More Important Turkey Hunter Behaviors

Did You Remember the Insect Repellent?

I have a personal belief that insects, flies and other small creatures are in cahoots with turkeys.  They jump into action: zeroing in on your nose, eyes or wandering up your leg at the critical moment.

Ask me how I know.

Go with the non-scented variety of bug spray.  The good news is that a turkey’s eyes are more sensitive than his nose.

Just don’t choose some scent that doesn’t occur in his world:  old spice, gardenia, vanilla.

Are You in a Good Shooting Position?

Sitting ‘straight on’ narrows your ability to get your turkey.  If you are right handed, it is better to sit a quarter to the right of the turkey you are calling.  This way,  you have a full 180 ° you can turn while getting off a shot.

If you are left-handed, sit a quarter to the left of the turkey you are calling – for the same reason.

Sitting straight-at a turkey narrows your range of firing.

Do You Concentrate on the Turkey & the Bead of Your Gun?

To shoot accurately, it is important to see both the turkey and the bead of your shotgun as you fire.   Turkeys are often missed when a hunter forgets this important step.

Remember:  The bead isn’t on the shotgun for decoration!

Are You Patient Enough?

Hunters often miss gobblers because he/she was in a hurry; rushing to take a shot from a poor position.  Take your time and let the tom move into place for a good shot — or don’t shoot.

Are You Wearing the Right Camouflage?

The ‘right camouflage’ means a pattern that fits the terrain where you are hunting.  Wear a pattern clear enough to disguise you; old and shiny camo is worthless.

Are you wearing jewelry?  Is everything not covered by camo fabric, covered by matte black?  Gobblers are looking for movement.  Jewelery, skin and shiny weapons reflect light.  Turkey eyes are about 5 times sharper than ours.

If you are fully covered in camo, then you will have the confidence to move when you must.  You will be assured enough to let the gobbler come in close;  you won’t feel the need to take just any shot because you are afraid the tom will see you!


Darn, I’m going to miss turkeys when the season is over!

Come back for another thrilling episode!


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Published in: on April 19, 2011 at 12:04 am  Comments Off on More Important Turkey Hunter Behaviors  
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The Problem with a Turkey Hunter’s Clothing, Part 3

Does It Matter?

This is the real issue!  Will having UV brighteners in your hunting clothes really make that much difference?

Unless you are hunting at dusk or dawn, it’s not a big issue.

I’ve run an informal test on the issue over the past years and have decided the following:  It matters if you think it does!

Hunters who don’t worry with uv brighteners in their clothing seem to bag as many hunters as those who carefully protect their clothing from the brighteners.

Be Careful; These Birds Are a Whole Lot Smarter Than They Look!


Where It Might Matter


However, where you hunt could be a factor:  There might be a difference between hunting on public lands versus hunting on private leases.  I haven’t researched this.

What I mean is that hunters on private land may have less competition for turkeys.  Thus, the turkeys see fewer hunters — with or without UV brightener-infested clothing.

And turkeys certainly learn from their interactions with hunters.   The more hunters there are, the faster turkeys have to respond to stay out of the crosshairs of the hunter’s gun.

So, hunters on public lands may need to be more careful about the issue of UV brightened hunting clothes than others.  The more hunting pressure in a place, the more each factor counts.

Other Facts about Turkeys & Deer

Deer and turkeys see colors differently than most other animals. They seem to be red & green color-blind. That’s why you can wear blaze orange hunting wear without worrying about being seen by deer or turkeys — green, red and orange are non-colors to them.

Other Considerations for Your Hunting Pleasure

Biologists say that having patterned clothing (camo wear) that blends in with the landscape is more important than its color. The scientists warn hunters about wearing large patches of unbroken color.

Specifically, don’t wear two specific materials: vinyl and plastic. Why? Because they reflect light. It is not the color of these two materials that’s important, but the fact that light reflects so readily from them.


‘Threesome’ used by permission of Restyler’s Choice Rear Window Graphics


Have You Missed the Other Parts of this Series?

1) Yet Another Mistake Turkey Hunters Make

2) The Problem with a Turkey Hunter’s Clothing, Part 2


FYI: This info is just one section of a multi-part series on Mistakes Turkey Hunters Make – it has run here for the past couple of weeks!


Missed the List of Good/Bad Washing Products for Your Hunting Clothes?

Keeping UV Brighteners Out of Hunting Clothes

This blog is a companion to my website:


The Problem with a Hunter’s Clothing, Part 2

What Should a Hunter Do?

