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Q:
do deer see color? because i was hunting and i looked at a deer and it went tail up but i put my head down and it went back to grazing. So do they see color or do they see patterns? in the difference?

Question by whitetailkj. Uploaded on December 06, 2009

Answers (15)

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from huntnow wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

deer see in shades of yellow and can also see blue which is why the uv blocker is a gold mine.

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from mihunter wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

yup they see yellow an blue so blue jeans are a no go. they cannot see blaze orange. so as long as you stay still and break up your outline you are good.

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from whitetailkj wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

thanks

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Yep, that blaze orange is like a ball of fire in the woods. I once worked on a survey crew with a guy who was stone color blind. He couldn't see the red flags we used on a beach for a bridge survey but had absolutely no problem seeing the pink flourescent ribbon. That's how he described it - "a ball of fire." Yes, DO NOT stand out in the open with that hunter orange junk on. And if you see something in the brush, you better not move if you can help it.

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from whitetailkj wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

so are you saying they can see orange? because i hunt private property with a bow so no orange needed

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from kolbster wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

deer cannot i repeat CANNOT see blaze orange, they can see UV colors thats why you wash your cloths in UV blockers.

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from HuskyKMA wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Deer cannot see blaze orange. Their eyesight is biased towards the UV/Violet/Blue/Green end of the spectrum and they can also see some yellow. The cones in their eyes are not sufficient for seeing longer wavelengths (e.g. orange and red). The only thing bad about blaze orange could be is if you wear the solid stuff you could appear as an unnatural blob. I prefer the patterned blaze orange so that it helps break up your outline more.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v458/NorthernPride24241/Ross%20Bow%20P...

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v458/NorthernPride24241/Ross%20Bow%20P...

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

You guys are missing the point. It's not the COLOR that deer see. It's the blinding brightness of blaze orange. If you're hunting after a snowstorm with the trees all covered it might be harder for them to see you. But if you're out hunting in typical fall colors you just as well be walking around with a white sheet on if you're wearing blaze orange (though a sheet would not be nearly as bright). The deer will not see me if I'm walking around in the bush when I'm wearing my red mackinaw. Nor would they be able to see me if I was wearing my orange hawaiian print shirt. But they CAN see that glo-orange crap because it contrasts so drastically with the background colors/shades of the woods. Heck, I'm not sure Helen Keller couldn't have seen blaze orange!

And yes, in almost all jurisdictions you are allowed to wear regular brown/green camo during bow season. And the reasoning is obvious: otherwise it would be almost impossible to get close enough for a shot. Duh!

-2 Good Comment? | | Report
from deerslayer1234 wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

I don't think camo matters as much as some people think. One of my uncle's friends wears a carhart jacket and jeans and he gets the best deer out of everybody in our groups.

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from MLH wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

No one knows for sure what deer can and cannot see. Until only recently researchers thought deer only saw in black and white - various shades of gray like watching a B&W TV. They now that deer have both rods and cones (though many more times the rods) so they do see some colors, but best at dawn or dusk when the light balance is better. During the day, with bright light, not so sure. Also reporting that they might see in certain UV spectrums. Good thing they don't see infared ... or do they?

I've stood or sat right in front of deer with blaze orange, hi-viz yellow, and blue jeans on and they don't seem to mind, low light and mid-day ... as long as I don't move.

Perhaps the only things that are known for sure about deer vision are that they can see better than humans in low light and are very, very adept at picking up movement.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from alcoluhuntin wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

The biggest thing is to be still if you dont move at all they wont see you

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from BioGuy wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

They pay more attention to movement than the do color. I've worn just about every color clothing I can think of in the woods and had deer walk right by within a few feet and not even pay attention to me, but I was VERY still.

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from codyboyd wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

they can see blue but every thing else is black and white. blaze orage is a grey or a white to them. if you want to see what a deer sees, take a picture and convert it to black and white. thats what they see.

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from RWNewhouse wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

When I wrote an article for the July/Aug. 2009 issue of Bugle Magazine (Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation), I interviewed Dr. Jay Neitz, "the" expert on ungulate vision with over 20 years of experience in the subject.

In summary, this is what he says on the matter:

-Ungulates are dichromatic, meaning they only see in yellow and blue (along with black, white and shades of gray). Humans are trichromatic, so we also see red.

-To ungulates, blaze-orange is gray, so it's better to break up the pattern with "leafy" blaze-orange.

-Ungulates see the blue end of the spectrum 1000x better than humans, and that's why they pick up on UV so easily (and why companies sell UV blockers!).

-Ungulates are also more sensitive to changes in coarser patterns, which is why they can easily pick up on an encroaching predator on the horizon.

You'll have to read the whole article to find out more neat facts, like what I mean by saying humans are better at seeing naked women and elk are better at seeing Abraham Lincoln!

-Please visit my blog, Cooked Animals: Recipes for Wild Game - http://www.cookedanimals.blogspot.com

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from blackdawgz wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

Deer do not have the "cone" receptors necessary for color vision. They respond to light levels. Their scene-analysis algorithms put up a red flag when they detect something that does not appear in nature.

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from badgerbowboy wrote 4 years 7 weeks ago

I've been shooting archery for the past 6 years and I'm now at hunting age the only problem is my bow is red but everything else works what should I do besides get it painted?

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from Stillhunter76 wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

I see this is quite old, but I would like to share my experience. I was hunting blacktails in Oregon while playing the thermals one morning in the Siskyou Mt where I came to within 15ft of a doe and a spike. I was stillhunting a spur road looking downhill and they seem to appear to me from nowhere; I was wearing a fullsize camo pattern orange vest. I think the doe saw something but I was frozen and she never spooked. They actually bedded down right in front of me. My vest was mossy oak break-up orange. It really breaks up the vest outline.

