That being said, how about MT Decoys??? How about the hunter who says he's attracted an elks attention with a brown burlap sack or brown coat of some sort? You hear comments as this now & then, can it really happen? My conclusions say the odds aren't good that they can. Elk can see a form of a representation such as an elk or other animal & make an identity that way for sure or false quick movements can get their attention quickly, but colors, well, is the jury still out on that one? (grin)
Too, I've been in countless encounters with elk wearing various patterns & colors of camo & many times with no camo & if I don't move I've had elk within 10yds many times & not be recognized till I did move or the arrow went flying. So I don't feel colors are their strong points!! (grin)
How about you?
I've had enough close encounters under full camo vs. orange to have no doubt they see orange- although they usually wait for a secondary stimulus to spook- i.e. movement or smell to confirm their eyes. Deer are either more visually challenged or just dumber, maybe a combination of the two. A couple yrs ago I had the rare priviledge to hunt Wy w/ a bow under winter conditions- 16-20" of snow and donning my goose hunting snow camo was able to have them stare right thru me from 20-40 yards and they seemed to have no ability to pick me out even with small amts of movement. Possibly because of all the wet heavy snow that was constantly falling off the branches masked any white on white movement. It would be fun to do more research on the matter- not because I enjoyed it but only for science's sake- maybe could get a grant- couple million would cover expenses.
Seriously, the jury is still out as far as I'm concerned. I would wager they can make some color distinction but what that is, I don't have a clue.
I know most close encounters I have with elk are when I am on my knees (praying :)). I often wonder if they are looking over me or through me?
I have worn many shades of camo (even some home-made) and there is little difference in an elk's reaction to any of them. I have also worn plaid shirts of different colors (red, green, blue, or black) on top of levis with no indication on the elk's part. Anything that has broken shades of color blends in with the surroundings. I have never had any reason to wear camo orange before, so, I can't speak to that...
Now, when I encounter elk while wearing a white t-shirt and a straw cowboy hat, they pick me up real quick! And, of course, out in the open cienegas the human form is the give-away.
I have been hidden in thick cover and busted elk 100 yards across an open cienega with my scent. Other times, I have been inside an elk herd with no alarm, because there was no wind. Once, my buddy called three bulls in to us from different directions in open timber. We were trapped for 3-4 minutes standing out in the open, with a small 5x5 about eight yards in front of us, yet they still kept coming. Standing still, we blended in...when we moved, they left!
My conclusion? Shape, movement and smell are the big give-aways to elk, not color.
I think the same goes with elk. They may not be able to see color as we see it. But, brown or red or what ever is still a distinct color to them even if it may be in different shades of white, black, or gray.
Hope this makes a little sence. LOL!
I have had similar experinces to those above. But what we know about animals....or what scientist thought they knew about animals changes all the time...the way they communicate...how it all works for them
Squirrel, I read that same article as well, their conclusion was still up in the air as why the elk went to certain bowls, but they did! I never go on just one thing when coming to an answer so to speak. Everything must fit together in all aspects trying to figure out what they do see & don't see or able to identify?
So maybe I can re-phrase my thoughts in this way? I see there are many thoughts & ideas as to camo or the blob look. Too, can elk pick out the human figure standing or kneeling, identify it as a threat & bolt off as if you saw an intruder in your home & you re-acted quickly to it? Do elk see orange or any color & immediately bolt from it? From my experience elk cannot see colors to the extent they are alarmed at its sight & run, no matter what the color is. We've been in blue,red,black,greens,tans,browns & many solid colors of various shades with no recognition of flight on the elks part. We've never worn just a white T-Shirt! This tells us though that basic colors hunters use is irrelevant. We've personally worn lots of different combinations. My son used to wear a solid green heavy army type shirt with no camo or breakup, he just like the shirt, he took at least 6 bulls with that shirt on which most were all very close encounters. I too have been in similar situations over the years where elk were no more than 5' to 10yds out & never picked me or us out & bolted, sure they stare in your direction to try & figure out if you're a threat or not but never has there been a solid identification & be gone, in most every case they would settle down & continue feeding or whatever they were doing, if I moved then they were outa there.
