Can Deer See Red Light?

As an avid hunter or nature enthusiast, you may have heard conflicting information about whether deer can see red light. Some hunters swear by red lights while others claim that deer can see them and avoid the area. So, can deer see red light?

But how do we know what colors deer can see? It’s a reasonable question. After all, we can’t live life like a deer and know what colors they can see firsthand. Scientists do know what to check for when determining color blindness in animals. Thereby, we know deer are colorblind to particular colors. 

Deer can perceive different colors than humans because their eyes are constructed differently than ours. While we are well equipped to see the red spectrum, such as with a blazing orange vest or a red flashlight, deer may not. 

In this post, we shall investigate the reality of deer vision and whether or not they can detect red light. 

Can Deer See Red Light?

It is important to understand how deer perceive the world around them. A deer’s eyes are located on the sides of their head. This gives them a wide field of view. 

Deer have a type of vision called dichromatic vision. This means they have two types of cone cells in their eyes that help them see colors. However, they have fewer color receptors in their eyes compared to humans, so they don’t see colors as vividly as we do. 

Studies on deer vision have produced conflicting results as to whether deer see red light. Deer have little sensitivity to red lights and see it as a grayish or brownish tone. This could be because the eye contains fewer cones. Deer have trouble seeing the long-wave color spectrum, which includes red and orange.

On the other hand, other studies propose that deer can indeed see red light to some extent. However, the way they see red light is different from how humans see it. A red light is perceived as less bright by deer than it is by humans. This is because deer’s eyes have fewer cones that are sensitive to red light. 

While deer have fewer color receptors in their eyes than humans, they are not completely color-blind. So, while deer can see red light, it appears dimmer to them than other colors. This means that using a red light to hunt or navigate in the woods may not be as effective as some people believe.

It’s worth noting that deer rely heavily on their exceptional low-light vision and motion sensing. This assists them in navigating their surroundings and detecting potential hazards. 

Will Red Light Spook Deer?

In fact, deer can’t tell the difference between red and other colors. So, there’s a chance they won’t be alarmed by the red light. 

Many hunters who utilize red lights have discovered that red light spooks deer less than green or white light. The color of the light beam fades into the background and becomes less apparent. 

However, the reason could be due to the brightness of the light rather than the color itself. As previously stated, red light is usually not as bright, thus deer should not find it as disturbing. But it is still light after all, and putting it squarely in their eyes may give them the signal to flee. 

In addition, deer won’t spook from the red light of the trail camera. There is plenty of photo and video evidence confirming that deer don’t care much for this type of light.

Pros And Cons Of Using Red Lights For Hunting

Using red lights has its pros and cons, just like any other hunting approach. Here are some of them:


  • Can help preserve your night vision.
  • Useful for blood tracking.
  • Less likely to spook deer than white lights.
  • Having a red light on in the dark can alert other hunters in the vicinity of your whereabouts. So, they won’t mistake you for an animal. It also doesn’t seem to affect wildlife as much.


  • Deer can still see the red light and avoid the area.
  • Doesn’t work as well as other colors for illuminating your surroundings.
  • Some hunters believe that using red lights is unethical since it may cause undue stress on the animal.

When Should You Use Red Light?

Although deer can see red light, this does not mean that utilizing one is ineffective. In fact, there are certain situations where using a red light can be advantageous. For example:

Blood Tracking

When trying to locate an injured deer, you can use a red light. It will allow you to observe blood without frightening the animal. Hunters have used this trick when hunting with great success. 

Night Hunting 

Using a red light can help preserve your night vision while still illuminating your surroundings. However, keep in mind that deer can still see the red light and may avoid the area.


The red light doesn’t reach as far as the white, yellow, or even green light. This means it will usually illuminate only a short distance directly in front of it. In that case, there is a smaller chance of deer noticing the brightness of the red light. As a result, scouting an area with a red light can be more beneficial. It won’t disturb the deer as much as a white light would. 

How To Use Red Light Effectively For Hunting? 

Here are some pointers to help you make the most of a red light if you choose to utilize one while hunting:

  • Avoid shining the light directly at the deer. As mentioned earlier, deer don’t discern the red color of the light but they can see its brightness.
  • Use the light sparingly and only when necessary because deer can sense light rays and movement.
  • Use it in combination with other hunting techniques such as scent control and camouflage. Furthermore, you should wear appropriate clothing and gear for the environment and weather conditions. Remember to always prioritize safety when hunting.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and make sure you’re not disturbing other hunters or wildlife.

Alternatives To Red Lights For Hunting

There are a number of solutions accessible if you’re seeking alternatives to red lights. Here are a few suggestions you can refer to: 

  • Green Lights: Deer see green light better than red light. A green light can illuminate your surroundings better than red light, but it may also spook deer if used improperly.
  • White Lights: While white lights may spook deer more easily, they provide better illumination than red or green lights.
  • Infrared Lights: Infrared lights are invisible to the human eye but can be detected by deer. They are useful for night vision, but keep in mind that some states prohibit their use for hunting.

Tips For Choosing The Best Light For Hunting

When hunting, selecting the appropriate light is critical. It will help you defend yourself and boost your hunting success rate. Check out some of our helpful tips below to consider while selecting the ideal hunting light. 

  • Consider Your Hunting Environment: The sort of environment in which you hunt will dictate which color of light is most effective. If you’re hunting in a densely forested region, consider utilizing a green or white light instead of a red light. 
  • Look For A Quality Light: Invest in a high-quality, long-lasting light that can handle hard hunting circumstances. You don’t want your light to go out just when you need it the most.
  • Choose The Right Brightness: Make certain that the light you select is bright enough for your needs. However, it is also not so bright that it spooks deer or disturbs other hunters. 
  • Check State Regulations: Some states have particular laws regarding the usage of hunting lights. As a result, you should double-check the rules before venturing out. 
  • Practice With Your Light: Before you go hunting, try using your light in various settings to become acquainted with it and establish its efficacy. Make sure that you are entirely conversant with its operation and are aware of its outstanding features. 


Can deer see red light? The short answer is yes. In summary, deer can see red light, but the way they see red light is different from how humans see it. This is due to the fewer cones in their eyes that are sensitive to red light. Red lights can be helpful for night hunting and blood tracking as well as for surveying an area without alarming the deer too much. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can use red light effectively. This will increase your chances of a successful hunt. 

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