Why Do Deer Snort?

Why Do Deer Snort Blow

Have you ever had a deer snort at you? Especially if you are a bowhunter that has to get in real close in order to align the perfect shot, chances are you have gotten to a deer close enough to hear it snort.

If you are not familiar with deer behavior, that strange and unnerving sound that deer make can leave you wanting to run for dear life (pun intended) and head home. However, the more your know about deer, the less frightened you will be of hearing it snort.

But why to deer even snort in the first place? Continue on reading and find out.

What Does A Deer Snort Sound Like?

Deer, as well as other animals, make a lot of noises and vocalizations. How would you even know that the sound it is making is a snort? First off, all kinds of deer snort – be it young, old, male, or female. And when they snort, deer forcibly blow air out of their nostrils.

These snorts may be compared to loud, magnified sneezes. Snorts may be short and explosive, or long and dragging bouts of repeatedly releasing air. Snorting may last for a couple of minutes or so, or are short loud blasts made by deer as they run away. Sometimes, this snorting also comes with foot stomping or tail flagging. These snorts may be startling, especially when you find a deer is looking directly at you.

Why Do Deer Snort?

why do deer snortwhy do deer snort

The Deer Snorts or Blows When It Detects Danger at A Distance

Along with other sounds that a deer makes, snorting is a form of communication between these animals. Typically, deer snort in order to alert other deer that are in the vicinity that something out of the ordinary is happening. As bowhunters, there is a big change that that something is you.

They may also snort if they are concerned, alarmed, or feel like they are in danger. Deer use their sense of sight, smell and hearing so that they can detect if there is a threat approaching.

However, there are other reasons for why deer snort. Snorting may also happen when a deer is hunting for its prey. This loud noise can startle whatever the deer is hunting, and make it leave its hiding position.

Deer, especially males, may snort before they get into a fight with other deer. Sometimes, deer also snort in order to clear their nasal passages, allowing them to sniff the air better.

What Will Happen If You Are Near A Snorting Deer?

Deer Run AwayDeer Run Away

Deer Run Away

If a deer snorts because it senses an odd presence, it can truly be frustrating for bowhunters. This means that the deer you have been keeping your eye on for so long may be about to go off and run away, or have already alerted other deer you could have possibly hunt. Even if the deer cannot see you, it can smell you coming from far away, and become immediately alarmed.

Not all deer snorts, however, are caused by human presence. This is good for bowhunters since this means that you can continue on hunting. However, snorting may also mean that a deer is being threatened by a powerful animal. And in this case, it is best to steer clear as well.

As what numerous hunters would attest to, deer are generally not violent creatures. Typically, they would just flee if they sense someone is approaching. But you should still proceed with caution as deer are known to attack when they feel like their young are threatened.

What To Do To Avoid Alarming A Deer

Conquest Scents EverCalm Deer Herd Scent StickConquest Scents EverCalm Deer Herd Scent Stick

Conquest Scents EverCalm Deer Herd Scent Stick

Since deer can be instantly triggered because of your scent, you have to be really mindful of your smell. Experienced bowhunters know this. Scent is the primary sense that deer use in order to feel if there is danger.

There are various kinds of products in the market that hunters use to hide their distinctly human scent. With this, you can trick those deer and get the upper hand.

Also pay close mind to what direction the wind is blowing. One strong gush of wind towards the wrong direction, and a deer can detect you right away.

Moreover, always be stealthy and out of sight when you hunt. Do not do anything or create noises that may startle a deer.

What To Do When A Deer Is Snorting

A Doe Blowing to Protect Her FawnA Doe Blowing to Protect Her Fawn

A Doe Blowing to Protect Her Fawn

When a deer starts to snort, the best thing to do is to stay perfectly still, and not to make any unnecessary movements. If a deer gets threatened by you and runs away, this may spell the end of your hunting trip.

But when deer do not sense an immediate threat, they may stay in order to investigate the area. Once a deer has you in sight and starts snorting at you, it may be that it can’t quite make out what you are and are attempting to startle you. If you stay still, it will eventually dismiss your presence, and you can go on with your hunting.

If you feel like a deer is snorting because of you but are sure that it has yet to spot you, it may be because it has detected your scent. In this case, sometimes you can just wait for the wind to shift directions and for the deer to lose your scent. You may also mimic deer calls in order to confuse the deer and make them think that you are one of them.

Sometimes, however, once a deer has snorted, there is a good chance that they have warned other deer that are nearby. If you are having a hard time finding deer after you have heard one snort, it is best to just move on to a different area.


Deer snort whenever they are alarmed by something or feel like they are in danger. These loud releases of air through a deer’s nostrils may sometimes be startling and catch you off guard. As bowhunters, this is may be a bad sign for the rest of your hunting trip as the deer are now aware of your presence. However, there are various things that you can do in order to get those deer off your tail, such as:

  • Using scent masking products like this
  • Being aware of the direction of the wind
  • Making sure that you are out of the deer’s line of sight
  • Not making any unnecessary noises
  • Not moving when a deer has spotted you

Comment and questions are very much welcome, and we hope you enjoy your bowhunting!

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