Are Deer Blind? (No – Their Eyesight is Excellent!)

Deer are not blind and are equipped with a well-functioning and sophisticated visionary system. They can see color partially and their nighttime vision is many times better than ours.

Strong vision, alongside the heightened abilities of hearing and smell, plays an important role in their survival out in the wild.

For a long time, there has been this notion among people that deer are totally color blind. But recent studies have partially discarded that notion.

Are Deer Blind

Can Deer see Hunters?

Deercan potentially detect hunters at night owing to the sensitive color vision detection ability of their eyes. Also along with color vision, they have got a wide range vision of 310 degrees which also allows them to easily detect movement around them.

Deer actually can see better even in low light conditions. This is because of the presence of the tapetum lucidum in their eyes that helps in reflecting light rays twice at night. This is very helpful under dark conditions as by reflecting light twice they are seeing the image with twice better visibility.

They also have got a higher number of rod cells in their eyes, which are essentially cells that help in better vision under darker conditions. Infact their nighttime vision is many times better than ours however their daytime vision is not as good as us humans owing to the lower concentration of cone cells in their eyes.

Read Also: Are Deer Friendly?

Are DeerColor Blind?

Deer are not completely color blind, they can see colors but not with the same precision as we do. Somestudies have shown that they have a vision similar to that of a red-green color blind person.

This means that they can see shorter and middle ranged color wavelengths quite well but cannot visualize longer-ranged color wavelengths very well.

This means they can tell the difference between a blue and a green color but won’t be able to differentiate between darker colors of red and orange. 

What Colors Can Deer see at Night?

Deer can easily see colors ranging in the blue and green wavelengths and have low visibility for color ranges of orange and red.

So it can be said that they are great at picking up short (Blue) and medium (green) wavelengths of colors but are not that good at picking up longer-ranged color wavelengths. The reason they have great night vision is owing to the presence of the tremendous amount of rod cells in their eyes.

So if you don’t want deer to see you easily, avoid wearing bluish or greenish clothes and go for orange or red shades.

Red or orange-colored clothes may be visualized as grey by their eyes and as a result, you will blend in well with the background. Even then, there is no guarantee that they won’t detect you as they don’t depend on just their vision for detecting other creatures.

Also unlike humans, they don’t have the ultraviolet filter in their eyes so they can visualize the UV radiance coming off an object and detect its location.

The UV filter in the human eyes allows us to see objects with strong resolution and precision. Deer sacrifice that extra precision in the image formation of their eyes to have the ability to detect objects better because the latter is much more necessary out in the wild for their survival.

So even by wearing orange clothes, the UV radiance that will come off the clothes can be easily detected by their eyes. There are UV killer washing agents available in the market that can help in this aspect.

However, this sort of stuff can be an overkill as people have been going into the woods to find deer for centuries without any such knowledge. And deer can easily detect movement not just by using their eyes but through their scent picking up ability and hearing power as well.

Related Article: Can you Eat Deer?

Can Deer See Orange and Red?

Some studieshave found that deer can detect red and orange colors less vividly in comparison with colors of shorter wavelengths.

So this means they are partially color blind to colors of orange or red.They may only see them as grey which may blend-in well with the forest surroundings.

This means wearing orange technically gives a better chance of avoiding detection.However, remember,deer are very smart and alert animals and they can smell many times better than us, so even with subtle smells, they can detect hunters.

Nevertheless, one reason hunters wear orange vests is that deer struggle to see orange yet it stands out for humans, which helps passers-by to identify the hunters.

Related Article: Do Deer Bite People?

Why do Deer Run into Cars?

While deer have excellent eyesight, bright lights from a moving object can easily startle them and cause them to freeze ‘like a deer in headlights’.

When they get startled they start running, and oftentimes get confused about the direction they should run and sometimes end up running straight into the cars driving on the highway.

Evolution has made sure that deer have a well-developed set of sense organs in place as having great senses of vision, hearing, and smell is essential for their survival. Their eyes are equipped to see vibrantly even at night.

Hence suddenly seeing a bright light amid the darkness, can be a startling moment for us, deer have a much more sophisticated vision system in place so they get startled even more and as they don’t have any idea what cars are, they panic and start running feeling that their lives are in danger.

FAQ: What Colors do Deer see Best?

Deer can see the colors of short and medium wavelengths the best. This means they see blue and violet with the most precision. They will also see green and yellow with moderate precision and will see red or orange as grey.


Deer are not at all blind and can even see colors to some extent. Their color detection abilities of the eyesare like that of a red-green color-blind human being. They can see blue, violet, yellow and green colors with the most precision whereas they see darker colors like orange and red as different grey shades. The presence of a low amount of cone cells does not allow them to form a very precise image of the world, this means even though they see everything their eyes cannot see everything in detail. However, the enormous presence of rod cells in their eyes allows them to have a highly sensitive nighttime vision.

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