A team of researchers at the University of Georgia put does and bucks in sound chambers and monitored their brainwaves to see how the animals responded to different sounds and frequencies. The one big finding that surprised me:
Deer do not hear much better than we do. Studies have found that a healthy human can hear from 20 to 20,000 hertz, with your best and most sensitive range from 2,000 to 5,000 hertz. The researchers found that deer hear best at moderate frequencies of 3,000 to 8,000 hertz. To put some perspective on it, both our normal speech and most deer vocalizations fall within these frequency ranges. So while deer generally vocalize at lower frequencies than we talk, they hear similarly.
So, unless you stomp and tromp through the woods on a stalk or en route to your stand, you shouldn't spook many if any deer. Staying downwind of the animals and hidden from their sharp eyes is more important than worrying about little sounds you make.
BTW, did you know that deer raise, tip and roll their ears like little satellite dishes to pick up and pinpoint sounds?
(photo credit: Luke Strommen)