Science Sheds New Light on Whitetail Vision

All hunters know that whitetail deer have a pretty keen sense of smell, but do you ever wonder if they can see you as well as they can smell you? Well, you’re not alone. Turns out we know a whole lot about whitetail deer, but we really don’t know much about how they see the world around them. Wildlife biologist Dr. Bradley Cohen weighed in on the mysterious question of deer vision in a recent interview with Petersen’s Hunting. “The whitetail is the most studied animal on the planet, but there have been few extensive behavioral studies on how deer perceive the world,” said Cohen.

Recently, Cohen and a team of researchers set out to close this knowledge gap by studying the ability of whitetails to see in different light wavelengths. In order to do so they used a Pavlovian method, training does to associate certain wavelengths of light with food rewards.

So what have the researchers learned about whitetail vision from their experiments?

To put it simply, their vision isn’t all that great. Whereas humans have three types of photoreceptors in our eyes, deer have only two. They’re able to see in muted colors, and their vision is largely based on movement. While the results of the experiments might not be too exciting, the implications for hunters are.

“Our results will provide a more complete picture for hunters on the effectiveness of concealment products on the market, and help us all understand how best to avoid detection,” said Cohen. “After spending years on this study, all the hunters on the research team have changed their habits in the woods.” Maybe in the future, thanks to the efforts of Cohen and his team, we’ll be able to build even better, more effective deer blinds.

Stay tuned for more updates from Productive Cedar Products – the makers of fine, rugged modular ground blinds.

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