hay in a big hay field to hide and “nest” in. I have tried a number of time consuming methods to no avail. It is gut wrenching when you hit one. Especially if it not a “clean” kill”. Some doe’s will leave their young during the day to feed else where. But a lot will be by their young and run off when the mower gets near. I think this is natures way of trying to lure the mower away from the area. But unfortunately this only tells me there is a fawn in the area. I have taken the time to walk all over the place looking for the little bugger but unless you happen to walk right on it they don’t move. Impossible to see through the high grass. I rather not know. If there are “windows” in May to get the hay off it is not a problem. They go else where. I am basically a one man operation haying 60 acres making “small” bales so I can’t get it all off in one cutting. So sections of the field will get long and deep by the time I get to it. Ideal for fawning in. So instead of just cutting one section at a time leaving large sections to get long I divide the field into a number of cutting areas. Mowing 30-50 foot “paths” between each section before fawning season with the available weather window. So when I am able to get to the “long” sections in mid to late June the doe’s and or the fawns can be seen running through the “open” areas and I make note. Its worked so far. No heart break the last 2 seasons.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        When we put up hay we got a few fawns every year. As Frank noted, they are hard wired not to move in their early days. In the woods this is a survival mechanism. In tall, hay field it's not.

                                        Mowing of any kind brings burdens to some creatures and benefits to others. I was out with our 15' batwing and noted the usual "air cover" (large numbers of birds feasting on the insects I was disturbing) and then I noted a couple of hawks circling. I also routinely scare up mice, shrews, and rabbits. I guess the raptor birds have learned that I'm a "lunch wagon" for them, also.

                                        G.
                                        Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

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