News from the DNR Office of Communications

DNR Reminds Citizens To Keep Fawns Wild

It's best to leave wild animals alone

Annapolis, MD (May 6, 2010) — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds Marylanders to be alert to white-tailed deer fawns this time of year. White-tailed deer give birth to their fawns in late May and early June. If citizens encounter a fawn, DNR asks them to not disturb it.

“A fawn sitting still and alone may appear to be orphaned. However, in most cases the doe will be nearby and removing the fawn from the wild is not only unnecessary but potentially harmful to the fawn,” said Assistant Deer Project Leader George Timko.

Newborn fawns have almost no 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 new surroundings. Although fawns may appear to be alone, the doe is always close by, even though you may not see her. Unfortunately, well-intentioned citizens sometimes remove fawns from the wild believing they are helping an orphaned animal.

“If you encounter a fawn, never try to catch it,” said Timko. “If the fawn attempts to follow you, gently push on its shoulders until it lies down and then slowly walk away. This is what the doe would do if she wanted the fawn to stay put.”

Removing animals from the wild and keeping them in captivity is against the law in Maryland. Furthermore, 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 DNR/USDA Wildlife Services Information Line toll free at (877) 463-6497 or DNR’s Wildlife & Heritage Service at (410) 260-8540. You can also learn more about white-tailed deer by visiting our website at

   May 6, 2010

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2009, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 467,000 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