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View Poll Results: Can deer see UV light reflected off certain clothing?
Yes 4 36.36%
No 1 9.09%
I don't know 6 54.55%
Voters: 11. You may not vote on this poll

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Old September 27, 2004, 12:19 PM   #1
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Can whitetails really see ultra-violet light - yes or no?

What's the real deal? I've heard nah, that's made up to sell UV-kill spray, and I've heard yes, it's true from seemingly knowledgeable sources. Let's have some science, not speculation, please, if possible.
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Old September 27, 2004, 01:28 PM   #2
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The follow-up question would be if the UV kill sprays actually work.
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Old September 27, 2004, 03:49 PM   #3
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I had thought most animals sense some ultraviolet light better than we do, and there does seem to be some evidence that whitetail do, but I see very little reason to get a spray. Just wear clothes in the right color ranges.

See here:
The deficiency in dichromatic color vision is in the ability to discriminate among the colors of objects that reflect light in the middle to long wavelengths, i.e. green, yellow, brown, orange, and red. The ungulates and carnivores with color vision based on only short wavelength sensitive cones and long wavelength sensitive cones, would find these colors difficult or impossible to distinguish. However, for these animals, blue, violet and near ultraviolet (which is invisible to us because it is blocked by the lens) stand out from the other colors. The colors of earthly objects are mostly browns, tans, greens and yellows. To an animal with dichromatic color vision, a sportsman wearing garments that strongly reflect short wavelength light would stand out against these backgrounds like a ripe red tomato on a green vine.
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Old September 27, 2004, 04:18 PM   #4
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The colors we can see aren't the issue - the brighteners used in almost all detergents are in fact UV dyes. Hence the problem. Using an alternative detergent that doesn't contain UV brighteners should do the trick, though I suspect flourescent colors would stand out for them, too.

Better to know what you don't know than to think you know what you don't know.
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Old September 27, 2004, 05:07 PM   #5
Join Date: January 7, 2002
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The colors we can see aren't the issue
In part, color is little more than how we, or the deer, processes the light reflected, and specifically the wavelengths that are reflected verses absorbed by the object. Certain "colors" on things will obviously be more visible to the deer as the light is within the ranges they see better. So, the colors the deer sees is an issue.

To that extent, I would think you would want to avoid wearing colors in the shorter blue wavelength regions. I would think some blue jeans might be more visible to deer, for example. I have nothing scientific to back that up, other than the understanding that deer do see better in that color range. I've never tested their reaction to different types of clothing, and I'm quite sure a skilled hunter can get his deer regardless of his clothing. I would think it would be an advantage though to wear things outside the deer's visible range.

If you meant it as typed, that the color we see isn't the issue, well I guess I have to agree with that, but I never meant to imply that the issue was what we can see. As of yet, I'm not trying to hide from other hunters.
- the brighteners used in almost all detergents are in fact UV dyes.
That's a good point too. I've long preferred to just wash my hunting clothes with hot water, don't know if that's a good idea or not.

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Old September 28, 2004, 05:02 PM   #6
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I,ve gotten dear while wearing a blue jacket so I wonder . But what attracts the eye yours and the deers far more than anything is movement so SIT STILL. BTW a kestrel can see UV and voles dribble urine that reflects UV and that's how kestrels get voles !!
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