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DNR Encourages Citizens To “Keep Fawns Wild”
Annapolis, MD — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds people who may encounter fawns this spring to not disturb them. White-tailed deer give birth to their fawns in late May and early June. While they may appear orphaned, in most cases the doe will be nearby. Removing the fawn from the wild for care is unnecessary and usually endangers the health of the animal.
“If you encounter a fawn, enjoy the moment, but leave it alone and don’t try to catch it,” said Rande Brown, Game Mammal Biologist with DNR Wildlife and Heritage Service. “If the fawn attempts to follow you, gently push on its shoulders until it lies down and then slowly walk away, the same as the doe would if she wanted the fawn to stay put.”
Newborn fawns have almost no body odor, and their spotted, reddish-brown coat helps them blend into their surroundings. Fawns instinctively lie motionless when approached by a potential predator. This seemingly helpless state is a behavioral adaptation that has helped white-tailed deer survive for ages. Despite this strategy, curious fawns will sometimes wander around in their new surroundings. Although fawns may appear to be alone, the doe is always close by, even though unseen. Too often, well-intentioned people find and remove fawns from the wild believing they are helping an orphaned animal.
Removing deer from the wild and keeping them in captivity is against the law in Maryland. Furthermore, the unnatural conditions of life in captivity can lead to malnutrition, injury, and stress at the hands of a well-meaning captor. Wild animals that become accustomed to humans can pose health risks and become dangerous as they mature.
For questions regarding fawns or other young wild animals, contact the USDA Wildlife Services Information Line, toll free, at (877) 463-6497 or DNR’s Wildlife & Heritage Service at (410) 260-8540. Visit www.dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife to learn more about white-tailed deer.
May 14, 2009
Contact: Josh Davidsburg
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 449,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov