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Think Twice Before “Rescuing” That White-Tailed Fawn!
ANNAPOLIS — Each year, as the beautiful spring weather ushers in the reproductive season for most wildlife, and viewing opportunities for young deer, citizens flood the phone lines of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife and Heritage Service, reporting “orphaned” fawns. These fawns are not orphaned.
After the doe gives birth to one or two reddish brown, white-spotted fawns, she leads them into secluded habitat within her home range. In the case of twins, the naturally camouflaged fawns can be separated by up to 200 feet. The doe then leaves them alone for extended periods of time, periodically returning to nurse them and to relocate them to new secluded habitat. This pattern will continue for up to three weeks. By this time the fawns are mature enough to keep up with their mother and able to race out of real or perceived danger.
What should a person do when they encounter a young fawn hiding on the ground? Think LWA - Leave Wildlife Alone! Never try to catch it. If the fawn is lying down, enjoy the moment and then quietly walk away. Do not describe the location to others. If the fawn attempts to follow you, gently push on its shoulders until it lies down and then slowly walk away. The doe would do the same thing when she wants the fawn to stay put.
Removing deer or other native wild animals from the wild, raising them and keeping them in captivity is against the law. 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 a threat to themselves and to people.
For questions regarding fawns or other young wild animals, contact the Wildlife Services Information Line, toll free, at (877)463-6497, or DNR’s Wildlife & Heritage Service at the following offices: Cumberland at (301)777-2136; Bel Air at (410)836-4557; Gaithersburg at (301)258-7308; Annapolis at (410)260-8540; or Salisbury at (410)543-6595.
May 18, 2005
The 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 446,000 acres of public lands and 18,000 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. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov