Many people that are unfamiliar with hunting think that we as hunters have a massive advantage, we are intelligent humans with modern weapons like rifles or compound bows, how could a deer ever stand a chance against a human hunter?
What they don’t know is that deer have senses that are almost like that of superpowers when compared to humans, and this tips the scale at times to be more in favor of the animals’ survival than that of a hunter’s success.
Let’s take a look at some interesting facts about deer such as their sense, along with other interesting things that many people (hunters included) might not be aware of.
Deer Can Smell Very Good!
A deer’s sense of smell is without a doubt the greatest of its superpowers. A deer has 800 more receptors in its nose than a human does, and it can smell better than any bloodhound tracking dog.
But wait, there’s more! The deer has an organ at the roof of its mouth, this organ is called the Jacobson’s organ. This organ can sort out the different scents coming through the deer’s nose and essentially categorize them.
When a deer breathes, it can sort out all scents as it breaths, including other deer, animals, that old burning barrel of garbage a mile away, or you, the hunter.
Do Deer Have Good Hearing?
In terms of hearing ability deer cannot hear any better than us humans when you boil it down to the inner ear’s ability, but they have tools at their disposal to compensate for this “average” hearing.
The long and wide shape of a deer’s ear is like a little radio telescope, and they can each move independently of each other in different directions.
Like massive radio telescopes in real life, when a deer hears something using its large ears, it can pinpoint exactly where that sound came from with incredible precision, and the deer will instantly turn its head to the sound to try to observe what made it.
Deer Have Good Vision
If you took a deer to the eye doctor for an exam the results would not be impressive, at least on paper. But again, like a deer’s hearing, their eyes are highly evolved for a specific role, helping ensure survival.
A deer’s eyesight on paper is about 20/100. 20/100 is the equivalent of a deer seeing at 20 feet equally as well as a human with 20/20 vision sees at 100 feet. Again, not impressive right?
All eyes have photoreceptors, which are boiled down to rods and cones. Rods are what register light, shapes, and movement. Cones allow eyes to see colors and their various shades.
Deer have more rods than cones, which means their eyes are highly keen on catching light, shapes, and movement. This means that they can see exceptionally well in low light conditions, and can see small movements very easily and well as making out shapes that may seem out of place.
Deer can’t see shades of certain colors like greens, oranges, or reds, but they can see shades and differences in yellows, blues, and shades of violet.
This is why Camouflage is important, though not as important as you might think, but blue jeans are definitely something deer could pick out easily from the color spectrum simply by being able to distinguish and see shades of blue.
One final important aspect of a deer’s eyes is that they have 300 degrees of peripheral vision. This means they can cover a very wide area and distinguish and movement, shape, or light change with ease, which is a deer’s case is more important than hawk-like vision.
If you see a deer’s eye, even if it is at a rear angle, chances are the deer can still see you, unless you are in the 60-degree blind spot region, but a swiveling head can change that in a heartbeat.
This is why small movements that you make in what you would think would be outside of the deers’ periphery can get you busted like grabbing and moving a bow, or drawing it back to make a shot.
Super Power Reflexes
While technically not a sense, reflexes are something that deserves to be covered when we discuss deer.
In the matrix Neo can dodge bullets, in Star Wars Jedi’s can deflect laser shots with their lightsabers, in kung-fu and samurai movies people can deflect and dodge arrows with almost lackadaisical ease.
Deer can do this too, well, not to a matrix extent, but they can and will “duck” arrows after they are released, (I and many hunters can speak from personal experience on this one).
This is another evolutionary superpower that deer possess. When a predator gets close undetected, the deer has a final trick up its sleeve, incredibly fast reflexes that give it an almost scary reaction time against threats.
When a deer hears or sees something perceived to be a threat, its hard-wired instinct immediately kicks in. This could be a stick breaking nearby or the sound of a bow as you release an arrow towards it.
I have seen this many times even in situations where the deer wasn’t in danger and the instinctive drive took over. In one instance it was simply a little farm cat on a field edge, that managed to cause 20 deer to flee in panic by simply hearing the movement in the tall grass, as they fled 100 yards they saw the cat enter the field, only to realize that it posed no threat and returned, but when it comes to life and death, better safe than sorry.
Experience is the main way that hunters can combat this superhero-like power that deer possess. As with any strength, there is always a weakness or chink in the armor that we can exploit, and the best way to expose that chink in the armor is to become aware of its existence, and how these senses function.