Marylanders Reminded to Keep Fawns Wild

May 5, 2017

Removing Wild Animals is Dangerous, Illegal and Unnecessary

With late spring being the prime birthing time for white-tailed deer in the state, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources reminds anyone who encounters a fawn to avoid disturbing it. While young deer often appear to be orphaned, in most cases the doe is nearby protecting and feeding her offspring.

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,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said. “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. Let’s keep Maryland’s wildlife wild.”

Newborn fawns have almost no natural 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 new surroundings.

Anyone with questions on fawns or other young wild animals are encouraged to contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services at 877-463-6497.