Featured Photo – White-tailed Deer

White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) - Private Ranch, Florida

White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) - Private Ranch, Florida

This past weekend was opening weekend for deer season here in central New York.  I thought I’d take a moment to remind everyone that this is not the best time of year to be in the woods impersonating a White-tailed Deer.  Be sure to wear hunter’s orange and be safe!

Fun Fact, did you know that the reason hunters wear the bright orange vests is because deer are color blind?  The bright orange isn’t an issue for deer and that’s why you sometimes see hunting vests that have camouflage but include that brilliant orange.  It’s enough for other hunters to see but it doesn’t scare aware the deer.  Unfortunately, birds do see the full color spectrum.  I’d love to see a study examining the reaction of birds to hunter orange vests.

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  1. That’s the scrawniest white-tail I’ve ever seen!

    True story about deer not seeing colors – hunters wear camo because deer can see solid patterns against the random background of the woods. What deer lack in eyesight they make up for is smell, though.

    I once heard that if deer had the eyes of a Turkey, we would never know they existed.

  2. Thats actually one of the nicest looking white tail I’ve seen in Florida. The deer down there are plenty scrawny and this happens to be taken on a private ranch where the owner feeds the deer on a regular basis. Some of the most beautiful White-tails I have ever seen in the state are on that ranch. I need to get back in the rut though to get some nice bucks.

    Good point on the camo. The whole point of camouflage is to break up your outline. I’ve found that while camouflage is great, anything you can do break up a silhouette is immensely helpful.

    On the smell note, different birds have different levels of smell. I have read studies where individual petrels have found their burrows and recognized their chicks in a colony of tens of thousands of birds through the sense of smell. I think Vultures also use smell to find carrion. Overall though, I don’t think it is nearly as important as in mammals.

  3. Wayne Gordon says:

    I have been photographing deer for years and found that their sense of smell is very acute, hence, the snorting that goes on when they sense a human presence. Their big ears take in the slightest sounds, especially what is walking through the grass or underbrush. They seem to be able to pick up the slightest movement from a very very long way off, too. Once I came upon 4 young buck grazing in some grass upwind from me. I was a mere 16 feet from them. They couldn’t pick up my scent and I had enough time to reload my film camera and fire off half a roll of film before they just wandered away.

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