Which Deer have the best eyesight?

Which Deer have the best eyesight?

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Monkey Spanker

Well-Known Member
I was wondering what others think about deer and their eyesight after stalking on Friday. I have stalked everything in UK except CWD and think Fallow have the edge over the rest. What are your thoughts?


Well-Known Member
I haven't voted in the poll as I don't have any experience of many of the deer mentioned but would be interested in the thoughts of others on this matter.

One thing I am sure of it that deer eyesight works differently to ours. Now I know it is supposed to be black and white and so on but there is something different about the way they process it compared to us I think. My reasoning for this is that sometimes deer see me when I'd really expect them not to. Yesterday a sika hind spotted me standing stock still in the shadows behind some bushes at 150 yards yet recently a whole group of them failed to see me sitting watching them at 30 yards with me in a more exposed position. I'm confident that I wouldn't have seen me when the deer did and I'm also fairly confident that I would have seen me when the deer didn't.

I've been amazed at just how good their eyesight is and have found that while they might smell you and be nervous once they see you then you are really beat. I would guess that this also acts as confirmation of them having got a wiff of you etc.

I know that people tend to focus (no pun intended) on their sense of smell but I suspect that their eyesight is also quite remarkable under some circumstances. I'm not exactly sure what those circumstances are but I know that they can be different to when human eye sight is good.


Well-Known Member
No vote, as Likewise I mainly shoot Fallow, BUT.
I think a lot depends on what is familiar, i.e. the deer in Bushey Park aren't frightened of people dogs or cars.
Same species on the estate I stalk Run as soon as they spot me. Muntjak stand and watch me whether on foot or driving, guess what? We don't shoot munties! It would seem they soon grasp the concept of what is good for them.


Well-Known Member
I thought red deer on the hill had the best devolved eyesight. They rely on it more than there woodland cousins, so they have adapted to suit their new environment.

Best rgds


Monkey Spanker

Well-Known Member
Glad to see it is not just me that think Fallow are difficult!
I think you are right about the colour not mattering too much - after all, the Americans stalk in flourescent Cammo so they don't shoot each other. Deer just see it as another shade of grey. It does have to be a 'Disruptive Pattern Material' (DPM) though. I bet a few of you are now thinking: 'so that's what DPM stands for'! :lol:
Blacks and whites stand out to a deer too as do things with straight edges like rifles, sticks, highseat ladders. brimmed hats, etc.
Avoid shiny things which glint in the sunlight like stainless barrels, glasses, bino and scope lenses - keep them covered if possible as they can reflect like mirrors. silhouetting can give you away if you appear different to your background, worse still is if you are skylined!
I found the Fallow again this morning that inspired me to post this Poll in the first place. I crawled within 60m of them without being seen this time!
Three of them are now in my chiller!! ;)
Can I change my vote?! :lol:


Well-Known Member
I hav'nt voted as I think they all obviously they all have that knack of spotting the slightest movement, Thars comment about hinds on the hill makes a lot of sense, personally I find Fallow the hardest to get into, I think the main reason is that whilst a couple have thier heads down feeding, the rest keep a lookout.


Well-Known Member
I agree with you MS, Fallow are testing.

No matter what they are doing in a group there are always more than one keeping watch for the rest.

Tricky little suckers that make you smile and frown :) :(

Please to read you had a productive morning.


Monkey Spanker

Well-Known Member
buck52 you hit the nail on the head there which was something I should have mentioned earlier. Movement is the biggest giveaway. It's funny how sometimes you think they have spotted you and you 'freeze' for what seems like a lifetime. Some eventually carry on about their business giving you the chance to move like you should have in the first place - very slowly!! :)


Well-Known Member
I don't doubt that, as with us humans, movement can be a significant factor in deer vision. However, I don't think movement is always as important as we imagine and I've had them see me when I wasn't moving and I thought I was well hidden. Equally I've had them fail to see me when I was moving and was sure I was spotted. So, while I don't dispute the movement thing I think there is a lot more to it than that and they may be no more sensitive to movement that you or I.

In the end we are just guessing but from our experiences it may be possible to build up a reasonable picture of how deer process their vision. Movement is certainly a factor and as Monkey Spanker said black, white and edges seem to stand out for them making me think that, perhaps, they have some sort of contrast enhancement that we don't have. Either way just looking at the size of those eyes tells me that sight is very important indeed to them.

Heym SR20

Well-Known Member
Deer have very good eyesight in my experience - in fact so good that they can see inside your rifle to see if it has a round up the spout. If it doesn't they will show themselves and stand in perfect shot. Indeed am sure they can see inside my car before I even arrive on the ground - rifle in car - no sign of deer. No rifel = lots of deer.

If it is actually loaded and you want to try and shoot something then not a hope in hell will anything appear.

I have also noticed a similar response with Geese and other quarry.

Paul 600

Well-Known Member
I think the larger herd species probably have the edge, particularly if they are on the hill. Roe are thick I have stalked Roe in a fluorescent jacket! Muntjac although lovers of dense cover and therefore I think their eyesight will have evolved for close range work as opposed to long distance will definitely give you the one fingered salute if you catch them in the open! :evil:

Herd species rely on safety in numbers, hence when feeding having someone on stag or watch whist the others feed. The more in the herd the more possible pairs of eyes to look out!

I am sure scent plays just as much a part in survival as does sight?


Well-Known Member
fallow have the best eyesight i struggle to get close most of mine from highseat say 80%

eggy s

Well-Known Member
Its hard to tell.

When Stalking Roe, Munties, CWD. You are generally up against 1 or 2 animals so 2 or 4 eyes.

When stalking Red, Fallow, Sika. You are generally up against more sets of eyes.

Obvious that applies to Ears and Noses as well.

What really gets me is the Fallows ability to vanish in front of your eyes :doh:. I find Fallow the hardest to stalk which is why I enjoy the challenge.


Well-Known Member
Have only ever shot roe so unable to comment but movement and background are very important. In my experience all quarry species appear to have a 6th sense to when they are being hunted in particular carrion crows!!

In my youth I quickly learned not to maintain any form of eye contact with hares and when stalking them with an air rifle always approached at an angle to them, never directly, allowing me to get in range for a head shot (30+yrs ago).

Must say most species appear to know when they are being observed rather than being hunted, often similar to seeing a fox trotting through a field of bunnies, they seem to know when they aint on todays dinner menu.