Ask The Biologist

Bucks are Selfish!

Bucks are Selfish!

By Bob Humphrey

The deer you hear is not likely the deer you’re after.

QUESTION: Last fall when hunting a farm in Kansas, I was approaching a thicket when a buck began to snort at me. Several minutes later, three does ran out. I waited awhile longer, but the buck never came out, and when I went in to investigate, the buck was not there. Is it possible one of the does was snorting at me? I didn’t think they do that.

ANSWER: Not only is it possible, it’s quite probable. In fact, this is among the most common misconceptions about deer. When people hear a deer snort or blow, many automatically assume it’s a buck. In the vast majority of cases, it is a doe doing the snorting.

Bucks snort-wheeze as a sign of aggression to other deer, but very seldom will a buck, especially an older one, snort. Biologists believe deer (mostly female deer) snort and stomp their feet to warn other deer, especially their young and other does they regularly associate with, of danger. Bucks tend to be a lot more selfish. They don’t care about other deer, and they would just as soon slip off silently or make a hasty but stealthy escape rather than draw attention to themselves.

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