That's the point though, color meant nothing as well as the human figure no matter the position. Elk have not run at the sight of certain colors or shapes from us. Not saying they don't see certain shades of this & that but I am saying they are not alarmed what so ever if you do not move. The blob effect doesn't concern them either, there are plenty of rocks, stumps, tree trunks & so forth that look the same to them.
So why do some say elk are alarmed at certain things & others say they are not alarmed at the same things? It's because someone moved in my opinion on the basis of my experience & findings! We've taken at least a doz elk inside 10yds, in most cases there were 2 hunters together, several times we've been caught out in the open with absolutely nothing around & have elk walk to within yds from us, we'd get a look but that's about it. As long as you have the wind in your favor you can pull off the unexpected!! I'm sure many here have the same findings as us!!
That said, I think overbo has a great point ... reflectivity. There's more to sight than color. There's intensity, and then there is the interpretation, i.e. "that doesn't belong here," which is the main tool of any prey animal, whether they see color or not.
Personally, I don't know. They wind me long before they see me!
I'm not referring to you moving or walking & you come upon them & then you stop or freeze, that's too late you are busted!!! I'm talking about elk either walking by on their own or you've called them to your position, don't move or get winded & they will not ever notice you to the point that they run off, I absolutely guarantee it!!!
As other, yes, black and white "color" and all of the shades in between.
I quote from an article, " It would be more accurate to say that elk/deer don't see color as we do. They somehow see it as we do in black and white photographs.
I agree about the movement issue.
I don't know if they've got cones or not, but someone does, and without them, they can't see color. With them, they can. End of story.
Color, though, is a small part of what we/they see. I'd bet (speculation alert) that color really doesn't matter. I'd also bet that anyone's anecdote about being seen/not seen by an elk would be very unclear as to just what the elk "saw" ... color, reflection, shape, movement, eyes, who knows? Better yet, who can tell?
Well, maybe blue...they may see blue the same way.
Now if we examine wildlife colorization, keeping two things in mind, it becomes a tad more understandable. #1-The animals who use protective colorization to either hunt or hide are all basically three colors. Those colors being tan, brown, black and white. White being an absence of color, not a color. So the animals they are hiding from or stalking have trouble seeing those colors clearly.
Now. On the other hand, #2-the animals that do see true colors often are more brightly colored. A turkey being a perfect example. Birds are especially brightly colored and most often the male more so than female because color is often an attractor during mating.
Now to examine further, we might hypothesize that because we humans do see in full color, we do not recognize the protective colorization of amy animals. The reason obviously being, we see those colors differently than the animals see it.
Class over, quiz next week :)
I also have to enter into the equation our personal experiences along with what I'm reading. My personal opinion is they don't see much of anything to the extent of alarming them. Kinda like you turn a corner in a shaded alley way & there's a guy there pointing a gun at you, you have that immediate fright & just want outa there. I've not found there's any color or human figure where Elk display such a reaction? In other words they show no fear unless that object moves, if it's camoed or not, standing or kneeling doesn't matter. I was curious as to others experiences without getting scientific! (grin) Most scientists aren't hunters, I trust mine & yours findings over a book!
What we found (we being some guys with lots of letters after their names and dumb ass me)is that some colors blend with any background, some stand out. Now this is in terms of animal reaction. But the defining factor was movement.
Some colors, when moved, elicited a quicker repsonse than others. Surprisingly, the two "hot" colors were blue and grey.
Then, when they did spectrographic analysis, the muted tones of tan, brown and surprisingly, black, gave back the least tonal bounce. Now what does that mean?
I have no idea. Where legal, I wear a camo pattern that is the same colors as the animals I hunt. I have nothing more to add. Except this:
Ever watched a TV show where the hunter is in full camo and guide, standing right to him, has on blaze orange hat and vest.
I know for a certain fact, you can go stark raving crazy trying to understand all this BS and find the right camo and the right scent etc. etc.. The rest of us are going to go hunt.
another reason to go buy more camo I guess.
The fact here is that she did pick out my shape or color laying on the ground with my head propped up on my arm. I did not move a muscle. I was wearing blue jeans and a solid shirt of a color I do not remember.
But I don't know jack about colorization, I'm just guessing.