Whitetails, especially does and fawns, sometimes communicate by bleating like a lamb or bawling like a calf. Bucks and mature does also snort, and a buck’s snort is often characterized by a kind of whinnying or whistling.
Very little communication among white-tailed deer is vocal, but they do vocalize more than most people realize and in a variety of ways. Adults or fawns may groan in complaint when they are restrained. Fawns may bleat to call their dams (mothers), and bucks occasionally bleat when chasing does during the rut.
The deer sound most commonly heard by people is the familiar snort and foot stamp when the animals are disturbed or frightened.
Whitetails are sensitive to sound and smell. Their large ears are constantly alert, and they depend on their acute sense of hearing to monitor the whereabouts and behaviors of other animals, including predators.
Their sense of smell also helps deer identify individuals. Individual recognition occurs in through scents produced as tarsal pheromones.
Smell attracts whitetails to food. If food smells good, the deer taste it. If it tastes good, they eat it. The senses of smell and taste enable deer to detect differences in palatability of forage.
Smell is also what attracts white-tailed bucks to does in heat.