Many hunters, mostly beginners, overlook the factor of deer eyesight. While deer are known to possess a brilliant sense of smell, they have amazing eyesight too. But, what colors can deer see? The game animals are able to see the shades blue well but encounter difficulty in seeing shades of green and red.
Deers are not color blind but lack ultraviolet filters in their eyes due to which they are unable to see certain colors. Human vision differs from deer vision in many ways and the foremost reason is the presence of UV filters in humans.
Because several hunters are unaware of what colors can deer see, they don’t get the hunting gears in the right colors. Imagine getting a brand new hunting suit that you think deer cannot see but they can actually spot from a safe distance. If you like wearing colored suits while hunting, you are showcasing yourself to the bucks. However, sometimes camouflage suits can also fail from escaping deer’s sight.
Using data from different studies and research, we were able to find out what do deer see. Make sure you understand all the important factors and plan accordingly to hamper success while hunting.
Deer Eyesight – What Colors Can Deer See?
Bucks have larger eyes than their fellow mammals but have poorer focal movement due to the positioning of eyes. Speaking of its vision, as per the standard eye exam, a deer has a 20/100 vision. It indicates that an image deer see at a distance of 20 feet is the image that someone with normal vision sees at a distance of 100 feet. That is how well deer can see.
All living beings with eyes have rods and cones with various photoreceptors in the cones. These photoreceptors or photopigments are responsible for color sensitivity. Whereas rods enable the bucks to see low light as they have a light-sensitive pigment. As per the anatomical studies, deer possess a higher number of rods than cones in the retina of their eyes.
Deer have dichromatic color vision because their eyes only contain two types of photopigments. According to scientists, deer can primarily see blue light with a short wavelength and a medium wavelength.
When it comes to what colors do deer see best, these include the shades of blue and yellow. However, bucks can see blue color the best. There are several colors that come on the spectrum of blue and yellow.
In topographic land structures, there are many colors and variations. In deer’s home, a hunters must know how to read topo maps for deer hunting. Therefore, just like hunters focus on suit and gear color, he/she must be able to read topographic maps to understand deer grounds.
Some Common Questions Regarding What Colors Can Deer See?
1. Can Deer See Orange Jacket?
Due to the absence of UV filters in deer’s eyes, they are unable to perceive colors with high wavelengths. Orange color is among the ones having higher wavelengths. That said, bucks won’t be able to see the original orange color, instead, they’d see it as a gray color. Blaze orange camo jackets are immensely popular among hunters because deers are unable to detect their predators.
2. Can Deer See Blue Jeans?
Yes, due to the small wavelength of the color blue, deer can clearly see you wearing blue jeans. Whether you are new to this adventure or an expert, if you don’t pay attention to the colors, you can spook a deer. So, make sure you get your hunting bag or gear covers without a touch of blue. Also, look for the hunting attires that come with colors that bucks can’t distinguish.
3. Can Deer See White, Gray, and Black Color?
Yes, deers can see white color pretty clearly therefore, if you plan on wearing a white camo, do it in the winters. This will help you blend in the snow so that you don’t lose your target by scaring it away. Researchers from Wyoming stated that white color is fairly visible to deers because of their sensitivity to short wavelengths.
Bucks are not only able to see gray color but can also distinguish between its light and dark shades. When it comes to the color black, deers do see it but cannot distinguish it as a dark shade. This is because their eyes perceive the maximum low light from the surroundings. That being said, it is safe for the hunters to wear black camo or use black hunting gear covers and bags.
4. Can Deer See Green and Red Light?
Since green and red colors have higher wavelengths, deers are unable to see these. Whether it is in your hunting suit or a light, bucks won’t be able to distinguish it. Do you wonder what colors can deer not see except for green and red? Remember that all the colors having higher wavelengths can’t be recognized by these animals. Some of these colors include green, red, yellow, and orange.
5. Can Deer See UV and Infrared Light?
According to a behavioral study from the University of Georgia Warnell School of Forest Resources, researchers have verified that deer perceive ultraviolet-powered brighteners significantly more clearly than humans do.
Bucks are substantially less likely to be startled by infrared trail cameras than by white flash because they are unable to see infrared light well.
6. Can Deer See Flashlights That Hunters Use?
The query is quite absurd because it looks as if you are wondering if deers can see sunlight or not. So, yes, these animals can see the flashlights hunters use.
The best light used for deer hunting mostly emits red or green flashes and deer can’t see either of these. Therefore, it makes no difference what color lights your flashlights emit.
Typically, deer mistake distinguishing light colors for shades of grey. A similar technology is used in best budget rangefinder to limit deer from seeing hunters.
7. What Colors Do Elk See?
Elks see exactly what colors can deer see because they too are dichromatic. These deer relatives can only perceive blue and yellow colors due to their minimum wavelengths. However, they are unable to interpret spectrums from red, green, and orange.
8. Can Whitetail Deer See Red Light?
No, whitetail deers also lack the ability to see high wavelength colors hence, can’t see red light. Nevertheless, they can differentiate between blue and red but not orange or green from red.
Can Deer See At Night?
Because of the greater concentration of rods, deer vision at night is tremendous. They have tapetum lucidum, a tissue present in the eye which makes their eyes shine in the dark. This layer of tissue also magnifies the light for bucks at night.
How Well Do Deer See At Night?
During nighttime conditions, deers have the ability to see as far as 100 to 150 yds. away. Slight differences in the distance can occur based on the surrounding light sources and the time of year. For example, the nighttime distance of deer’s sight could increase up to 200 yds. when there is a full moon.
What Colors Do Deer Eyes Reflect At Night?
Typically, a game animal’s eyes would reflect white at night. However, if you throw a flashlight at it, the eyes would reflect as green or red.
Deer Vision Vs Human Vision
According to researchers from the University of Georgia, bucks have dichromatic color vision whereas humans have trichromatic color vision. As mentioned earlier, deers only have two photopigments hence, aren’t able to see colors with higher wavelengths. On the other hand, humans have three photopigments, allowing them to see a wider color spectrum including red and orange.
In addition to this, deers have an impeccable range of view, that too because of wider eyes and their position. These animals can see with a 310 degrees range whereas, humans have a range of 180 degrees. This helps the bucks to see what’s around them in a better way. Despite a wide range of views, deer are unfortunate enough to have poor focal movement hence, they don’t see objects as clearly as humans do.
For all the hunters, what colors can deer see is an essential thing to understand. All the aforementioned information indicates that hunters shouldn’t wear anything blue. A lot of white in camouflage should also be avoided because it reflects all colors, including blue.
To avoid being discovered, wear camouflage that disrupts your silhouette and move as little as possible. A hunter wearing camouflage with subtle hues of green or brown will appear as a single large blob to deers since they have poor color vision.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
As mentioned earlier, deer have a 20/100 vision which cannot be called good. Despite their wide range of view, bucks are unable to see distant objects with clarity.
The study by Wyoming researchers suggests that the game animals are afraid of the white color because of some UV components present in it.
It is important to invest in the best color light for night hunting. For that, I’d suggest my three top favorites. These include Brinyte T28 Hunting Light and CYANSKY H3 Long Range Hunting Light.