Whitetail deer behavior

Dave King

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2001
Anyone observed this in deer?

I have shot quite a few deer which dropped on the spot or walked a short distance and died and on several occasions I've had other deer walk up to the deceased deer and begin licking the wound. On one occasion two deer began this licking behavior (I believe they were a sibling and the mother of the dead deer). Every once in a while the deer doing the licking will change posture and go into a flehmen like posture and then resure licking.

Upon retrieval of these deer they were licked clean on the exposed side.
Dave,I shot a large 6 point at about 80 yard's a few year's back that was chasing a hot doe.After he went down,another deer(a small buck)chasing the same doe.Ran up to the six point and stomped on him,and gave him a few jab's with his horn's.And took off after the doe...He never even looked at me...I was standing out in the middle of a open field at the time.....I guess LOVE REALLY IS BLIND....

I'm reasonably sure I might have done the same thing a few times when I was in high school, I do recall a couple serious fights close to prom.

I had something similar happen to me this past season.

I hit a 7 pointer 2 out of 3 times @ 225 yds with a 338 WSM.

The deer didn't drop. He twitched his tail and walked away. I thought I missed, but couldn't figureout how I would have missed - standing broadside.

I went out and looked for blood (where I thought I was shooting) and didn't find a thing - that's cause I was looking at ~175 yards and not the 225 yard mark.

About 1 hour later, my buddy came crashing thru the woods on his quad and started pushing all kinds of deer to me. I watched 1 doe run by, she did a 180°, and started stalking something. Ears back & head down. By then, I was on 20x trying to figureout what was going on and trying to decide if I was going to drop the hammer on her. I could tell she was smelling something because, thru the scope, I could see the steam coming out of her snout.

I called my buddy on the Talkabout and asked, "can a deer smell a dead deer?" He said he'd seen it on a hunt in NC. I said, "I have a doe acting really strange out where I shot." I told him to walk into my shooting area, and that I'd stop him in the line where I shot and where the doe was.

Sure enough, the 7 pointer was dead in line where I shot, just 50 yards further back.
A few years ago, I was working for a neighbor on his hog farm on the last day of season. I had two doe tags left in my pocket, and I thought I'd have an hour left to hunt when I got done. The hogs didn't cooperate, and I walked out with only about 20 minutes of shooting light left. Just as I got to the trunk thinking I needed to throw away the tags, I looked over into the Alfalfa field to the West. There stood 7 does feeding. I picked up the Contender with the scoped .44 ( you can't shoot Rifles for deer in Indiana ) walked to the nearest fence post for a rest and Dropped the biggest one at 175 yards. Several of the deer scurried about, none went very far. Two of the biggest ones just stood there. Looking at their fallen sister, then over towards me. They seemed confused, but were unconcerned with me at that distance because they knew I had nothing to do with it. They walked up to the fallen doe, sniffing her and looking back towards me. I filled my second tag not five feet from the first. The other doe stood close by the first two until I drove out to load them. I really don't think she understood the noise I had made with the .44
I had a similar experience, had a doe tag so I sneaked into position for a shot - wanted some meat. Two does bedded down by a creek, they had no idea I was out there. Shot one in the throat-patch with the mighty .308. Other doe jumped up, ran a short distance, then came back, sniffed the dead one and bedded down right beside her.

Another time on a depredation tag I shot a hot doe, buck was tending very close. He stayed with her right until we drove the truck within maybe 40 yards. He wasn't big enough or he might have gone down instead of her as we also had regular tags.

Once drove into a buffalo paddock, pretty tame bunch of Wood Bison - huge suckers. Had fresh antelope blood on the tailgate and bumper of the pickup. The **** buffalo had that truck rocking as they licked all the blood off. Something about it they sure liked.
Not exactly along the same story line, but I thought strange just the same --- A few years ago a friend of mine was walking arcoss a pasture just at dark from a late evening deer hunt and was attacked and unfortunately killed by a bull (bovine). He was wearing a liberal amount of a popular doe-in-heat scent. A few weeks after that incident, I was in a pasture (a different place and in a truck) and squirted some of the same kind of doe-in-heat scent out the window at a gruop of cows which had gathered around the truck, and they immediately began blowing and pawing and thrashing up against the truck. I won't do that again.
I raise whitetail deer and observe them frequently licking another deer's wound. They routinely lick and groom one another. It is part of there social order. Particularly does who have given birth before will attend to younger deer.
Simillar situation in Wyoming on Antelope hunt. Hit a good buck. The whole herd took off except for one doe who stayed with this buck. He would lay down and she would nudge him when I started to get too close, and he'd get up and go on. Always stayed just out of sight or behind something. Finally got to the end of the draw and fortunatly got to finish what I started. It was really amazing to watch that.
I went hunting moose in Northern Ontario. I was driving my Chevy black truck and parked near the hillside. I decided to sit inside of the truck and read novel books. Then I saw a cow moose walking up to the hillside which is 250 yards away. I got out of the truck and fired at her. She stopped and stared at me then start walking a little more and I fired again. (I was shaking too much and inexperience). The cow moose stopped again and stared at me again. Actually the cow moose was staring at my black truck and thought it must be another moose trying to call her by calling "BANG!" I guess she heard strange sound that she never heard it before and continuing walking over the hillside and into the woods.

300 Tomahawkallthewaaay
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