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Thread: Do some deer suffer from hearing loss?

  1. #1

    Do some deer suffer from hearing loss?

    Had a couple of hours to kill the other evening and wanted to re zero my 270 20 inch barrel stutzen. So after dropping of my daughter at her dance school I set off to run a few rounds through. Now its not a very quiet rifle as you can imagine and it's recoil an acquired taste but I like the challenge. So after driving into the field, walking to the middle to set up the target and back to set up the shooting point, I let fly a 3 shot group. Walked to the center of the field and inspected the target. OK first group but 4 inch low and 1 inch left. Back to the firing point and after adjustment two rounds confirmed zero just above centre of target.
    Now there was about 40 minutes of light left so after packing up I decided to have a look at what the keeper had been doing cutting beaters paths through the wood on the opposite side of the field. Might make stalking easier through the dense wood I thought. So off I set across the open field and just past the point I had the target I saw with some surprise a roe doe about 100m from me happily grazing away. She had ignored me walking back and forth plus 5 very load shots in her direction from about 250m away. True there was a slight rise making a back stop but goes to show that deer do not always take that much notice of a shot or 5 unmoderated.

  2. #2
    I don't think they mind loud noises when they can identify the source or if it's something that they are used to (traffic, quad etc)... it's the almost imperceptible snap of a twig behind them which they don't like!

    It's like the old addage about them just standing and watching the bobble hat and pac-a-mac brigade tramping through a field with maps and compasses.... but catch a glimpse of you or I sneaking along a hedgerow, rifle in hand and they are off!

  3. #3
    I once spent an entire morning zeroing and practicing with a .243 and a .308, both unmoderated. Walking back to the car, I bumped into a roe buck and doe, not much more 100m from where I'd been, just round the corner of a forestry block. They were utterly oblivious - I was able to put down all my gear, get the .243 out of its slip and shoot the buck.

    I think they'd just habituated to the regular bangs as the morning wore on. There had also been some road building along the edge of that forestry the week before, so were probably used to movement and noise.

    As for not reacting to ramblers etc - I think I probably shoot at least a third of my roe when I've given up for the morning and I'm tramping home without any effort at stealth at all.

  4. #4
    I can say without doubt and with 100% certainty that ALL of the deer I have shot have suffered from hearing loss


  5. #5
    the Doe was undoubtedly hoping you would go to the target and leave a loaded rifle behind so she could teach you a lesson..LOL

  6. #6
    The doe may have seen you shooting the target and thought, with shooting like that you will be no

  7. #7
    A few months back I saw doe and two kids in an adjoining field, I shot a Fox and then about 30 mins later shot another Fox whilst in direct sight of the doe and kids and they just looked at me for a couple of seconds then continued browsing. Didn't seem bothered at all.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by howy308 View Post
    The doe may have seen you shooting the target and thought, with shooting like that you will be no
    Yeah you might have the answer. Knew it was that simple.


  9. #9
    I've mentioned this before but I think the way in which deer use their hearing is actually different from how we seem to imagine it. My feeling, which I expressed some years back, is that the sika deer I stalk most seem to use their hearing for "close" threats and so they tend to ignore most information coming from their ears if it is believed to be further away. It is also the case that their hearing is highly directional and while this is useful to them in many ways it also means that if they are not directing their attention to you then you can get away with a lot when stalking in to them.

    If you watch a deer that has seen you it will often be the case that its ears are pointing elsewhere - I suspect that they are trying to detect other nearby threats while it tries to work out what danger you present. This allows the deer to concentrate eyes and nose on you safe in the knowledge that it can't hear any other nearby threats. Sound will travel around corners and against the wind and that must be a driver in how this works.

    I am of the view that sika eyesight is much, much better adapted to seeing threats than we commonly believe and I've had them see me at the most amazing distances. I suspect that sika use their eyes and nose for "outer perimeter" threats with the ears designed for much closer work.
    For self catering accommodation on the Isle of Lewis please visit:

  10. #10
    I was surveying a pine forest in Inveroykel wood, where there is hardly any noise or human presence, apart from a odd farmer's car passing by. The animals are very weary of humans and when they see you, they run like hell. But not all of them...
    this one day, mid-May, i was traversing through the forest spraying dots and numbers on trees, singing, tripping on branches and generally making a heap of noise. While setting up a sample plot i lost gps signal and had to restart the unit and wait a minute to reconnect. whilst standing there, i had a feeling something is staring at me... and sure enough, two roes (mother and maybe 1yr old kid) were standing 80m on a rack just watching me. i thought "wow, nice" and assumed that as soon as i move they will run away, so i didn't even bother with them. I continued with my work, marking trees in a 6m radius circle, when i realised those two deer are only 30m away from me, watching carefully what i was doing (walking around spraying and waving a caliper, making beeping noises and breaking branches). And not only that! they were circling around me, occasionally nibbling on a grass. One of them came as close as 15m while i was writing stuff on a clipboard. I said "hello deer" and they both ran away, but within 10mins tey were back, keeping a distance of 30m at all times. I kept working, setting up sample plots and they kept following me for over 2 hours, incresingly losing fear of me and just walking behind me and eating plants, to the point where they would not start munching on grass until i stopped walking and started spraying trees hahaa it was sooooo bizzare! they eventually wandered away once i reached a windblown patch of that forest. this wasn't the only time the deer were not scared or even interested enough to investigate this "anomaly".
    I often go walking in forests to do some wildlife photography and quite often am able to see deer litterally backing off slowly in an orderly fashion, with no unnecessary drama.

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