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How Effective Is Expensive Deer Hunting Camo, Really?

How Effective Is Expensive Deer Hunting Camo, Really?

Sep 14, 2023

Brad Smith

There's a lot of corporate money that wants you to think otherwise. 

Hunting is a skill that has evolved over centuries, and one of the most critical elements of a successful hunt is concealment. Hunters have long relied on camouflage gear to blend into their surroundings and remain undetected by their prey. Flannels and being comfortable while hunting was the mainstay for years, but sometime in the 1980's, hunter fashion crashed onto the scene and who new industry was born. Since then, deer hunting camo has become such a necessity in the deer hunter's mind, a new set of camo can cost you into the thousands. When it comes to deer hunting though, understanding what deer can actually see is crucial in determining the effectiveness of any deer hunting camo.

Spoiler alert, it's not near as important as the multi-billion dollar hunting industry wants you to believe.  

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Understanding Deer Vision

Deer have a unique visual system that differs from humans in several ways. Understanding these differences is essential for hunters who want to stay hidden from deer.

  1. Color Perception: Contrary to popular belief, deer do see color, but not in the same way humans do. They are dichromatic, which means they perceive a limited range of colors. Deer primarily see the world in shades of blue and yellow. Reds and oranges appear as shades of gray or brown to them. This is important to keep in mind when choosing camouflage patterns.

  2. Low-Light Vision: Deer are crepuscular animals, which means they are most active during dawn and dusk. Their eyes are adapted for low-light conditions, allowing them to see well in dim light. This can make it challenging for hunters to remain concealed during these prime hunting hours.

  3. Peripheral Vision: Deer have a wide field of view, approximately 310 degrees, which means they can detect movement from almost any direction. Their large, horizontally oriented eyes give them excellent peripheral vision.

  4. Depth Perception: Deer's depth perception is not as accurate as that of humans. They rely more on motion and patterns to detect potential threats.

Effectiveness of Deer Camo

Given what we know about deer vision, how effective is our deer hunting camo?

  1. Patterns and Colors: To effectively conceal yourself from deer, camouflage patterns that mimic the colors and textures of the environment during the specific hunting season is obviously best. For example, during fall, when leaves change colors, opt for camo patterns with earthy tones and consider breaking up your silhouette with branches and foliage. 

  2. Blending In: While deer may not perceive red and orange as vividly as humans, it's still advisable to avoid wearing bright, flashy colors that could stand out in their vision. Instead, opt for subdued, natural hues that match the surroundings. With this in mind, brown pants and an Earthy colored Carhartt jacket would be perfec

  3. Silhouette and Movement: Camouflage clothing is just flat out the least important part  f staying hidden. Hunters must also minimize their movement and silhouette. Staying still when a deer is nearby is crucial, as any sudden motion can trigger their flight response. The more a hunter is moving around, playing on their phone, standing up, sitting down, etc, the less deer they are going to see. The camo they are wearing simply won't make a difference. 

  4. Hunt the Wind: In addition to visual concealment, consider only hunting certain areas when the wind favors your direction. The camo doesn't matter at all when the wind is blowing your scent directly to a deer's nose. Don't even get us started on "cover scents". Covering yourself in expensive water hoping it tricks 1 million years of evolution is another article altogether. 

In the world of hunting, understanding what deer can actually see is paramount to a successful hunt. While deer camo can help hunters blend into their surroundings, it's essential to choose the right patterns and colors that match the environment and the season. However, camo alone doesn't work; hunters must also be mindful of their movements, silhouette, and scent to avoid detection. By just simply minimizing movement hunters can increase their chances of a successful hunt and a memorable experience in the great outdoors.