Yet Another Mistake Turkey Hunters Make

This is #6 in a series outlining some of the most common errors that turkey hunters make, in no particular order.  I also make suggestions for avoiding these mistakes.

According to Biologists, Turkeys See some Colors – Especially at Dusk and Dawn!

Deer & Turkeys See Some Colors

In a landmark 1993 study, scientists at the University of Georgia conducted a study that literally shook the world of deer and turkey hunting.

I could go into a long explanation: ‘The difference in our eyes versus that of the deer and turkey.’

However, most folks don’t want the full sermon; they just want to know how it will affect them and their hunting.

A Quick Summary

1) Deer and human eyes are the same – in that both use rods and cones.

  • Rods = are light-sensitive and
  • Cones = see colors

Deer and turkeys have more rods and can see better in low light. Humans have more cones, which means that we can see colors better than deer and turkeys.

2) Human eyes have a protective layer that protects them from up to 99% of UV rays, but deer and turkey do not. This means that we can see details better than they do.

3) Human eyes see light in the “visible spectrum” – including violet, blue, green, yellow, orange and red.  Beyond violet, there is something called the ”ultraviolet spectrum.”

Deer & turkey can see this “ultraviolet spectrum” naturally. We can see this range of color only when we use a black light.

What Does this Mean for a Hunter?

When most garments were manufactured in the US, there was no problem.  However, when the Chinese took over textiles and the manufacture of our clothing, they started doing things differently.

They added UV brighteners to all clothing.  Why?  Because it made the fabrics look nice longer.  Think about your white business shirts; they keep their bright, white color longer.  This is all fine and dandy, except for hunters.

Through experiments, scientists proved that turkeys and deer could see those UV brighteners in clothing.   Keep in mind, they noted that the animals would notice them most during dawn and dusk hours.


It has been 17 – 18 years since the public learned of this issue.  Is there still a problem?  This is an involved concern that I will try to finish tomorrow.   Come back then.


‘Thinkin’ Spring’ used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics

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