You probably believe that government agencies and trade associations protect us from false and misleading advertising and label claims. This is not true. Unless you are ready to finance Lamborghinis for lawyers, you can do little more than ask an offending competitor to play nice.
Just as our tax code protects the super rich from paying the taxes we pay (1). Most of the marketing claims are carefully crafted to seem to tell consumers what they want to hear, while not promising anything meaningful, as in the case of “Greenwashing”. This can be especially true in niche markets that are not worth a lawyer’s time.
The ability of deer to see UV Brighteners in clothing has been a glowing example of how this can work to the disadvantage of the consumer. Fortunately, it is easy to reveal the presence of UV Brighteners with a UV Light in a darkened room so you don’t have to be fooled, you can check your camo, blaze orange, and everything you wear or carry in the field.
The best light for this is a fluorescent tube marked 350 BLB. It is dark purple when not lit, and is available in sizes from 4” to 48” and also as a CFL. The next best choice would be an LED light that peaks between 365 and 380 nanometers. You can buy black lights most anywhere lighting products are sold. Atsko offers several sizes and an article detailing how to choose and use a black light to detect UV Brighteners.
When you are able to detect UV Brighteners, you are no longer at the mercy of dishonest marketers because you can confirm or disprove their claims yourself. For example, if a washing product or scent product claims to contain “UVX” for the purpose of eliminating UV Glow, you can test it yourself. Simply apply the product to glowing white cloth or blaze orange or camouflage while observing by Black Light the change in brightness of the glow. For the sake of comparison, also apply a drop of U-V-Killer so you can see what should have happened had the claim been true.
Some products only claim not to contain UV brighteners. This can also be checked easily with your Black Light. Simply put a drop of the product on a white paper plate. You should not be using boosters, bleaches, fabric softeners, or conditioners of any kind when washing hunting clothes, but if you do you must test them with the Black Light. The only laundry product you don’t have to test is Sport-Wash, because we make it ourselves and we use it ourselves.
Many hunters washing products now have some kind of “NO UV Brightener” symbol. They must be tested, because only a few companies like Atsko actually make their own products. It would be very easy for a contract manufacturer to accidentally contaminate a batch with brightener or fragrance. And don’t be fooled by a “NO UV” symbol that seems to promise it will remove brighteners. That is not the promise. The symbol only means that it will not ADD new brighteners. No laundry product, NOT EVEN BRAND NAME SPORT-WASH, can “remove” UV Brighteners. Sport-Wash states this boldly on the label. Others want you to assume incorrectly, that they will wash away existing brighteners.
The only fix for UV Glow is U-V-Killer. Even U-V-Killer does not fix it by removing the brighteners. It removes the GLOW by applying a permanent, transparent UV absorbing coating. By absorbing the UV energy that would otherwise cause the brighteners to floures, this invisible coating stops the Glow. This is a permanent coating.
As long as you never wash in anything but Sport-Wash it should last for years. It would be smart to test your clothes with a UV light before each season to confirm that they haven’t been contaminated by someone else. There is also some risk from residues in the washer and dryer unless you use Sport-Wash exclusively. You might want to do this at least during hunting season. You may find that all your clothes come out cleaner, softer, less irritating and of course, odor free. You may actually save money and make your clothes last longer too.
You have probably been busted more often by vision than by smell. This is certain with birds but may be less obvious with deer other game. When a deer breaks cover at 100 yards upwind and is staring right at you, it may not be a scent problem. There are scores of companies trying to sell you a scent solution but only Atsko can tell you how he busted you and supply a product to fix it. It is the most important product in hunting and exclusive to Atsko .
About 25 years ago, when Atsko first connected the dots between animal vision and UV Brighteners, there was tremendous interest. Within a few years most camo marketers were claiming not to have UV Brighteners in their clothes. In a few more years, many of the competing hunting detergents added some words about not having brighteners. There were even attempts to make glow eliminators to compete with U-V-Killer, but the best names, U-V-Block and U-V-Shield were already used by Atsko for other products. Atsko began publishing a book, HOW GAME ANIMALS SEE AND SMELL, to share this information with the hunting community. In August of 1992, vision researchers from the University of California brought their equipment to the University of Georgia to measure the spectral sensitivity of living dear for the first time ever by electro-retinagraph. The results confirmed the data Atsko had been publishing.
About this time most camo manufacturing had moved off shore. This made it much more difficult to insure that the camo was free of brighteners. Particularly in the case of a last minute order, it could be impossible to find stock material that was not already “pre-brightened”. A marketer might receive a container full of camo, only to learn that some or all of it glowed under UV light. This was particularly inconvenient if the garments had tags that claimed that they were “UV FREE”. Proper planning and controls could have solved this problem. Indeed, the US military will not buy any camo that glows under UV light. But after pulling the tags from a container load of clothes, most marketers would rather just ignore what deer see and concentrate on how well it hides you from human vision. Since they are the biggest source of ad dollars, there was no need for the media to keep dredging up information about the difference between deer vision and human vision.
Anyone who wanted to, could find comfort in the fact that maybe the whole thing was just a scam to sell Sport-Wash and U-V-Killer. They could say that “ just because the study proved that the living deer eye saw short blue wavelengths of light which humans cannot see, it doesn’t prove that the deer brain could receive and use that information.”
In each developing organism the brain must learn to accept input from all available sources and process it into organized information that it can act upon. It is reasonable to assume that if eyes are sending their responses, the brain is probably making use of them. Still not proof enough for a dedicated skeptic. So Atsko went on publishing their book and bringing their important knowledge and products to hunters. Now, more confident than ever, but still risking embarrassment and ridicule if the deer brain could not make sense of short blue light.
A new behavioral study of deer vision just published in May of 2014 in the Wildlife Society Bulletin (2). This study is final proof that deer see the short blue glow of UV brighteners hundreds of times better than humans. It would be an understatement to say they see them better than we see blaze orange. The results correspond so perfectly with the original predictions of Drs Neitz and Jacobs, that we won’t be changing anything in our book, HOW GAME ANIMALS SEE AND SMELL. It is sweet to be proven right after 25 years.
So now there is renewed pressure for competitors to jump on the bandwagon. There will be UV claims on everything from soap to scent spray and feed to decoys. Some will be true. Some will be meaningless. Some will be based on complete misunderstanding and some will be downright counterproductive. There may be no way to test the claims of scent products, but fortunately you can easily test UV claims yourself.
Unless you want to choose your hunting products by the rushing stats of their spokesman, YOU NEED A UV LIGHT!
(1) - Perfectly Legal by David Cay Johnston
(2) - Behavioral measure of the light-adapted visual sensitivity of white-tailed deer
Bradley S. Cohen1,*, David A. Osborn1,George R. Gallagher2, Robert J. Warren1and Karl V. Miller
1Article first published online: 16 MAY 2014
DOI: 10.1002/wsb.438 © The Wildlife Society, 2014