Bowhunting & Archery News & Articles

Last Updated: Feb 22nd, 2007 - 18:37:03

What Deer See.
By Bob Humphrey
Nov 10, 2006, 11:01

Email this article
 Printer friendly page

    For deer hunters, especially bowhunters, being successful often comes down to overcoming the keen senses deer use to avoid danger.  Clothing and bows are now designed to be quieter than ever so the deer won't hear us.  We bathe, wash our clothes and spray ourselves with odor reducing chemicals, and wear odor suppressing suits so deer won't smell us.  And we wear the latest and greatest camouflage patterns so they won't see us.  Or will they?

    Dr. Karl Miller, a recognized deer researcher from the University of Georgia, has studied deer vision extensively.  According to the results of Miller's research, deer perceive color much as a human with red-green color blindness would.   Their color vision is poor in the longer wavelengths.  In light bright enough for color vision orange and red will be perceived by the deer as shades of dark yellow,

    They can however, detect colors in the middle wavelengths. Middle wavelengths like green will be perceived as yellow (The same as dichromatic (two-color) vision humans and see those colors in the shorter wavelengths (blue and purple) very well. An authority on Deer vision, Michael Jordan of Atsko said, "In our book "How Game Animals See" we say brighteners reradiate the UV energy into short blue (438 nm) very near to the deer's peak of sensitivity".

    So it seems as long as we wear camo with predominantly green, brown and yellow, or even orange, we should be okay, right?  Not necessarily. 

Look at the UV-Brighteners in this camo shirt. It is right off of the shelf from a sporting goods store. This is what a deer would see at dusk...a blue glowing hunter. To fix it, you must wash it in Atsko Sport-Wash then treat it with UV-Killer to cover up the glow. This popular camo will cost you $30 bucks in the store and 1 record book buck in the woods.

    Not only do deer see blue and purple very well, they see it much better than we do.  Furthermore, we often unwittingly expose ourselves to this strength. Deer must love us!

         Most laundry detergents and many of the dyes now used on camo clothing manufactured overseas contain fabric brighteners.  Essentially, these brighteners change the wave length of colors, brining them out of the ultraviolet range, which humans cannot see, into the blue range we humans can see, and right into the range where deer have the highest color sensitivity. Brighteners subtract energy in the UV range and reradiate that energy in the short blue.
    To them, we glow.  If you don't believe it, next time you buy a new camo suit, put it under a black light.  You'll be shocked. You'll think that your camo was designed for a disco. Incidentally, blaze orange is actually made from magenta and yellow.    The range of dominant wavelength of blaze orange (595-605nm) is not the problem and most new orange is between 603-605nm.  The problem is a brightness peak in the short blue range that can be eliminated with UV-Killer without loosing the brightness at 605nm.

The left is what we see when we look at this hunter.

           Fortunately, there's a cure: The U-V-Killer and Sport-Wash Combo Pack .  First wash your camo clothes thoroughly in Sport-Wash. Sport-Wash CAN NOT remove brighteners. No detergent can.  That is why we make UV-Killer to absorb the UV energy before it reaches the brighteners.
            Then, treat it with U-V Killer.  UV-Killer absorbs UV energy just like the brighteners the manufacturers add.  The difference is brighteners reradiate the energy at the peak of deer's sensitivity while UV-Killer reradiates it at longer wavelengths like red to which the deer has very little sensitivity and no contrast to all the other long wavelength colors. (Now all are perceived as shades of yellow.) A deer's natural world is seen as yellow. Now you're winning the concealment battle.

Go to ATSKO  for the glow solution

Editor's note: Granted it is challenging to understand all of this science. The short of it is UV brighteners are added by textile manufacturers and then enhanced by using detergents with brighteners. This all makes deer see us as glowing blue hunters.
Almost nothing else in the woods glows. Deer spot us because we glow to them in an unnatural blue hue. To fix the problem, first wash your camo in Sport Wash to open the dye sites and remove residue, then treat your camo once with UV Killer. After treated, wash only in Sport Wash.  The Blue Glow is why deer pick you off so easy. Fix it.
Are you Glowing? >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Wade Nolan

Need more great whitetail info


© Copyright 2005 by

Top of Page

Sticks N' Limbs Camouflage
Hunting Maps

The Bowhunting Netcenter

We invite you to visit some
of the other Netcenter web sites: