What Deer Are Saying!


Deer - Always Listening & Watching! *


Deer Make Sounds That Mean Something to Other Deer

Biologists have spent considerable time and effort trying to learn and categorize the sounds coming from deer.  Two professors and a graduate student from the University of Georgia eventually identified twelve different whitetail deer vocalizations.

Drs. Larry Marchinton and Karl Miller, plus grad-student Tom Atkeson categorized those 12 sounds into cohesive or non-cohesive sounds.

Cohesive Sounds From Deer

When a deer makes cohesive sounds, he/she is trying to be social.  Deer sounds that are maternal, mating and contact calls are cohesive.

An example of maternal calling is when a fawn mews (it sounds just like a cat meow) – trying to get the attention of his mother.

Does bleat to attract the attention of bucks; this is an example of a mating call.

Bucks use a simple grunt to start social contact with another deer.

Non-Cohesive Sounds of Deer

These sounds are uttered by deer to express their dominance or subordination to other deer.  By their nature, they are generally antagonistic.

In other words, they are not trying to be sociable, but are staking their claim to their place in the hierarchy of the deer herd.

If a dominant buck grunts to a lesser deer and the lesser deer does not accept his lesser rank (in relation to the dominant deer), a fight is likely to ensue.  That ‘young whipper-snapper’ needs to learn his place.

Getting Started With Deer Vocalizations

There is no way to exactly convey the nuances of some of these sounds on paper.  It is best to buy a DVD or audio tape of these sounds, so you can learn to imitate them.

Here’s an example of why it is so hard: A doe can bleat in three ways.  She can bleat to communicate her dominance over another deer; she can bleat to show her submission to a more dominant deer or she can bleat to attract a buck — as a mating call.

Only by hearing the sounds can the hunter learn to imitate them as an aid to a successful hunt.

This is a natural point to pause for today. When we return to this subject, we’ll learn just how chatty whitetail can be!


* ‘November Apples’ used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics


This blog is a companion to my website: GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on January 29, 2010 at 1:57 am  Comments Off on What Deer Are Saying!  
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