February 24, 2016
By Bill Winke
Q: During the early season, I hunt agricultural fields and food plots. There seems to be no good way to exit my stand without bumping deer. I was wondering if you have any idea as to how far deer can see in the dark? - Ryan Rothstein, Richmond, Minn.
A: I did a bunch of research on this myself once and learned some things about the physiology of their eyes. Deer have eyes ideally suited to low-light vision. I guess the light actually reflects off the back of the eye and it has the same effect as if they are sensing it twice. That is why their eyes are so reflective when they look into a car's headlights.
So, what does that mean regarding maximum visual range? I don't think anyone knows for sure. Personally, I think they can see you at 100 yards, or less, under most nighttime conditions. I have snuck past deer on black nights, but normally, that ends badly. Better to find other ways out of the field. Think creatively, have someone drive in to bump them, or maybe plant screens to sneak behind.