A deer started blowing back in the pines, and I hadn't even sat down yet. It was dark, and the soft wind was in my face. I had climbed the stand slowly and carefully and had not made a sound. Yet this deer had detected my presence somehow.
All I could figure was that the deer must have been out in the food plot when I approached the stand, and it saw my shadowy figure. It must have bolted into the piney woods and was now letting all the other deer within hearing know that I was lurking about.
I went ahead and sat down, pulled my rifle up and got settled. Daylight was coming, and I didn't want to move to another stand. But this deer wasn't letting up. It was probably an old doe, and she was blowing loud and often. I was hopeful that she would quiet down and move away. She did not.
Generally, deer will blow to warn other deer that something isn't right when they smell or sense something wrong. It is a very shrill sound, almost like a loud whistle. The deer expels air forcefully from the nostrils, and the sound carries a long distance. The annoying thing is that they will usually escalate the warning. Obviously, it is the one sound that a hunter doesn't want to hear.
The deer did move farther away but kept up her warning for nearly 40 minutes. I was determined to wait her out, and eventually, she quieted down. I could hear the wind whispering now in the tops of the pines and the birds singing. I sat there daydreaming for another hour, until another kind of sound caught my attention.
Leaves crunched, and there was a crackle in the brush to my right. I snapped around to see flashes of brown. Two deer were running through the woods about 40 yards away. I couldn't see them good enough to tell if they were bucks or does, but they were big, and it seemed one was chasing the other. When they turned straight away, I could hear one grunting almost every breath. "Was it a buck chasing a doe," I wondered? But it seems too early in the season for rutting activity.
Bucks sometimes use short grunts when they are chasing a doe. You'll hear a series of soft "urp, urp, urp" sounds. It's one of the most exciting sounds in the woods for a hunter. There is also a tending grunt that some hunters call a "roar." The roar is a more guttural "urrrrrrp" sound. Hunters know these sounds, but a casual observer would miss them as they are low frequency and can easily blend in to the other sounds of the forest.
I sat a while longer scanning the food plot and the surrounding woodlands. It was a beautiful morning, and I was content just to be there. Then another sound caught my full attention. It was a single grunt in the pines to my left. I faced that direction and focused, listening for another. A louder grunt came from the same area. I knew there was a buck there, but I could see nothing. Now I remembered that I had a grunt call in my pack. I dug into the pack, found the call and blew a couple of soft grunts.
Nothing happened. I called again. I knew the deer was close enough to hear my calls, but I resisted the urge to call more. I sat and waited. The buck may have circled around behind me to get downwind. I sat as long as I could, waiting, but the buck had vanished.
There are other deer sounds. The snort wheeze sounds exactly like it's named. A dominant buck will sometimes make a short, loud snort, followed by a long wheezing sound. Does communicate with a variety of bleats. The bleats vary in tone and intensity. Deer are generally quiet animals, but on occasion they do verbalize and make some common sounds. We just have to listen and learn to recognize those sounds.
Email Dan Geddings at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More Articles to Read