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jbell1981

Dawn/Dusk Blindness?

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My 10 year old son made it out deer hunting this weekend. I noticed at dawn and dusk he could not see deer unless they were running. The most extreme case was a fawn feeding at about 5pm. It was about 30 yards in front of us. It had brush behind it and its head was down most of the time but it was slowing moving up and then down a small hill. The entire time my son would have had a great opportunity to take it but he couldn't see it, at all. It eventually made its way down the small hill out of sight. So I decided we would walk around downwind and try to stalk it. We had a successful stalk and got back to with-in 15-20 yards of it. It didn't even notice us, it would look in our direction occasionally but then would just get back to eating grass. At this point I didn't think we could get any closer without spooking it. So I told him to aim and take his shot. The only problem was, he still didn't see it! It was getting dark, almost closing time and it still had brush behind it but at this distance and with it milling around and looking up now and then I thought for sure he had seen it while we were stalking it. Well at this point I made a bunch of sudden movements to spook it and it ran about 10 yards and then stopped. My son said he seen it while running but lost it again when it stopped. I did the same thing again but this time it ran out of sight and it was about closing time anyway.

This is just one example but I noticed he was having trouble with this at other times over the weekend to. He has been tested and isn't colorblind. He does where glasses and even with them has terrible eyesight (can't get them even close to 20/20 with glasses).

Anyone else experience something similar with themselves or their kids? Any suggestions on how to train his eyes to see better at dawn & dusk. I worry that this will be an issue for him in the future for other things, not just hunting, if not corrected.

The short grass path is where the deer was walking in my example above. It went up the hill and down the otherside. We stalked it from the field shown here. We were standing next to a fence post similar to the one shown here but to the right of where this was taken.

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Yellow glass in his glasses (or perhaps a pair of goggles over his existing pair) may help him get better definition

I would schedule an appointment with the eye doc (maybe a different one) and describe to him what you described here..just to double check anyway

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a buddy of mine has very bad eyes as well. maybe try a pair of amber shooting glasses. the ones big enough to fit over his regular glasses

i wear them as well and it does really help esp during low light

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some people just don't see that well in darkness. My wife seems to be average at being able to see when it's fairly dark, while I can still make out little details on the ground. Some of our other friends are virtually blind in the dark, even under street lights.

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I would schedule an appointment with the eye doc (maybe a different one)

If he were my kid, this is what I'd do.

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Check for colorblindness and nearsightedness. That said, deer are hard to pick out right now. My 15 year old nephew had a terrible time picking out deer that were only 60 yards away in the woods, even when they were moving. Some of it is experience also. I know that having glasses has made all the difference in the world to my son. He is seeing things he never new were there and we had no idea he needed glasses.

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Check for colorblindness and nearsightedness.

As I said, he has been checked for colorblindness and has been negative each time. He does wear glasses and has terrible eyesight even with them, hence the appointments every 6 months for adjustments.

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I think its just part of being new to it and not knowing what to look for. My son had a similar thing happen to him this weekend. If there were snow on the ground I bet your boy would have been able to see it. Its almost like a depth perception thing. With the brush in the background and brown grass, etc its tough to see these buggers.

Still, make sure to mention it with a doc, but I bet more time in the field and possibly some shooting lenses would help vs having an actual issue with his eyesight.

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I also agree that it can be chalked up to inexperience. Even with 20/20 vision it is hard to see a deer in the woods at low light. Over time, I think a person realizes to not squint into a certain area, but relax your eyesight and take a broader, movement oriented look at things.

I know a few years ago I could swear there was a buck bedded down only 30 yards away from me - A NICE ONE!!! but every time I brought my scope up I couldn't find the bugger. Ended up being a fallen tree branch right next to a stump. Hey, I really sat still that last 20 minutes though laugh

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Don't underestimate inexperience when it comes to seeing wildlife. If the kid sees the doc and has prescription lenses and no other diagnoses, the simplest solution was he was 10.

I can't tell you how many times I've worked with kids and tried to point out, in bright daylight, a bird in the air or creature in the water and they just don't see it, but a big bunch of movement will draw their eye's attention immediately. Even if the eyes are working well enough, it's still a 10 year old with a brain that doesn't handle that visual data as well as an adult.

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My nephew couldn't spot the deer at all in the woods. Maybe it is all experience. Only thing I would say is a little odd is that the deer wasn't in the woods. If he has trouble seeing regardless, it could be very tough to pick out a deer at dusk. Does he do any other hunting? Maybe going after some squirrels will help him get used to picking out movement and camouflaged critters.

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Just taking a stab here, but I'd venture that's a combination of inexperience, and perhaps poor eyesight as well. The fact that you know he has trouble seeing well, even with his current eyewear, is really going to be a large contributing factor when trying to make out an animal that is extremely well camouflaged, even in an open grass field.

I feel bad for your little guy. I can only imagine how frustrated he must have been knowing there was a deer in front of him, but he couldn't quite make it out.

I took my 3 sons hunting waterfowl this year, and none of them could make out the birds I was seeing easily in the distance. It wasn't that my eyesight is any better then theirs. It was simply many years of experience going toward "how" to see them, and where to look. Same thing can be said for when I take friends and family grouse hunting. My hunting partners rarely pick out birds on the ground, while I can see them all the time in all kinds of cover.

I think the others might be onto something with the suggestion of having your boy wear some shooting glasses, or even a pair of those high resolution fishing sunglasses. They might really help him zero in on clearer definition, and particularly minor movements.

Best of luck to you, and please let us know how it works out. smile

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I have had many eye surgeries and wear thick glasses so my low light vision sucks. I believe its actually that the sky is lighter than the ground, not just the darkness that's the big problem. I have a scope on everything I shoot as they tend to gather light. I also always wear a cap with a brim as it really helps to reduce glare. Have your son use binoculars to scan the brush while hunting and that should help too. Also kids just are not looking for the deer like an experienced hunter. I took my son out west and he was complaining about no deer. While we were standing there I pointed out at least 5 different deer that were in plan sight to me.

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Thanks for all the suggestions and comments. I picked up a pair of amber glasses to see if they help at all. Headed back out this afternoon so we will see how it goes.

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Maybe the other guys are onto something about kids not able to identify wildlife sometimes, but I would check with your pediatrician for a recommendation on a proper pediatric eye specialist. If you have already done that, ask for a second specialist for another opinion.

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Like others have said I think experience should help. It could have been that he was almost looking too hard for them. They do blend into the background and you almost need to just relax your eyes and slowly scan the woods for them. If he got anxious or excited he was probably looking to fast and focusing too much on small details while trying to find it.

The amber glasses could also help. My scope came with the amber covers that go over the scope and it brightens everything up significantly. And of course keep talking to the DR during your visits. He may have more suggestions.

But for now try having him slow down and relax and slowly scan the woods in front of him.

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Thanks for all the suggestions and comments. I picked up a pair of amber glasses to see if they help at all. Headed back out this afternoon so we will see how it goes.

i think they'll help out alot. most of the hunter party wears them now as well since they've realize the benefits.

besides being able to see better in all conditions esp low light, its also eye protection.

too many times have i been slapped in the face/eyes by branches, tall grass, debris... and now every time i thank my lucky stars i have them on.

Goodluck and let us know how they worked for him

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