Check out the Maryland State YouTube Channel Follow us  on Twitter Folllow us on Facebook Email Us DNR Home

DNR Reminds Marylanders To Keep Fawns Wild

Small deer in the brush

Annapolis, Md. (May 7, 2012) — With late spring being the prime birthing time for white-tailed deer, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds anyone who encounters fawns to avoid disturbing them. While young deer often appear to be orphaned, in most cases the doe is nearby protecting and feeding their offspring as needed. Removing these animals from the wild for care is unnecessary, dangerous and illegal.

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

Newborn fawns have almost no body odor and their spotted, reddish-brown coats help them blend into their surroundings. Fawns instinctively lie motionless when approached by potential predators. 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 their new surroundings. Too often, well-intentioned people find and remove fawns from the wild believing they are helping an orphaned animal, when the doe is usually close by.

Removing deer from the wild and keeping them in captivity is against the law. Furthermore, the unnatural conditions of life in captivity can lead to malnutrition, injury and stress at the hands of well-meaning captors. Wild animals that become accustomed to humans can pose health risks and become dangerous as they mature.

Anyone with questions regarding fawns or other young wild animals can contact DNR at 410-260-8540 or the USDA Wildlife Service Information Line; toll-free at, 877-463-6497. More information about white-tailed deer is available at

   May 7, 2012

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

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly one-half million 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 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at