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Senses of Deer
As any experienced hunter knows, the white tail's senses of hearing, sight, and smell are amazingly keen. The deer's large ears act as radar and are always tuned in for any out of the ordinary sound. A loud step in the leaves, the snap of a twig, branches scraping against a nylon jacket, or a loose swivel on a rifle----all will put a buck on the alert. Deer also listen to woodland creatures----the chatter of a squirrel, the alarm call of a crow, or the scream of a blue jay that reveals the hunter's presence.

In addition to their radar like hearing, deer can spot the slightest movement. Because of the white tail's extraordinary sense of sight, many hunters wear various types of camouflage clothing to blend in with the background. Also, hunters learn to move slowly and to avoid any quick, attention getting movements, such as swinging their arms.

For many years, biologists believed that deer were color blind. Early work on the structure of the white tail's retina did not indicate any color sensing, or cone, cells. But recently, researchers using electron microscopes have found cone cells in the eyes of white tails. The cells, however, are few and far between compared to those found in other species with good color perception. Further research by Michigan State University and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has demonstrated that deer can detect the color red and its various shades.

The white tail's strongest sense is its amazing ability to smell. If you ever watch a deer in the woods, you will see that its nose is constantly working, Hunters should always take into account the wind speed and direction, and other factors that determine how scents are carried through the woods and fields. Throughout this site, I will stress the use of different scents to mask your smell. Before you hunt, think about what you will carry that might give off an odor foreign to deer. Your cigarettes, gun oil, coffee, food, deodorant and many other items let deer know you are in the woods.

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