What Does a Deer Sound Like? Guide on Deer Sounds & Meanings

Many times, when people think about what a deer sounds like, the only thing that comes to mind is snapping twigs and rustling leaves. Sometimes these faint sounds are the only things produced when a deer is in the vicinity.

However, despite what many people think, deer do produce many distinct sounds. These sounds have very specific meanings depending on the pitch and tone of each one. Some may be for mating, while others may be to warn other members of the herd.

This article will examine deer language and exactly what some of the noises they make signify. If you are a hunter or deer enthusiast, continue reading to learn how these animals communicate.

When Do You Hear Basic Deer Sounds?

Deer make noises for a variety of different occasions. Normally, these noises are made to communicate with the rest of the herd. Deer are notorious for being herd animals, and communication with other members is key for survival. The following are some of the more common reasons for deer vocalizations:

·         A deer makes noise when they are scared or frightened.

·         A deer makes noise when they are nervous or anxious.

·         A deer makes noise when one buck shows aggression toward another.

·         Deer make noises during mating season.

·         Deer make noises that are taken as warning signs.

·         Deer make noises in social situations.

Each of these situations can garner a different sort of sound from a deer. Let’s examine more specifically the sounds that deer make in each situation.

What Noises Do Scared or Nervous Deer Make?

Normally when deer make a noise out of fear or nervousness, it’s to warn the rest of the herd of imminent danger. The following are some of the specific sounds a deer will produce in these situations.

Sniffing Deer Sounds

When deer sense that something isn’t quite right, they may begin to sniff. Two primary reasons exist for these sniffing sounds during an anxious situation. The first is because the deer are attempting to gain a better smell of something in the area. The second is to put the rest of the herd on alert for whatever the deer senses the presence of.

The sniffing of a deer is about what you would expect it to be. Imagine a human sniffing, but only with more power and a little deeper sound.

Stomping Deer Sounds/Suspicious Deer

Deer that are nervous about something may begin lightly stomping their hooves. These light stomps are the beginning signs of a deer suspecting danger. This is primarily to alert the rest of the herd, letting them know to be aware of something that could pose a problem.

Snorting Deer Sounds/Alert Calls

Snorting is normally the noise that is made when the highest level of alert is reached. When a deer is certain there is something dangerous looming, they will begin snorting. These snorts sound very similar to a human sneeze, and this sound is something no hunter ever wants to hear.

Hearing these snorting sounds in the distance means the deer is certain of your presence in its territory. The deer will point its tail in the air and begin snorting to alert the other deer that it’s time to retreat. Surrounding deer will do the same to alert the rest of the herd, and they will all begin evacuating. Imagine how effective this sound is when it’s made through a deer’s large nose.

What Sounds Do Angry Deer Make?

When a male deer is looking to mate with a female, they will begin making noises to alert the other bucks in the area of his presence. The buck will also make noises to attempt to seduce the female does in the area.

The Grunt Toward Other Bucks

A buck grunt is one of the most famous sounds that are reproduced by deer call makers around the globe. In a show of dominance, bucks will make a loud grunting noise around other male deer.  The deep, short grunt is the telltale sign of a male asserting his dominance during mating season.

This noise is normally made once a buck has targeted a specific female he wants to chase. This is to warn other male deer to stay away from this doe. The female doe is also attracted to these grunting calls.

The Dominant Bucks Rattle/Bucks Fighting

The buck rattle is the sound of two male deer fighting in the wild. This is the sound of their antlers moving as they lock them together. Before mating begins, two male deer will lightly spar in an effort to analyze each other. This is one of the most common sounds you hear from whitetail deer hunters.

However, as time goes on, the fighting will become more serious as the contest decides which deer is more dominant. The heavier the fighting becomes, the more intense the rattling sound becomes.

Other deer find these antler noises very attractive. As these sounds are noticed throughout the rest of the herd, deer will normally run toward the sound to watch the contest between two bucks. This is what makes using deer antlers to lure these animals so effective when you are deer hunting.

The Snort Wheeze at Other Bucks

Snorting and wheezing are other noises used to intimidate competing bucks. These noises are made in succession; a raspy wheeze follows a loud snort.

When a deer begins competing for territory, they will make the snort wheeze noise. Sometimes, if one buck is considerably smaller than the other, hearing the snort wheeze of the larger buck is enough to send the former running.

Male deer aren’t the only noise-makers in the herd. Female deer also have a distinct set of noises they make during mating season and other times.

Female Deer Noises

Female deer have their own distinct set of noises they make that vary depending on the occasion. The following are some of the more significant noises heard from a doe.

Doe Grunt

The doe has her own version of a soft grunt she uses to be social to the rest of the herd. The grunt is a lot higher pitched than that of a buck, and it isn’t used to show dominance.

Deer are very social animals among the rest of the herd, and a female deer grunt is used as a friendly way of talking to her peers. She will also use this grunt to alert her fawns that it’s time to feed or vacate the area.

Doe Bleat Calls

Does also make a noise called bleating in a social situation. A bleat sounds like a high-pitched vibration and is often compared to a noise that a goat makes. A female deer can also make this noise when it is near its offspring. This noise can signify that they are happy or in a satisfied mood. Doe bleat calls can also be purchased for hunters. 

Noises a Doe Makes When It Is In Heat

A female deer will also make her own unique noise to seduce bucks of the herd. This is known as an estrus bleat, and the noise sounds similar to a kazoo or a high-pitched screaming sound. Deer calls often imitate this noise. This is very effective when it is used to lure deer.

As a buck chases a female deer, she will run until she is ready to mate. Once she has finished the chase, she stops and makes the estrus bleat call. This is to notify the chasing buck that she is ready. This can sometimes be an aggressive sound.

Despite the fact that this noise comes from a female, this can be one of the loudest noises a deer can make. It is also one of the most reproduced since it can lure in some good-sized bucks for a hunter.

What about fawns? Certainly, baby deer have their own set of noises they make to communicate certain needs to their parents, right?

Related: What Sounds Does a Moose Make

What Noises Do Baby Deer Make?

Fawns make many different noises to communicate with their mothers when they are extremely young. When you are hunting, making the noise of a fawn can lure in female deer when it is their season to be targeted.

The Whine

When a fawn is hungry and ready to nurse, it will make a distinct whining noise. Many people compare this pitch to the sound of a rusty screen door moving back and forth. You have to be in very close proximity to hear this noise a fawn makes.

Fawn In Trouble

When a baby deer is in trouble, it will cry out for its mother for protection. This sound can actually be very similar to a normal human baby crying.

Remember how we mentioned that deer are famous for being herd animals? When a mother hears a fawn crying that may not be her baby, she will still run to check on the young deer in distress. This is how much the herd attempts to protect its own.

Lost Fawn

Sometimes when a baby deer becomes lost from the herd, it will make a lower whine in an attempt to locate its mother. However, if a predator is stalking them, the cries will become much louder and stressed.

The Fawn Bleat

A fawn will also make a bleating noise, just like a full-grown female or male. However, this bleat is made when the baby deer is happy or content. They typically make this noise when they are playing around other baby deer or soon after feeding.

Takeaways On Different Sounds

The different noises that these fascinating creatures make have varying degrees of depth and pitch. It’s amazing how different these sounds are depending on the situation a deer is in.

You can capture your own amazing deer noises on film. Take one of the methods described in the above article. We recommend using the antlers or grunt call. Make the noises in your backyard and see how many deer you can get to approach the area and get them on film! You don’t have to be a hunter to enjoy the wonders of deer noises. 

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