What Color Is That Blood?

Colorblind hunters need to get creative to stay on tough blood trails.

If you're colorblind, spray a mixture of two parts water with one part hydrogen peroxide onto the trail. The hydrogen peroxide makes blood foam, which enables you to see the blood.

For each 100 men reading this, some 12 of you are colorblind. Women are more fortunate, with only about 1 in 200 suffering the condition.

Symptoms of colorblindness vary. Most common is the inability to distinguish between red and green, second the inability to distinguish blue and yellow. The red and green affliction almost always accompanies the blue and yellow. And then comes achromatopsia -- the inability to see any colors. Remember black-and-white TV? That's how these folks see the world.

What does this have to do with bowhunting? Well, when you can't distinguish red, you have a hard time following a blood trail, a big part of successful bowhunting. As a member of the red-and-green club, I have experienced that firsthand.

The most common affliction of colorblindness is the inability to distinguish red and green, an obvious handicap in blood-trailing. Various products can help anyone overcome this handicap.

"I know I hit him solid," I told my partner. Thirty minutes earlier, I had shot a beautiful 4x4 whitetail. I knew the arrow had blown through both lungs. Still, I could not follow the blood trail and had to call in my buddy to help scour the ground for sign. An hour later, we -- actually, he -- found the buck stone dead. Instead of taking the obvious trail, the buck had circled wide, and I had missed the blood.

How do you know if you are colorblind? Get an eye exam. I was just a few hours shy of earning my pilot's license when I went in for an eye exam to complete the procedure. The eye doctor laid it on me. "You can fly, but not at night. You're colorblind."

Really weird taste in clothing could be an indicator, too. My wife still laughs at my purchase of a "bright blue" King Rope baseball cap that actually turned out to be a somewhat feminine shade of purple.

Recognizing that you are colorblind is the first step in overcoming the deficiency as you try to follow a blood trail.

Here are five ways to find your buck despite your handicap:
1. Mix two parts water and one part hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle. Anywhere a blood trail runs thin, "spritz" the ground with the solution. The hydrogen peroxide will make any blood it contacts foam up. This brew even works on old blood, and it shows up well under the light of a lantern or flashlight.
2. Buy a commercial spray. Tink's Starlight Bloodhound (www.tinks69.com) highlights blood trails in the dark. Locate the point of impact or the blood trail and spray the area with the product. Chemicals in the spray make blood glow in the dark for an easy-to-follow trail. Another product that enhances blood trails is Bluestar Blood Tracking Reagent (www.bloodglow.com).
3. Try the Game Finder Pro Illuminator (www.game-finder.com). This flashlight-sized unit scans for body heat and includes blood-tracking technology. Distinct tones notify you if you're getting hot or cold. Also, check out the Primos line of Bloodhunter Lights (https://shop.primos.com/c-110-blood-trailing-lights.aspx).
4. Consider using a string tracker like Eastman's String Tracker 2500 (www.eastmanoutfitters.com). String trackers are not new, but the concept remains valid. They augment any blood trail by laying down an easy-to-follow string trail.
5. Use man's best friend. Mistakenly called blood-tracking dogs, well-trained dogs can differentiate the smell of wounded deer from healthy animals. Check state laws regarding the use of tracking dogs. For more information on this subject, contact www.deersearch.org.

Roughly 12 percent of men suffer some form of colorblindness. Only about one in 200 women are colorblind. Colorblind persons can adapt to hunt normally.

As for me, I'll probably just stick with my best friend to help me track deer. I feed him occasionally for helping me, but at least I don't have to clean out his kennel.

The author is an outdoor writer from Sheridan, Wyoming.

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