Q&A: Is it bad to make noise while walking through the woods when deer hunting?

by Gord Ellis | August 15, 2013

noise - Three whitetail bucks fighting in a field

Question: Deer can be noisy when they walk in leaves and fight. Is it bad if I make noise while walking through the woods when deer hunting?

Answer: This is an interesting question. I’d say in almost all situations, making as little noise as possible when walking to a stand or stalking deer is the right thing to do. The simple fact is deer are hyper alert when it comes to noise, and if they hear sudden loud sounds, odds are they will make a hasty retreat.

However, several experiences have shown me the curious nature of deer can make them come to noise.

Two different times, while extracting a harvested deer from the woods, I’ve had white-tailed bucks approach. In one of those incidences, an ATV was involved. These buck were young and in the rut, but they were absolutely attracted to the crack of wood and other noise. Both animals came within 50 feet of me.

One other time, while following large buck tracks in snow, I got caught up in thick brush and couldn’t help but break some sticks and make a bit more noise than I wanted to. In the cold morning air, those sounds carried a long way. It was a shock to suddenly hear a large snort behind me. I turned to see a huge buck bounding off through the woods. Backtracking, I could see the buck had quietly walked right to me. It was drawn to my noise.

Still, my preference is to be as quiet as possible. The only noises I purposely make when deer hunting are with calls or rattling antlers.

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