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.