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Can Deer see Blaze Orange?

Firstly, Im not a deer vision specialist. However, the way deer see has always fascinated me. I'm the guy that buys every sort of new tech, toy or camo pattern to give me the edge on those sneaky critters. But I think I may have been wasting my money!

Most of the research has been done on Whitetail deer however Sika Fellow and Red deer are thought to be similar.

What you've gotta understand is that deer don't see what we see or how we see. They've evolved to see best in the low light of Feeding time, dawn and dusk. The rest of the day there vision isn't that great. They see blurry blobs! Rubbish! I hear you say.

(this guy stared at me for about 4 minutes from 20 m in broad daylight, only when I moved a fraction did he bolt)

Well, a deers retina has about 20 X more Rods (Low light Photoreceptor cells) and fewer Cones (Detail Photoreceptors) than ours. What the scientists have worked out is that deer observe movement and UV glow rather that detail. This explains why they know somethings not kosher and have disappeared before you get a glimpse of them and they will sometimes stare in your direction even if there is no possible way they could have seen you. They've seen the blob of UV glow and as soon as there is any movement they're gone! 

They see the greatest detail in the short wave Blue hues of the colour spectrum, so get rid of any  Purple, Blue, Light Grey gear you have. Reds and Orange they see worst, so yes! Get some Blaze Orange.

Evolution has perfected the forest floor scan with over a 300degree view around them thanks to eyes on the side of their head, so anything higher than that low horizontal plain gets missed. 

The thing that is most often missed when we are shopping for new gear is what its made of rather than its pretty patterns. Synthetics reflect UV light waay more than a natural fibre like wool. UV reflection will look like white flashes of light to them.

So, deer see things differently to us. If you really don't want Deer to "see" you. Don't worry so much about the camo patterns that look good to us, instead choose natural fibre gear like Merino or cotton that’s not at the Purple, Blue end of the spectrum and wash it with UV free cloths wash. Consider higher vantage points like tree stands or outcrops and stay as still as you possibly can.

As always take care out there!

Wade Hosie





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