Can Turkeys See In The Dark?

Wild turkey standing on branch in sunset

Turkeys don’t have good night vision. This is why they usually sleep in trees, as it gives them protection against predators such as coyotes. 

If you’re hunting turkeys when the weather is unpleasant and the visibility is poor, you will have to take some extra precautions. You’ll also need to know some important things about how turkeys see. 

This is also important if you’re on a multi-day hunt and you don’t want the turkeys to detect you at night. Read on to find out more about a turkey’s night vision.


Turkeys’ Eyesight: How Good Is It?

How Good Is Turkeys’ Eyesight:

Turkeys have excellent vision. They can detect motion from many yards away. It’s been said that their vision is up to three times better than 20/20 vision, so they can see much better than humans. 

Here are some other important and fascinating facts about turkeys’ vision:

  • They see in color due to their flattened corneas. Their eyes are equipped with a mix of cone and rod photoreceptors, which enables them to see a wider variety of colors than humans. They can also see UV light.
  • Turkeys have a cone in their retinas that is spectral sensitive, letting them see UV light. This is why turkeys can detect your clothing even when you’re wearing camo. If you use a laundry detergent that contains brighteners, it leaves behind UV residue, which turkeys will be able to detect!
  • Turkeys have seven types of photoreceptors, one is a rod, and six are cones. Rods detect the intensity of light and cones help turkeys to see different colors. Humans only have one type of rod and three types of cones in their retinas.
  • Turkeys have a periscopic vision as their eyes are on the sides of their heads. So, they don’t only see in front of them but all around them. Wild turkeys can easily detect movement and details quickly, which is why they have powerful daytime vision.
  • Turkeys can see objects from a distance, even with their eyes that are far apart from each other. Turkeys are smart enough to make up for that biological drawback by bobbing their heads so that their eyes can detect distance and depth in their surroundings. 

Based on the visual features that turkeys have, it’s clear to see that turkeys rely on their vision to stay safe from predators. 

Can Turkeys See In The Dark? 

Turkeys around tree

Although turkeys can see well during daylight hours, they don’t have powerful night vision. This is why they head to trees to sleep at night, as it provides them with greater protection against predators. They are certainly more active during the day. 

Their lack of night vision causes turkeys to become nervous when night falls, but they do have excellent hearing, so you still have to be careful. Turkeys can hear sounds that are further away distances at lower frequencies than humans can. 

This is why it is ideal to hunt turkeys around sunset when they’re a bit more vulnerable. However, you have to be careful to ensure that your clothing, blind, and any other accessories you have with you don’t reflect any light, as turkeys will be able to detect it. 

A Turkey’s Field Of Vision: Important Features To Know

Turkey’s Field Of Vision

When it comes to a turkey’s eyesight, they have a strong field of vision.

Turkeys have a broad field of view, enabling them to see about 270 degrees around them. This is due to their eyes, which can move independently from each other. This is called monocular periscope vision. 

This vision is achieved without them even having to turn their necks, which can be worrying for turkey hunters, who can be seen approaching the turkeys from plenty of angles.

In the past, if you approached a turkey from the side when hunting, you might have been surprised by how quickly it became alarmed. You probably did nothing wrong, it’s just that the turkey would have seen you in its peripheral vision without moving its head. Now you know that you’ll have to approach turkeys even more carefully in the future! 

Turkeys are smart because they can bob their heads and rotate their necks to increase their field of vision even more, as we mentioned earlier. If you’ve ever seen turkeys bob their heads a lot outdoors, it is to collect more visual data from their surroundings. 

Based on the above facts about turkey vision, you’ll have to ensure that you try to remain as undetected as possible, even when you’re approaching turkeys from the side. This is especially important considering that turkeys can see up to 100 yards ahead of them. 

It’s useful to take a hunting blind with you to your hunt. It will not only help you to blend into your natural surroundings, but it will also prevent you from giving yourself away as you won’t be moving too much. Turkeys are able to detect the slightest motion, so you have to be as still as possible.  

Related Questions 

Below you will find answers to some common questions turkey hunters ask themselves.

What laundry detergent is best for hunters to use? 

Night hunting turkeys

To help you remain undetected by the animals you’re trying to hunt, make sure your laundry detergent doesn’t contain optical brighteners. A good example is Arm and Hammer Clean & Simple. It doesn’t contain any dyes, brighteners, or phosphates.

Which decoys will fool turkeys?

Since turkeys have such excellent vision, you should ensure you use realistic turkey decoys, such as motion decoys. Mix your spread with different decoy positions to increase its realism. 

Is it a good idea to hunt turkeys in the fog? 

Foggy weather conditions can be useful as they help you to remain better concealed when approaching turkeys. If the fog is heavy though, turkeys usually spend more time in their roosts. 


 Although they have excellent vision during the day, as we’ve explored in this article, a turkey’s vision deteriorates at night. You can use this to your advantage by hunting turkeys in low-visibility conditions.

We’ve also featured some important tips to help you hunt turkeys better during the day, even when they can see you from far away. 


Rate this post

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *