The Senses of Turkeys

One of my favorite comments about turkeys is that their brains are the size of a walnut.  However, don’t get too cocky, they seem to use every ounce of their brain matter to stay out of your clutches!

The Senses of Turkeys

A Wild Turkey

Over the years, biologists have studied turkeys and have some surprising findings.  First, their sense of smell is about as strong as ours.

Their hearing is no better than ours. However, their eyesight is another matter.  Because of the particular placement of their eyes, their peripheral vision is excellent.

Turkeys, Deer and UV Brighteners on Clothing

In a nutshell, turkeys and deer see colors!   They can see the UV brighteners in hunter’s clothing.  Why are there UV brighteners in those clothes?

When all clothing was made in the US, there was no problem.  UV brighteners were not added to hunting clothes.  Most textiles are made in China now, and they did not know to keep UV brighteners out of hunting fabrics and clothes.

The solution is obvious: Only buy hunting clothing without UV brighteners! And that’s the problem — even companies that promise they have added no brighteners — parts of the garment (pockets, lapels, etc.), may have been treated before sale to the clothing manufacturer.

What Can You Do?

1)  Use your “old” hunting clothes – that say “Made in the US.”  Not too great a solution because:  As the camo pattern fades, you are less protected from a turkey (or deer’s) eyesight.

2) Use the product touted to “remove” the UV brighteners from hunting clothes.  Most folks say this works, although it is an expensive alternative.

3) Listen to what else the biologists say about (specifically) turkey’s eyesight.

What Biologists Say

Turkeys and deer see differently than we do and they do see the UV brighteners. It makes the hunter look like a bright blue blob.

Biologists have proven that turkeys are not startled by bright colors — ONLY COLORS THAT MOVE!

They’ve placed bright objects in front of these big birds. In one test, they put bright orange hats on turkey decoys. Turkeys strolled amongst them with no concern — unless the orange hats moved!

Biologists theorize that bright colors abound in nature. Turkeys are used to random brights and darks in their habitat. They are only troubled by movement — not the colors.

Next Time: More on this Issue!


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