What Sounds Does a Deer Make?

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Sniffs, bleats and grunts are some of the most common sounds that deer make. Deer are communicative animals, and verbalize their impulses through various noises that indicate various ‘feelings,’ – from sounds made during jostling for status to warnings of predators. 

Sounds can attract or repel deer at given times. Learning the ‘deer vocabulary’ is fun and useful for any hunter. 

What Sounds Does a Deer Make When Tense or Terrified? 

One of the survival instincts that’s helped deer survive and thrive is their herd mentality. They rely on each other. One of the ways they protect themselves by signaling each other whenever there’s danger. When you hear deer a make these specific sounds, they’re probably aware of your presence, and they’re raising the alarm to the heard:


When a deer get a faint sense that there is impending danger, they start ‘sniffing.’ At this point, they’re trying to zero in the possible danger by smelling the danger and alerting the herd. The sense of smell is one of the ways deer monitor their surroundings. The sniffs sound similar to human sniffs. Just think of air being sucked through a giant nose.


In addition to sniffing, suspicious deer often start to stomp their hooves lightly. This happens when they sense danger but they’re not sure what it is and where it’s coming from.

Stomps sound like wood blocks slumming into the ground. You’ll easily notice this sound as since deer are normally super-silent. Stomping raises the alarm and thus informs the herd to be keen about their surroundings so that they zero in on the threat. 


Snorts happen when a deer is confident there is looming danger. It means whatever tactics you used to camouflage your scents, noises, and body haven’t worked. The snort sounds almost like a human sneeze.

There is nothing as disheartening as hearing a snort when you haven’t had much success throughout the day, and you’ve pretty much given up. The deer snot and then lift their tails and speed off. The sound alerts other deer who do the same. 

What Sounds Does a Deer Make when Aggravated? 

During the rutting season, male deer throw caution to the wind in order to chase tail. This also applies to their sounds; bucks in the rut are louder than usual. A buck makes various sounds to signal his presence to other males in the locality and intimidate them. He also makes certain sounds that are meant to woo does. 

Buck Grunt

Buck grunt loudly to show dominance. Conversely, all deer usually make long and soft grunts to call each other. The deep and short grunt is a bucks’ way of claiming territory and all the does in it. 

A buck you usually makes this sound when he’s zeroed in on a doe that he intends to chase, and continually makes these grunt as he trails her. The sound also attracts other females. 

The Buck Rattle/ Rattling Antlers

Rattling antlers is not a deer vocalization. It’s the sound of war – two bucks battling for dominance. Male typically spar by clanging their antlers and thus make a rattling sound.

Before the ratting season starts, males spar lightly just to test each other’s strength and guts. But once the does get into estrus, fighting becomes vicious. Males are determined to get to the top of the hierarchy.  

When other bucks hear the rattling, they know there is an ongoing battle, and so they come to check it out. The rattling mainly draws the dominant males of the area who’ll want to find out who is causing ruckus in his territory. Mimicking the rattling sound draws the big boys in the territory.  


The snort-wheeze is a sound of aggression meant to intimidate rivals. As the name implies, it sounds like a snort that’s followed by a croaky wheeze. Two bucks are battling for territory display dominance by making this sound.

If one of the bucks is timid or smaller, the noise makes them run away. Aggressive males usually make this sound before they lock their antlers. When you combine this noise with rattling antlers, you give a fantastic impression of combat, and thus you’re likely to attract dominant and inquisitive bucks in the area.  

What Sounds Does a Female Deer Make?

Deer are herd animals, and thus they have various ways of communicating, including through sounds. Deer noises don’t just signify anger or fear; they also make various sounds to show excitement, happiness, or even boredom. Does, particularly, vocalize a wide range of sounds to communicate with their fawns and with each other. 

Doe Grunt

Does have smaller bodies, and thus their grunt is higher-pitched compared to a buck grunt. Besides, the grunt has nothing to do with supremacy battles. They make this sound just to converse with each other.

Deer are social, they often gather together. Grunting is a way of deer telling each other that they’re around, and they’re up to a mingling session. Besides, when they’re shifting to another location or when it’s feeding time, mothers call their fawns by grunting. When you observe deer making this sound, you can infer what the deer implies based on the grunt’s pitch.

Estrus Bleat – Doe on Heat Sound

When does are on heat and are seeking to mate, they make a given sound to woo the bucks. This estrus bleat is higher pitched than the calls made by males. It’s similar to a kazoo. 

A doe that wants to mate makes this sound which alerts the buck that’s after her that she’s ready. This is one of the loudest and most distinctive deer noises.

The intensity of this call signals how long a doe has gone without a mate. A lot of the can-styled calls in the market today mimic this desperate mating call. 

Buck Bawl

The buck bawl, buck roar, or growl, is a less common but distinctive deer sound. You may call it whatever you want, but it’s memorable whenever you hear it.  

It’s a low, eerie, guttural sound that you won’t believe that it emanates from a deer. It sounds like the buck is grossly frustrated, and that’s true. Rutting bucks make this call when they have a doe that has refused to breed with them; it’s a call that signals loneliness.

Many grunt calls have come out that mimic this sound. This is not a sound that you should use whenever you go out. If you do it wrong, you’ll scare more deer than you would attract. This is a call that you should only consider when everything else has failed. 

What Sounds Do Young Deer Make?

Fawns, or baby deer, make various sounds to commune with their mothers. Does possess strong maternal instincts and thus respond fast to their babies’ calls. Therefore, if you’re hunting for does, one the best way to lure them is by imitating the sound a fawn makes. 

Nursing Whine

When fawns are trying to nurse or nursing, they whine. A nursing whine makes a falling and rising hum that sounds like a rusty panel door being swayed by the wind. The fawns use it to bond with mothers. Like many of the social communication sounds that deer make, it can be barely heard from a distance.  

Fawn in Distress Call

When a fawn is faced with danger, it calls for its mother for help. The loud continuous cry that the fawn makes sounds eerily human. It makes you feel like you need help, just imagine how it makes a mother deer feel. So does usually respond fast when they hear a crying fawn, even when their babies are out of harm’s way right by their side.  

As you’d imagine, the sound’s volume depends on the level of danger a fawn senses. It’s rhythmic and quiet when a fawn has just lost track of the herd, and it’s panicked and loud when the fawn is being trailed by a predator.

The fawn distress calls are most common early in the season when the then younger fawns are more reliant on their mothers. It’s during this period that you’ll have most luck mimicking it, though it’s still effective all year-round.

Fawn Bleat

Just like the does, fawns make goat-like bleating sounds when they’re content. Because they’re smaller-bodied, their bleats are higher-pitched than those of adults, but the sound serves a similar purpose. 

The fawns bleat when they’re bonding with their mothers or playing with their peers; it bolsters bonding within the herd. You’ll mostly hear fawning bleating when the young deer are playing as their mothers feed. 

Learning deer sounds makes you much more effective at deer calling. But it also deepens your understanding of how and why deer act in certain ways in given situations. Knowing the sounds deer make and what prompts them to make those sounds will make you a much more effective hunter down the line. 

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Deer Calls 

Like humans, deer use sound to communicate to the rest of the herd. Technology in hunting has seen the invention of deer calls that mimic deer sounds for successful hunting. Here is an exclusive article on the best deer calls for hunting deer

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