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View Full Version : Can game animals really not see blaze orange. How do we know for sure?


astro
02-09-2003, 09:33 AM
Hunters often go about in high visibility blaze orange outfits to keep from getting shot by other hunters.

Is man (or other primates) the only animal that can see this color as highly distinguishable? Are deer, elk, moose, bears, mountain goats, wild turkeys etc all blind to this color being highly visible/distinguishable?

kanicbird
02-09-2003, 09:53 AM
I don't know but can tell you about cats - which could be extended more easily to nocturnal animals then 'daytime' ones. They can see colors but ignore them, they go mainly with black and white vision. If you were wearing a bright orange vest a cat would see it as you would see that vest in a black and white picture.

So it wouldn't stand out as much. If a cat really wanted to he may be able to look past the b&w and see the bright orange but it may require more effort then a cat wants to put into it.

Tuckerfan
02-09-2003, 09:57 AM
Well, here's what the Master says (http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a2_004.html). I don't think that issue is some much whether or not the animals can see the bright colors, but if humans can. Supposedly, farmers in many places will spray paint COW on their cattle to ensure that an "over enthusiastic" hunter won't shoot 'em by mistake. I know that nearly every year there's an account of some hunter being accidentally shot by another hunter who mistook him for a deer/moose/elk/whatever.

Brutus
02-09-2003, 09:57 AM
Originally posted by astro
Hunters often go about in high visibility blaze orange outfits to keep from getting shot by other hunters.

Is man (or other primates) the only animal that can see this color as highly distinguishable? Are deer, elk, moose, bears, mountain goats, wild turkeys etc all blind to this color being highly visible/distinguishable?

I think the only purpose of the law is hunter safety, even if some game is scared off by it (or at least, the hunter is more noticeable).

Seeing as that Michigan becomes the worlds 4 or 5th largest army during hunting season, I am more apt to throw on some level III body armor then blaze orange ;) But the orange really does help, with so many people walking around in the woods. I wear a b.orange hat and vest, and much to my foe's chagrin, it has so far worked.

I think that turkey hunters don't have to wear orange, since it has been demonstrated that wild turkeys are definitely spooked by it. But since sitting in a bush and making funny gobbling sounds isn't my forte, (small game for me, and the occasional buck), I am just passing on what I heard.

astro
02-09-2003, 09:58 AM
So a cat's vision is mainly black and white. How do we know this? Counting the rods and cones or what?

Sock Munkey
02-09-2003, 10:07 AM
Examining the types and amounts of photosensitive chemicals in the cones of the eye gives us a fairly good idea of how good an animals color perception is.

TBone2
02-09-2003, 11:02 AM
According to at least one study I've read about (sorry, no cites, but I'm looking...), whitetailed deer can distinguish colors, or at least the folks conducting the study think so. IIRC, they wired parts of a deer's brain and then exposed the deer to a number of different colors, including blaze orange. The measurable electrical impulses from the deer's brain convinced them that the deer can see in color, contrart to the popular belief that animals in general live in a black-and-white world.

Mr. Duality
02-09-2003, 03:00 PM
I heard deer can see orange but not pink. I'll ask my step-dad the hunter where he got that info.

Can you imagine the average hunter wearing pink? Nyuck, nyuck.

kanicbird
02-09-2003, 04:44 PM
So a cat's vision is mainly black and white. How do we know this? Counting the rods and cones or what

For a long time it was assumed that cats couldn't see color due to the high amount of rods and small amount of cones (rods being B&W only but much more sensitive, allowing 'night vision').

About 3 yrs ago there was a study to see if cats could see color at all if they tried. Something along the lines of 2 doors that would look identical to B&W vision but different to color vision. Cats were rewarded for picking the correct door and not rewarded for the wrong door. After many tryes the cats started to get the idea that one has a different color and the cat would choose the correct door from that point on.

Sorry no cite.

Chronos
02-09-2003, 07:20 PM
Turkeys, though, don't surprise me by beeing able to see orange. While humans do have pretty good vision compared to most other mammals, most birds have us beat.

mangeorge
02-09-2003, 08:31 PM
Actually, Bambi told me. And I told everybody else. We laugh at all you guys running around in your orange outfits.
Now we've told Mr. Duality's step-dad that the invisibility color is actually pink. We can't wait. :D
Peace,
mangeorge

Mr. Duality
02-09-2003, 08:55 PM
Here ya go:
http://www.geocities.com/Yosemite/Gorge/4774/deervision.html

It appears that orange should be somewhat visible to deer, "but they are red-green color blind." The problem with hunters wearing pink would be other hunters who are red/green color blind. That, plus they would feel silly.

Rick
02-09-2003, 10:02 PM
Originally posted by Tuckerfan
Well, here's what the Master says (http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a2_004.html). I don't think that issue is some much whether or not the animals can see the bright colors, but if humans can. Supposedly, farmers in many places will spray paint COW on their cattle to ensure that an "over enthusiastic" hunter won't shoot 'em by mistake. I know that nearly every year there's an account of some hunter being accidentally shot by another hunter who mistook him for a deer/moose/elk/whatever.

I always will remember,
'Twas a year ago November,
I went out to hunt some deer
On a morning bright and clear.
I went and shot the maximum the game laws would allow:
Two game wardens, seven hunters, and a cow.
-Tom Lehrer

dtilque
02-09-2003, 11:27 PM
My understanding is that all mammals except primates have only blue cones in their eyes. That link provided by Mr. Duality
seems to indicate that deer may have UV cones too, although ordinary blue cones are somewhat sensitive in the UV (the lens of your eyes is opaque to UV, which is why you can't see in the UV).

At any rate, this is why dogs and cats seem like they have red-green colorblindness. They really can't see either color except with their rods. I suspect that the color of the jar in the 1915 tests Cecil describes was red, which is why the cats couldn't distinguish them from grey ones.