A Few More Facts About Deer Hunting

Because my last article was getting too long; I omitted some facts of interest. If you recall, the title was: “Hunting News: Why You Just Might Not Get a Deer or Turkey this Year.” (For the full article, look back to 1 October 2008, on this site.)



GhillieFlageSuit-Desert; 1 Piece


In earlier times, American fabric producers and hunting garment  manufacturers had an agreement NOT to add brighteners to clothing used for hunting. When China took over textile and clothing manufacturing, someone forgot to tell them about the problem with UV brighteners (for hunters).

Scientists Find that Deer See Two Colors

At about the same time hunters were realizing their clothes had a ‘glow,’ a study came out about deer and their eyesight.

The study I’m referring to is the cooperative effort between the University of Georgia and the University of Wisconsin.  This group of scientists proved that deer see only two colors — yellow and blue.

Deer are essentially color blind – in the same way some humans can be – by not seeing green or red.  They also lack a filter for UV light, therefore they see those UV brighteners added in clothing very easily.  Humans, in contrast, do not see the UV light, because their sight is filtered.

UV brighteners give clothes a bright blue cast. Generally, this is not a problem; street clothes look more attractive with brighteners. However, the UV coloring additions to hunting clothing are NOT good for hunters.

How Do I Get the UV Brighteners Out of Camouflage?

Well, I was hoping you wouldn’t ask that! 😉 You can’t take it out by the average means available! All grocery detergents (liquid and powder) contain brighteners. Once clothes have been washed in these detergents, the dye (brightener) is permanently added to the garment(s).


There’s only one way I’ve heard that you can remove the brighteners (other than throwing the clothes away) — by using a product called, U-V Killer, by Atsko (www.atsko.com). After using that product, you need their other product, Sport Wash, to wash hunting garments for the life of said garments.

The only other option is to buy and use wool camo garments. This is not a viable option here in Texas; where folks often hunt in shirt-sleeves and shorts!

Where Do I Start?

You need to know if you have the UV brighteners in your hunting clothes. First, get a black-light and shine it on your hunting duds, in a dim location. The brighter the glow, the more dye is in the clothing.

Less Expensive Alternative

R. Henshaw, in a forum discussing the UV Dye problem, suggested 20 Mule Team Borax. Because this is not a detergent in the normal sense of the word, this product may protect goods from getting the “glow.”

I’m planning to experiment with it. I hope to keep the glow out of new clothing and reduce the glow – over time – in hunting garments that have it.


The reason I haven’t gotten my knickers bunched about this issue is — MDH has been hunting for years. If, by washing his camo goods in detergents all these years he’s had glowing garments, why has he been able to get a deer each year?

After reading this, MDH suggested that the deer did not see him in the deer blind or he did not hunt in the twilight or early morning (the two times the scientists say the deer’s eyesight is most acute).

So you see, it really is a personal decision. Richard isn’t rushing out to buy new hunting duds, but adopting a wait-and-see attitude. As stated in the last article, there really is much more to hunting deer (like movement and smell) than just worrying about ‘glowing.’

What do you think?


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com