Snorting, Blowing: What Gives?
There is nothing worse than hearing a loud, lung-collapsing deer blow while deer hunting. This is especially true when bowhunting, when you need deer to close the distance because of 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.
Deer Blow to 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.
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.
Out of the Ordinary Sound
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.
The best I can offer is to remember that it’s not always you. It’s sometimes you, but now always.
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 so that the next time you’re deer hunting and hear a deer blow you can be as confident that it’s not you. That deer may be communicating to other deer that it’s worried, but it’s worried about something else.
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