We have investigated the growth of AlN layers on bulk AlN substrates by modulated precursor flow epitaxial growth using metal-organic and hydride precursors as well as by conventional metal-organic chemical vapor deposition growth. A nanopit-containing morphology was observed for an AlN layer grown by conventional growth, while atomically smooth and pit-free surface was achieved for an AlN layer created by modulated precursor flow epitaxial growth. For similar growth set-point temperatures, nanopit-free surfaces were observed for AlN layers created by conventional growth on sapphire substrates. This is believed to be due to the difference in the temperature of the growing surface, as evidenced by finite element method thermal profiling and the morphology change of the AlN layer with decreasing temperature observed for growth of AlN on sapphire substrates. The AlN layers grown by modulated precursor flow epitaxial growth on the AlN bulk substrates also have excellent crystalline qualities with narrow x-ray rocking curve peak linewidths of 36 and 61arcsec for the (002) and (102) diffraction conditions, respectively.