The solution is obvious: Only buy hunting clothing without UV brighteners!  Another solution is to wear wool clothing — it does not have added UV brighteners.

This problem has been around long enough for the hunter’s screams to have been heard all the way to China!

UV Brighteners in Clothing are Most Notable to Turkeys and Deer in Low Light Conditions!

So, is the Problem Gone?

No.  Essentially, there are 2 parts to this issue:  new hunting clothes and the ones you already own.

New Hunting Clothes

Even companies that promise they have added no brighteners — fabrics that became parts of the garment — pockets, lapels, etc. — may have been treated before sale to the manufacturer who made the clothes.

If your kids have a black light, you are in business!  Black lights will make any clothing with UV brighteners glow in the dark!  Use their black light to test your hunting clothes.

If you don’t have access to one, you can order a black light flashlight on the Internet.  You can also take it shopping with you; find a dark area and check to make sure the hunting garb doesn’t glow.

Be particularly careful to test hunting clothes on the clearance racks!  Guess why they might be there?

The Hunting Clothes You Already Own

This is the ugly part of the story.

If you are like most hunters, you wash your clothes with whatever clothes washing powder or liquid is available.  Most of those products add UV brighteners to clothing — permanently.

Once UV brighteners are added to clothing, there’s only one way to remove them.  There’s a product sold online that removes it.

I’m not interested in helping them sell more products, so I’m not mentioning their name.  I’ll explain more in Does it Matter (tomorrow’s part).

Naming Names

I’ve done research on this issue and have a list of names of regular grocery store products that you can use that will NOT add UV brighteners to your clothes.

The list is extensive — both the good and bad products.

A Reminder

Bear in mind that you must never use the “bad” products on your hunting clothes — even once.


Come back tomorrow for the final part of this article!


‘Woodland Splendor’  used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics

This blog is a companion to my website:

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

This blog is a companion to my website:


Human Scent and Deer Hunting

Motion and Scent are More Important than UV Brighteners! *

I believe that a hunter’s site of  “up wind” versus “downwind” is more important than the soap used!  Developing an understanding of the terrain, winds and wind thermals seem more important to me.

In fact, I’ve read that the number 1 rule of success during a deer hunt is scouting the land before-hand!  Having knowledge of deer trails, checking spore and knowing where water lies, are important to success.

Human Scent and Deer Hunting

Deer are much more sensitive to scent — and they can detect scent from greater distances. There are some products that promise to remove scent from the hunter.

I wonder if they work? Could it be that deer notice when there is no scent, as well as when there is too much human smell?

You might want to take note of some of the interesting suggestions hunters offer to handle human scent (See:  For the Hunter with Everything, Including UV Brighteners! and  More Tips to Hide Your Scent).

I think a hunter’s movement is another important consideration.


Only you can decide how important this issue is to you. Perhaps the UV brightener-killer is right for your needs. However, I read something from R. Henshaw (on a forum).

He suggested purchasing a large box of 20 Mule Team Borax. “Wash your hunting clothes in that, do not use fabric softeners, do not use dryer sheets. ”

I’ve decided that ‘it’s a plan.’ Before I try the high-priced solutions, I’m going to keep it simple.

Another idea I’m considering: Repair MDH’s (my deer husband’s) old hunting clothes, languishing in the back of a closet!

Until recently, when textile manufacturing moved to China, this was a non-issue, no problem. I’m also planning to check out thrift stores in our area for camo not bearing the tag, “Made in China.”

One company is touting their wool hunting garments as an alternative to the ‘glowing goods’ that seem to be everwhere in the stores today.

However, I think there is something close to ‘undue concern’ about the glowing hunting goods, to the exclusion of issues that just might matter more.

**For more info about the amount of borax to use, go to article, “Words of Wisdom & A Bit of Humor” and look at the bottom paragraphs.

Remember: Scent and movement are more important (they can be seen/smelled further away) than the color of your clothing or whether it has UV brighteners.


*’Early Snowfall’ used through the courtesy of Vantage Point Graphics


This blog is a companion to my website:

Talkin’ Turkey: Video with Hunting Tips!

Sometimes the best info is that which you can see and hear!  Here are some excellent points by someone who has lots of experience (not me).

This video is just under 6 minutes & moves quickly through a lot of hints.  Enjoy!


Remember: If you got a turkey this season, be sure and post your info on


This blog is a companion to my website:

Published in: on April 28, 2010 at 5:16 pm  Comments Off on Talkin’ Turkey: Video with Hunting Tips!  
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Keeping UV Brighteners Out of Hunting Clothes

The Problem

Many of the hunting clothes made in the past few years have UV brighteners in them.   Most of the laundry products on your grocer’s shelves have UV brighteners.  They make clothing look brighter and more attractive.

