Why Do Deer Blow?

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Snorting, Blowing: What Gives?

There is nothing worse than hearing a loud, lung-collapsing deer blow while deer hunting. Ugh, why do deer blow? It’s an annoying, but effective sound (at least for the deer). This is so true when bowhunting. This is when you need deer to close the distance due to the range limitations of archery equipment. Ironically, a loud blow by a white-tailed sucks all the air out of my sail.

It can be downright unnerving when a buck or doe breaks complete silence by blowing loudly, especially at close range. If you’re like me, it’s usually at this point during a hunt that you’re ready to pack up your gear, climb down out of the stand and head for home, tail between your legs.

When do deer blow?
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Why do Deer Blow? Alert!

Deer really only blow for one reason, to alert other deer in the area that something is out of the ordinary. Though I’ve heard many deer do this over the years, I’ve come to realize that their actions are not always in response to me.

There are numerous things in a deer’s environment that can cause it to react with that attention-grabbing, nasal-clearing sound. Coyotes, dogs or anything else that they perceive as a threat. Deer can also snort when concerned. Regardless of why the deer is alarmed, the result may end in an unproductive hunt if your goal is to tag a deer.

Deer Communication

Source: Blow or snort (all deer, all seasons). The deer forcibly expels air through its nostrils like a greatly magnified sneeze. The deer blows when it detects danger at a distance. These blows are drawn-out “whooshes” repeated several times. Snorts are single, very short, explosive sounds given as the deer turns to run.

There may be three reasons for these sounds. The noise warns all deer that something is radically wrong. The “sneeze” clears the nasal passages, and helps the deer sniff the air better. The sound may startle a predator into revealing its location or leaving the area.

Deer Hunting: Why do deer blow?
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Why do Deer Blow? Sup?

Like some of you reading this article, I can tell you from experience that deer will blow when they see or smell something that is not right. More often than not, it means the deer that you are hunting smell you. It’s frustrating — especially since so many hunters are quite meticulous about scent control and hunting under favorable wind conditions.

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The best I can offer is to remember that it’s not always you. It’s sometimes you, but now always.

Deer snorts, then runs!
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Avoid Detection

Scent control is not necessarily about being “scent-free” but about being low in human scent. White-tailed deer have one heck of a sniffer on them so they can be hard to fool, but it’s not impossible. Keeping your scent level down can trick them into believing that you are much further away than they think you are.

You see, it’s all about scent molecule density. You want to have very few molecules (that smell like you) floating around in the air. Do all that you can to control scent. Then, the next time you’re hunting and hear a deer blow, you can be confident that it’s not at you. So, why do deer blow? It’s a form of deer communication that alerts the herd, but hopefully they aren’t talking about you.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>