With late spring being the prime birthing time for white-tailed deer, 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 as needed. Removing these animals from the wild for care is unnecessary, dangerous and illegal.
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.
Those with questions regarding fawns or other young wild animals may contact DNR at 410-260-8540 or the USDA Wildlife Service’s Information Line, toll free, at 877-463-6497. For more information on white-tailed deer fawns visit DNR’s Deer Fawn Facts page.
Keep up to date with DNR’s Wildlife & Heritage Service on Facebook and Twitter@MDDNRWildlife.