Unfortunately, turkeys and deer can see those UV brighteners – especially in low light conditions!  What’s a hunter to do?

A Solution

Hunting Wear with UV Brighteners Looks Bright & Blue (& Seems to Glow)! This Suit Does Not Have Brighteners

If you buy hunting camo wear without those pesky UV brighteners, there’s a way to keep them out of your camouflage wear.  You can buy an expensive product at a hunter’s supply store or you can use approved laundry detergents from your local grocery store.

It may surprise you to know that law enforcement and military uniforms cannot be washed in products with UV brighteners.

Here are products members of law enforcement and the military consider safe.

Military & Law Enforcement List of Safe Washing Products *

  • All® Powder (all versions)
    Bold Powder
    Cheer® Liquid (all versions)
    Cheer® Powder (all versions)
    Surf® Powder (all versions)
    Woolite® (all versions)
  • Country Save **

Other helpful info: If using a store brand or “generic” product, the label usually states “compare to [brand]” on the front panel. Match that product brand to the list above for ingredient content. ***

Products That are NOT Safe (They Have Brighteners)

Ajax® (all versions)
All® Liquid (all versions)
Arm & Hammer® FabriCare Powder (all versions)
Arm & Hammer® Liquid (all versions)
Arm & Hammer® Super Washing Soda
Arm & Hammer® Fresh ‘n Soft Fabric Softener (all versions)

Colgate-Palmolive laundry products
Delicare® Fine Fabric Wash (all versions)
Dreft® Liquid
Dreft® Powder
Dynamo® (all versions)
Era® Liquid (all versions)
Fab® (all versions)
Gain® Liquids (all versions)
Gain® Powders (all versions)
Ivory Snow® Liquid Ivory Snow® Powder
Rain Drops® Water Softener and Detergent Booster
Suavitel® Fabric Softener (all versions)
Surf® Liquid (all versions)
Tide® Liquids (all versions)
Tide® Powders (all versions)
Tide® Tablets (all versions)
Wisk® (all versions)
Yes® (all versions)

Dial® laundry products including:
20 Mule Team® Detergent (all versions) ****
Purex® Baby™ (all versions)
Purex® Fabric Softener (all versions)
Purex® Liquid (all versions)
Purex® Powder (all versions)
Zout® (all versions)


* This information comes from Ranger Joe’s

** This extra product comes from 4 Military Families

*** Compiled by A. Hammond, 3rd IBCT RFG Assistant 10th Mtn Div, July               2005

**** More about this next time!


This blog is a companion to my website:

The Evolution of Ghillie Suits

Early Ghillie Suits

The Newest Generation of Ghillies!

The first Ghillie suits available for hunters were extremely expensive. My husband brought burlap bags and asked me to make a suit for hunting birds & turkeys.

Being tragically gullible,  I labored over this task for a couple of weeks.  By its nature, burlap is heavy, dank, smelly, itchy and flammable!  Let me emphasize — they are really itchy!

By the end of the job, however, we’d saved most of the $300 cost of the suit.  The results were impressive, the suit worked well and Richard brought his limit home.

Early Problems with Ghillies

Early suit’s materials were awful. When it rained, Ghillie suits became sodden and smelled worse than before. Drying them out was a challenge.

The suits were heavy and caught on twigs and branches. One good thing about them is that they did not encourage movement, so any hunter inside stayed rather still.

To say that the early Ghillie suits were ‘a pain,’ doesn’t begin to cover the situation.

A Better Product

Very quickly, hunters learned that suits made of real burlap bags weren’t desirable. What else could be used to protect the hunter while not causing him to itch to death?

Manufacturers began experimenting with materials. They used a variety of fabrics, as well as  leaf-shaped additions and synthetic blends.

The evolution of the Ghillie suit has been a long one. Some of the fabrics “swished” and were a dead give-away to the animals the hunter was trying to shoot.

Other suits had a sheen that caught an animal’s eye long before a hunter could draw a bead to shoot.

Hints for Using Ghillie Suits

  • It has taken over 20 years of experimentation for manufacturers to create really ‘successful’ Ghillie suits. Some of their “almosts” are on clearance counters. Run home and do some research on the Internet before investing in clearance ghillies!
  • Remember that patience is more important than a ghillie suit! Animals are very sensitive to movement! If you, or someone hunting with you is wiggly, use a blind.
  • Turkeys lack the curiosity gene! If they see movement, they leave! They leave investigation of movement to those gobblers having a death-wish!
  • Ghillie suits are a wonderful addition to a hunter’s tools. However, they can never replace patience!


