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Four Ways to Protect Your Night Vision

Your eyes manufacture a chemical called visual purple that supports vision in low-light situations. The more visual purple in your retinas, the better you can see game in the gloriously dim light of the first and last minutes of the day. Here’s how to protect your night vision and tip the visual odds in your favor.


Photo by Dusan Smetana

1: Purple Preserve
Walk in the dark as much as you can. Clear trails of overhanging brush beforehand, and take your time getting to your stand. Once you get used to walking to a stand in the dark, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is.

2: Sun Block
Always make a note of where the sun will rise or set before setting your stand, just like you check wind direction, and position it accordingly. Looking east from a field-edge stand on a cloudless morning is miserable.

3: Log In
One Michigan deer hunter told me he always places a freshly skinned birch log horizontally at the end of his shooting lanes. A quick glance reveals if a deer is in the lane, silhouetted against the log.

4: Cap Off
To boost vision at sunrise and sunset, remove your billed hunting cap to maximize the amount of ambient light your eyes can work with. Also, avoid using a flashlight or headlamp whenever possible.

 

Comments (10)

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from T3climbr wrote 31 weeks 1 day ago

Sorry, but taking off your cap does not help.

Low light is low light, and the only light that helps with sight is light that is focused on the retina.

Taking off a cap does not provide more light on what ever you are trying to see, and you can only see something that reflects light back at you (however slight that amount of light may be).

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Buddy Parrish wrote 31 weeks 1 day ago

There's one in every crowd.......

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from Roger Sullivan wrote 31 weeks 1 day ago

when looking at an object at low light we were instructed in the Navy to look just above the object you'r wanting to see and it will appear more in focus, and for some reason you can see the object better, I don't know how it works but try it and see what you think..don't look direct at the object but just above it a little I know that we were told why it works but I can't remember, it been a while back since those days..LOL...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Frederic Steven... wrote 31 weeks 1 day ago

Roger, it has something to do with how the light hits your eyes and the information is then transmitted to your brain. It's the same reason why you can see the Andromeda galaxy by looking at it the same way.

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from Gary Devine wrote 31 weeks 1 day ago

Why do you need to see in low light?

In most states it is against the law to shoot in low-light.

Going to and from your tree stand you better use flashlight so another hunter shoot you by mistake.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from aussiemate14 wrote 31 weeks 1 day ago

If you have to use a flashlight, use one with a red lense; this will prevent your eyes from losing their "night vision" as opposed to a regular white light that will damage your night vision. Learned this one in Air Force survival school, works pretty well. I also wait 20 minutes in the truck with the lights off to let my eyes adjust to the low light before heading out. It makes a huge difference.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from tleichty1989 wrote 31 weeks 18 hours ago

One thing that I taught the kids when I was a camp counselor is to train your eyes to never need a flashlight use the information around you and develop night vision the longer you hold out on using a flashlight. If someone has to use a flashlight only one person should turn it on and only for a short period of time.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from conphoto wrote 30 weeks 6 days ago

Don't look directly at the object you want to focus on in poor light. Use peripheral vision as the center of your vision is populated with cones which see in color and the peripheral vision has more rods(black and white). If you try to focus directly on something in dark/poor light you are using your color vision. As colors fade in poor light your centrally focused vision consequently fades also.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Argosinu wrote 30 weeks 1 day ago

Peripheral vision helps you see in the dark because of the rods/cones. However, I cannot aim a rifle using peripheral vision.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jason C Joice wrote 20 weeks 3 days ago

Suggesting that someone take off their billed cap to improve their low light vision is one of the most ridiculous suggestions I've ever heard. At sunrise and sunset, the sky is always going to be brighter than the animals you are trying to see within the darkened woods. It does allow more ambient light into your eyes, but this only has the effect of ruining your low light/night vision. Your eyes adjust to the overall light they are exposed to, therefore they are adjusted to a medium amount of light (dark landscape and bright sky) yet you are trying to see the darkened landscape. You actually should pull your cap low and keep your head down. Never exposing your eyes to the brighter sky. This will keep your eyes maximally dilated and your retinas maximally sensitive to the low amount of light that's coming off of what you're trying to see, i.e. game animals.

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Post a Comment

from T3climbr wrote 31 weeks 1 day ago

Sorry, but taking off your cap does not help.

Low light is low light, and the only light that helps with sight is light that is focused on the retina.

Taking off a cap does not provide more light on what ever you are trying to see, and you can only see something that reflects light back at you (however slight that amount of light may be).

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Roger Sullivan wrote 31 weeks 1 day ago

when looking at an object at low light we were instructed in the Navy to look just above the object you'r wanting to see and it will appear more in focus, and for some reason you can see the object better, I don't know how it works but try it and see what you think..don't look direct at the object but just above it a little I know that we were told why it works but I can't remember, it been a while back since those days..LOL...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from aussiemate14 wrote 31 weeks 1 day ago

If you have to use a flashlight, use one with a red lense; this will prevent your eyes from losing their "night vision" as opposed to a regular white light that will damage your night vision. Learned this one in Air Force survival school, works pretty well. I also wait 20 minutes in the truck with the lights off to let my eyes adjust to the low light before heading out. It makes a huge difference.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from conphoto wrote 30 weeks 6 days ago

Don't look directly at the object you want to focus on in poor light. Use peripheral vision as the center of your vision is populated with cones which see in color and the peripheral vision has more rods(black and white). If you try to focus directly on something in dark/poor light you are using your color vision. As colors fade in poor light your centrally focused vision consequently fades also.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Buddy Parrish wrote 31 weeks 1 day ago

There's one in every crowd.......

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Frederic Steven... wrote 31 weeks 1 day ago

Roger, it has something to do with how the light hits your eyes and the information is then transmitted to your brain. It's the same reason why you can see the Andromeda galaxy by looking at it the same way.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gary Devine wrote 31 weeks 1 day ago

Why do you need to see in low light?

In most states it is against the law to shoot in low-light.

Going to and from your tree stand you better use flashlight so another hunter shoot you by mistake.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tleichty1989 wrote 31 weeks 18 hours ago

One thing that I taught the kids when I was a camp counselor is to train your eyes to never need a flashlight use the information around you and develop night vision the longer you hold out on using a flashlight. If someone has to use a flashlight only one person should turn it on and only for a short period of time.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Argosinu wrote 30 weeks 1 day ago

Peripheral vision helps you see in the dark because of the rods/cones. However, I cannot aim a rifle using peripheral vision.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jason C Joice wrote 20 weeks 3 days ago

Suggesting that someone take off their billed cap to improve their low light vision is one of the most ridiculous suggestions I've ever heard. At sunrise and sunset, the sky is always going to be brighter than the animals you are trying to see within the darkened woods. It does allow more ambient light into your eyes, but this only has the effect of ruining your low light/night vision. Your eyes adjust to the overall light they are exposed to, therefore they are adjusted to a medium amount of light (dark landscape and bright sky) yet you are trying to see the darkened landscape. You actually should pull your cap low and keep your head down. Never exposing your eyes to the brighter sky. This will keep your eyes maximally dilated and your retinas maximally sensitive to the low amount of light that's coming off of what you're trying to see, i.e. game animals.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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