Fooling Deer’s Eyes & Ears Challenging

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Camouflage is the most obvious way we hunters try to fool deer’s senses.

While it is a widespread fashion statement these days, camouflage is a practical application against the eyes of the game we pursue. Here are a few interesting facts about the eyes of Texas game animals.

According to the Quality Deer Management association UV light. The human eye is protected by a filter that blocks about 99 percent of UV light from entering the eye. This filter protects our eye, much like a pair of sunglasses. It also allows us to focus more sharply on fine detail. The trade-off for having this filter is a severe loss of sensitivity to short wavelength colors, especially those in the UV spectrum.

Wild turkeys have a field of vision of about 270 degrees which allows them to pick up movement and notice things that are out of place more easily than most animals.

Mallard ducks have even more impressive visual abilities. According to researchers, the mallard has a retinal visual field giving 360 degrees visual coverage in the horizontal plane and a narrow binocular field of approximately uniform width (approximately equal to 20 degrees) extending through 220 degrees from the bill to directly behind the head.

That is why you should remain still in the duck blind until it is time to shoot. So, when it comes to camouflage you must consider you also need to fool other game animals that won’t spook when they see you because when turkeys run away so do deer. Ditto for ducks scattering and squirrels scurrying up a tree and barking.

Over the years numerous products have developed to help us hear game better and bowhunters are constantly using a variety of gadgets to help silence their bows because of the deer’s sense of hearing.

Below is an interesting tidbit on a deer’s hearing from the University of Georgia via Tink’s.

A couple of years ago, David Osborn and Larry Marchinton here at the University of Georgia discovered an unpublished study by Mr. Arthur Stattelman who researched the hearing capability of deer confined to a sound-proof room. They compiled the data from this research and reported some interesting results.”

“They described the study as follows: “The deer was conditioned to seek and accept food whenever it heard a sound. A machine called an audiometer was used to create a wide range of sounds varying in intensity (loudness as measured in Decibels) and frequency (tone as measured in Hertz). The intensity at each frequency was increased until it produced a positive response from the deer. When repeated over time this procedure provided some understanding of what sound the deer was able to hear.”

“The results of the experiment are presented (in the accompanying graph) and are compared to some common sounds and the minimum hearing capability of humans and the domestic cat. Deer and humans apparently can detect sounds of low-to-moderate frequency at approximately the same intensity. A cat can hear much fainter sounds than either the deer tested or humans across a wide range of frequencies. Deer probably detect high frequency sounds slightly better than humans. These findings may shock many hunters who have formed opinions about the hearing ability of deer based on personal experiences”.

Chester Moore, Jr.


1 Comment


    The graph is not accompanying the article. Would be very interesting