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Do Deer See Blue?

Back To "Ask The Biologist?"I need to know ASAP, because my UTV is bright blue!

QUESTION: Do deer see the color blue, yes or no? Please, no extra info on eyes or pigments, just a simple yes or no. My UTV is bright blue! — T.R.

Do Deer See Blue?

ANSWER: T.R.: Yes.

ANSWER: To everyone else: Deer vision is most sensitive to short wavelength (blue-violet) and middle-wavelength light (green-yellow). Also, their lenses lack yellow pigment of the human eye, which filters out ultraviolet light almost completely and absorbs it strongly in the violet and blue regions. As a result, their sensitivity to short wavelength light (blue and violet) is much higher than ours.

Bonus deer vision question from Kevin Y.

QUESTION: Bob, I enjoyed your article, “What colors can deer actually see?”

You noted that blaze orange can be made by combining yellow and red or yellow and magenta, “the latter of which is in the peak sensitivity range of a deer's visual spectrum.”  How can we tell or find out what our blaze is made with?

ANSWER: It’s easy to do if you have, or have access to a black light.

If your blaze orange material glows under the illumination of a black light, that means one of two things.  Either it’s made with magenta or it’s been treated with fabric brighteners — possibly both.  In either case, you can douse the glow by treating the fabric with UV-Killer.

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