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from mihunter wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

yup they see yellow an blue so blue jeans are a no go. they cannot see blaze orange. so as long as you stay still and break up your outline you are good.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from kolbster wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

deer cannot i repeat CANNOT see blaze orange, they can see UV colors thats why you wash your cloths in UV blockers.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from HuskyKMA wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Deer cannot see blaze orange. Their eyesight is biased towards the UV/Violet/Blue/Green end of the spectrum and they can also see some yellow. The cones in their eyes are not sufficient for seeing longer wavelengths (e.g. orange and red). The only thing bad about blaze orange could be is if you wear the solid stuff you could appear as an unnatural blob. I prefer the patterned blaze orange so that it helps break up your outline more.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v458/NorthernPride24241/Ross%20Bow%20P...

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v458/NorthernPride24241/Ross%20Bow%20P...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

No one knows for sure what deer can and cannot see. Until only recently researchers thought deer only saw in black and white - various shades of gray like watching a B&W TV. They now that deer have both rods and cones (though many more times the rods) so they do see some colors, but best at dawn or dusk when the light balance is better. During the day, with bright light, not so sure. Also reporting that they might see in certain UV spectrums. Good thing they don't see infared ... or do they?

I've stood or sat right in front of deer with blaze orange, hi-viz yellow, and blue jeans on and they don't seem to mind, low light and mid-day ... as long as I don't move.

Perhaps the only things that are known for sure about deer vision are that they can see better than humans in low light and are very, very adept at picking up movement.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from alcoluhuntin wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

The biggest thing is to be still if you dont move at all they wont see you

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from BioGuy wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

They pay more attention to movement than the do color. I've worn just about every color clothing I can think of in the woods and had deer walk right by within a few feet and not even pay attention to me, but I was VERY still.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from RWNewhouse wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

When I wrote an article for the July/Aug. 2009 issue of Bugle Magazine (Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation), I interviewed Dr. Jay Neitz, "the" expert on ungulate vision with over 20 years of experience in the subject.

In summary, this is what he says on the matter:

-Ungulates are dichromatic, meaning they only see in yellow and blue (along with black, white and shades of gray). Humans are trichromatic, so we also see red.

-To ungulates, blaze-orange is gray, so it's better to break up the pattern with "leafy" blaze-orange.

-Ungulates see the blue end of the spectrum 1000x better than humans, and that's why they pick up on UV so easily (and why companies sell UV blockers!).

-Ungulates are also more sensitive to changes in coarser patterns, which is why they can easily pick up on an encroaching predator on the horizon.

You'll have to read the whole article to find out more neat facts, like what I mean by saying humans are better at seeing naked women and elk are better at seeing Abraham Lincoln!

-Please visit my blog, Cooked Animals: Recipes for Wild Game - http://www.cookedanimals.blogspot.com

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from huntnow wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

deer see in shades of yellow and can also see blue which is why the uv blocker is a gold mine.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from whitetailkj wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

thanks

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from whitetailkj wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

so are you saying they can see orange? because i hunt private property with a bow so no orange needed

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from deerslayer1234 wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

I don't think camo matters as much as some people think. One of my uncle's friends wears a carhart jacket and jeans and he gets the best deer out of everybody in our groups.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from codyboyd wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

they can see blue but every thing else is black and white. blaze orage is a grey or a white to them. if you want to see what a deer sees, take a picture and convert it to black and white. thats what they see.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from blackdawgz wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

Deer do not have the "cone" receptors necessary for color vision. They respond to light levels. Their scene-analysis algorithms put up a red flag when they detect something that does not appear in nature.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from badgerbowboy wrote 4 years 7 weeks ago

I've been shooting archery for the past 6 years and I'm now at hunting age the only problem is my bow is red but everything else works what should I do besides get it painted?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Stillhunter76 wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

I see this is quite old, but I would like to share my experience. I was hunting blacktails in Oregon while playing the thermals one morning in the Siskyou Mt where I came to within 15ft of a doe and a spike. I was stillhunting a spur road looking downhill and they seem to appear to me from nowhere; I was wearing a fullsize camo pattern orange vest. I think the doe saw something but I was frozen and she never spooked. They actually bedded down right in front of me. My vest was mossy oak break-up orange. It really breaks up the vest outline.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

You guys are missing the point. It's not the COLOR that deer see. It's the blinding brightness of blaze orange. If you're hunting after a snowstorm with the trees all covered it might be harder for them to see you. But if you're out hunting in typical fall colors you just as well be walking around with a white sheet on if you're wearing blaze orange (though a sheet would not be nearly as bright). The deer will not see me if I'm walking around in the bush when I'm wearing my red mackinaw. Nor would they be able to see me if I was wearing my orange hawaiian print shirt. But they CAN see that glo-orange crap because it contrasts so drastically with the background colors/shades of the woods. Heck, I'm not sure Helen Keller couldn't have seen blaze orange!

And yes, in almost all jurisdictions you are allowed to wear regular brown/green camo during bow season. And the reasoning is obvious: otherwise it would be almost impossible to get close enough for a shot. Duh!

-2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Yep, that blaze orange is like a ball of fire in the woods. I once worked on a survey crew with a guy who was stone color blind. He couldn't see the red flags we used on a beach for a bridge survey but had absolutely no problem seeing the pink flourescent ribbon. That's how he described it - "a ball of fire." Yes, DO NOT stand out in the open with that hunter orange junk on. And if you see something in the brush, you better not move if you can help it.

-3 Good Comment? | | Report

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