Next Time: Finish the Info about Washing Products Without UV Brighteners!


This blog is a companion to my website:

Turkeys and UV Brighteners

In the past few days, I’ve explained that deer and turkeys see colors differently than most other animals.  They seem to be red & green color-blind.

Turkeys & Deer See Differently than Other Animals!

That’s why you can wear blaze orange hunting wear without worrying about being seen by deer or turkeys — green, red and orange are non-colors to them.

Other Considerations

Biologists have increased our knowledge of  ‘what makes turkeys tick’ in significant ways.  One of their recommendations has to do with camo clothing.

Biologists say that having patterned clothing that blends in with the landscape is more important than its color. The scientists warn hunters about wearing large patches of unbroken color.

Two specific materials are discouraged: vinyl and plastic. Why? Because they reflect light. It is not the color of these two materials that’s important, but the fact that light reflects so readily from them.

Back to the Big Blue Blob of Hunting Clothes

If you are concerned about this issue, there’s a product available that will remove the UV brighteners. It is manufactured by ATSKO (, the U-V Killer. Once this product eliminates the “glow,” you will need to always use their washing liquid to keep the fabric safe.

Another company is touting their wool hunting garments as an alternative to the ‘glowing goods’ that seem to be rampant in the stores today.

Other Choices

Next time, I will list all of the washing products that I know of that are on grocer’s shelves that will NOT add UV brighteners to your hunting clothes. It’s a surprisingly long list.

My husband and I’ve discussed this issue ‘ad nauseum.’  Should we toss his clothes and get new ones, without UV brighteners, and then use products that won’t add the brighteners to his new clothes?

MDH, Richard, decided to conduct tests regarding this issue.  He decided that if he stopped getting his limit of deer and/or turkeys, he would buy new clothes and get serious about UV brighteners.

The results are:   In the past 4 years, Richard has gotten his limit each time he’s gone hunting.   However, he has friends who worry a great deal about  UV brighteners.

Richard’s conclusion is that if you think that the UV brightener issue is important — it is.  If you think there are more important issues, other than the brighteners — you’re right too.

Your belief system about this issue is the most important ingredient!


Next Time: Grocery store products that won’t put UV brighteners in your hunting clothes!


This blog is a companion to my website:

Part 2: More on a Turkey’s Eyesight

Last time, I was talking about the senses of wild turkeys.  On the subject of  turkey’s eyesight, I mentioned 3 ways to handle the UV brighteners in most hunting clothes.

Bright Blue Blob

This guy sees the "blue" in blue jeans clearly!

The issue of UV brighteners has been with us for several years. Take a look at the ground-breaking study of the University of Georgia (see below).  He refers to deer, however, wild turkey were found to have the same eyesight abilities.

Forums on the Internet

Folks in the forums have been discussing this issue since the study became common knowledge. And when Atsko came out with products to “remove” UV brighteners from hunting clothes, the discussion became more intense!

Hunters have taken positions on both sides of the aisle.  Some talk about the fact that our ancestors did just fine hunting with what they had at hand.

Some hunters are of the mind that they should use every tool at their disposal.  If you feel the need to make sure that you have every advantage in a hunting situation (i.e.: removing UV brighteners from your hunting clothes), so be it.

It’s not my place to tell you what to use or do.  I can only tell you about my experiences.

The Long View

I’m not planning to burn all of my husband’s hunting clothes, even though they have all been washed in detergents.

I’ve decided to take the long view: Reading the reports by the  scientists conducting the tests, I can see there is a problem.

However, the scientists admit that deer and turkeys see this “blue glow” at two distinct times: early morning and late evening. This is during low light conditions.

True, deer seem to be more active during both of these times, while turkeys are active in the early am.  During regular daylight hours, the animals’ (deer and wild turkey) eyesight seems to be less acute.

BTW, this study (and others) did comment on wearing blue jeans while hunting deer and turkeys: Don’t. The blue in jeans is very obvious to the eyes of deer and wild turkey!


Next Time: More on this Issue!


This blog is a companion to my website:


* ‘A Year in the Life of the White-tailed Deer Through the Eyes of a Deer,‘ by
Karl V. Miller, School of Forest Resources, University of Georgia.  This is an excellent overview, in layman’s terms.