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Deer Eyes and Camouflage

Many studies have been conducted in regards to whitetail biology, including their visual acuity and what they are able to see. Deer are partially, but not entirely, colorblind. They can see better than humans in the dark and deer do not have a UV filter in their eyes. There are specific biological reasons for why whitetails see images as they do.
Humans have three color-specific cones in their eyes, which allow us to see many different colors, primarily red, green and blue. Deer however only have two cones in their eyes, allowing them to see only two primary colors: blue and green. Many humans have this same type of colorblindness, allowing them to distinguish blue from red, but not orange from red. This is why hunters can wear orange camouflage, such as Realtree AP Blaze for safety reasons when there are other hunters in the area.
While deer have fewer cones in their eyes, they are better suited to see in the dark than humans because they have more rods (nighttime cells) in their eyes. The deer pupil is larger, opens wider, and is long and oval-shaped, allowing more light to reach their retina in the dark. They also have a reflective layer called a tapetum in their eye which reflects light out, helping them to see better in low-light conditions. The tapetum layer is the reason deer eyes shine at night.
Finally, deer do not have a UV filter in their eyes as humans do. The filter in human eyes only allows about 1% of UV light in, allowing us to focus in on fine details. Because UV light goes straight into a whitetail’s eyes, you may want to be sure you are washing your camouflage clothing in detergent that doesn’t use UV-enhancers. Companies like Tinks manufacture scent-free and UV-free detergents for laundering your hunting clothes. Most ordinary laundry detergents use UV brighteners to keep clothes bright, but the UV reflection on clothing will appear to glow to a deer. If your camouflage is glowing from a deer’s perspective, there is no point in wearing camouflage at all!
The most important thing in choosing camouflage is to blend in with your surroundings, whether the background colors are orange, brown or green. Realtree has an amazing line of high definition camouflage patterns to do just that. In order to camouflage human odors, Scent-Lok manufactures a full line of high-end scent eliminating hunting garments.