News from the DNR Office of Communications

DNR Reminds Marylanders To Keep Fawns Wild

Annapolis, Md. (May 5, 2011) — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wants to remind people that most white-tailed deer give birth to their fawns during late May and early June. Marylanders who may encounter fawns this spring are asked to avoid disturbing them. While fawns often appear to be orphaned, in most cases the doe will be nearby protecting and feeding the fawn as needed and removing it from the wild for care is unnecessary.

“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 if she wanted her 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 usually close by, even though you may not see her. 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. 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. Remember, if you observe a fawn, enjoy the moment, but leave it alone.

For questions regarding fawns or other young wild animals, contact DNR at (410) 260-8540 or the USDA Wildlife Services Information Line; toll free, at (877) 463-6497. You can also learn more about white-tailed deer by visiting our DNR website at

   May 6, 2011

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 a 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. Learn more at