Why Wear Camo when Hunting?

Do you need a new set of camo?

Every year, hunters across the country go out to their local hunting store and stock up on new camo clothing. They have a variety of great options available, and all promise to improve your hunting experience – for a price.

Investing in camouflage clothing is a big investment for something you only wear a few times per year.

So let’s ask the big question…

Do you need to wear camo for deer hunting? What about when turkey hunting?

This article will explore these questions and more so that you can decide what clothes you should wear for your next hunt.

The Purpose of Camouflage

Overall, the purpose of camo is to break up the human pattern and make you blend into your surroundings.

For hunters, investing in camo is a way to improve your chances of successfully harvesting an animal (at least we believe so).

But does that camo actually give you the advantage you think?

The answer depends on what you are hunting. Let’s take a closer look at two of the most common animals hunted in North America: deer and turkey.

Do You Need Camo for Deer Hunting?

Deer have amazing eyesight that is perfectly adapted to their behaviors.

Deer have specialized visual adaptations for detecting predators. Their eyes are positioned in their head so that they can see all around. This includes about 60 degrees of binocular vision to the front. The only blind spot on a deer is an area about 60 degrees directly behind them.

This sensitivity allows deer to detect any slight movements within their huge field of view.

But when it comes to color, deer vision is a little different.

Compared to humans, deer have a lot more rod cells that enable them to see well in low light.  This is perfect for when they go out during the night and feed between dusk and dawn. They can easily spot a predator at this time with their sight.

However, deer don’t have as many cone cells as humans, so their color range isn’t quite like ours. Their color vision is much more restricted than what we’re used to seeing.

Are Deer Color Blind?

Deer can see color, but the range of colors they see is much narrower than a human. Deer are most sensitive to blue light, but they only see green and red as gray and yellow tones. You can consider them “red-green” color blind.

Deer can’t see all colors, but the colors they see meet their needs perfectly. Deer eyes are most sensitive to colors in the blue spectrum. This is because they’re active at dawn and dusk when there’s more blue light than any other color on the spectrum.

A Note About Blue Jeans

Blue jeans are one of the worst choices of pants to wear when deer hunting. Blue is one of the most defined colors for deer and they will easily spot blue in the woods.

Can Deer See UV Light?

Deer don’t have a UV filter in their eye lens, which means that they can see ultraviolet (UV) light.

As a result, hunters should be concerned about the UV brightness of their clothes. Deer can see UV wavelengths that humans cannot see and they might notice a hunter’s presence if the hunter unknowingly has on fluorescent clothing.

So, how do you fix UV brightness on your camo?

First, you can check your clothes and gear with a black light to see if it is an issue. If the black light shines or glows on your gear, then you can be sure that a deer can see that same glow in the field.

Next, you can fix the UV issue by washing your gear with specialty hunting detergent and spraying with a UV blocker / killer.  UV killers absorb ultraviolet light and stop the blue-white glow that animals see from fabric brighteners.

You can’t camouflage yourself effectively without eliminating UV brighteners on your gear.

Can Deer See Blaze Orange Camo

Deer are color blind to the red hue in blaze orange. Hunters can confidently put on their blaze orange for safety while staying hidden from deer.

Blaze orange camo (patterned) is legal to use in some areas, while other areas require pure solid orange (no patterns).

If possible, you should use a patterned blaze orange. Even though deer can’t see the blaze orange, you still want to break up your silhouette as much as possible.

Deer Hunting: Do you need camo?

Even though deer only see a narrow range of colors, it is still beneficial for hunters to wear camo to break up their silhouette. Just remember that the seasonal colors and patterns you choose aren’t overly important.

Do You Need Camo for Turkey Hunting?

Wild turkey have superhuman vision. It’s almost not fair.

The beautiful wild turkey can see three times better than humans. They have an array of cones in their eyes, each one serving a different purpose. One cone even allows them to see into the UV spectrum.

Turkey have superb daytime vision in full color and with a 270-degree field of view. With a simple twitch of their neck, they can get a full 360-degree view of the area.

With this type of vision, it is almost impossible for a hunter to hide from a turkey.

If you wish to avoid being detected by a turkey, wearing camo during the day is a necessity. What will work are natural colors and patterns that match your environment. Keep in mind that even if you wear camouflage, turkeys can still see the tiniest bit of movement.

Turkey Hunting: Do you need camo?

Turkey see in full color with three times more detail than humans. As a result, hunters need full head to toe camo and minimal movement to hide from theturkey.

Turkey also see UV light, so hunters should use UV blockers to eliminate any brighteners on their hunting clothes or gear.

What is the Best Camo?

Now that you are fully aware of how deer and turkey see what is in their environment – it’s time to purchase some camo.

There are a lot of different colors and designs to choose from when you go shopping for camo, so which one should you buy?

The answer to this question is: it depends on the environment and the time of year that you are hunting. For example, you need different camo when you are deer hunting in the Fall compared to when you are turkey hunting in the Spring.

If a hunter wears green camo during the Spring season then they will blend into their surroundings better than wearing brown or black. This doesn’t mean that hunters can wear any color though since some outfits might actually stand out rather than blending in with their environment (e.g., red).

The key takeaways when picking out camo are: 

  1. Choose colors that closely match the surroundings where you are hunting 
  2. Ensure that your silhouette is broken up with a pattern

Don’t get caught up with the marketing hype of camo patterns. Instead, choose camo based on the quality and performance of the product (waterproof, warmth, quietness, pockets, etc.).

Here are a few of our favorite camo hunting clothes:

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