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UVision FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about UVision

UVision Technology

Does the paint look like normal flat paint to us?

Parker Decoy Paint with UVision looks and acts like normal oil based paint.  The colors of our paints will appear normal to human eyes but will possess the UV reflection appropriate for that feathered area of the bird. Only by using UV imaging equipment will you be able to see the difference.

Isn't basic fluorescent white paint the same thing?

 Fluorescent paint which looks bright under a black light is not the same thing as UV-reflecting paint.  Fluorescent paint absorbs the UV portion of light and re-emits it at another wavelength – one that can be seen by humans.  This is why it appears bright to us.  Optical brighteners that are used in fabrics and detergents are based on this same effect.   UV reflective surfaces are different. They simply reflect the UV wavelengths rather than absorb them.  Since the wavelength is not affected by reflection, we are still unable to see them and the surfaces do not look any different to us.

Can't a normal black light be used to test for UV reflection?

 A normal blacklight does emit UV but our eyes can't see it.  Black lights also emit a small amount of visible light near the lower end of our wavelength range. This is the violet light we see when a black light is on.  You’d need UV imaging equipment to see the UV light coming off a black light.

 When our T-shirts glow under a black light, we are not seeing UV reflection.  Objects that glow under a black light are fluorescent - they absorb the UV and re-emit it as visible light. That's why a white t-shirt seems so bright under a black light, it takes the invisible UV and converts it to visible.  Blaze orange and other fluorescent colors do the same thing, just at different wavelengths.

 Some people mistakenly call fluorescent paint UV paint but it isn't. If an object glows brightly under a black light, it is absorbing UV.

So conventional snow goose decoys really look black to geese?

No. This is a common conclusion that many people reach after seeing our UV images. Birds see all the other wavelengths that we see in addition to UV.  So the birds don't see "black decoys" if only the UV is missing. We think it would be closest to someone describing what red looks like to a color blind person. We are like color blind geese. We can not see one of the colors that they can see.

For humans, if you had a white object and removed the blue component, it would appear yellow (follow the Exploratorium link to convince yourself). It's impossible to know right now exactly what a bird sees because color perception is part eye structure and part brain circuitry. Science knows a little about the former and even less about the latter. But we know that they see UV and that many of their feathers reflect UV.

Does the paint on regular decoys just not reflect UV light?

Yes, standard decoy paints don't have UV reflection (other than a small baseline). These paints absorb UV light for two reasons: 1) because the white pigment that most strongly reflects the visible wavelengths that humans see also strongly absorbs UV, and 2) to protect the paint from yellowing/oxidizing. These are the reasons why virtually every exterior paint is great at absorbing UV because coatings scientists want the paint to absorb UV to protect the substrate and the polymer binder of the paint. Parker Decoy paint with UVision has been formulated with non-yellowing paint that is opaque so that the underlying decoy shouldn't be exposed to UV if it is properly and evenly applied. The paint has been formulated to have the proper amount and type of UV reflectance to match the feather's reflectance.

How would this paint work for silhouettes or windsocks?

Tyvek does reflect UV, but windsock heads, either plastic or coroplast, do not.  Also, the gray paint on your windsocks should reflect some UV, but typically do not.  These two areas must be repainted in order to match the reflection of waterfowl feathers.  Sillosocks are now made with UV reflecting heads.

Do all waterfowl colors reflect UV?

No, not all waterfowl feathers reflect UV.  Generally it is the lighter colors: whites, tans, and grays. Darker browns and black do not reflect UV, nor do the greens, blues or reds.  Based on UV imaging and UV-Vis spectroscopy, we have reformulated only UV reflective colors.


How much of a difference does UVision make?

Experienced hunters who have used our products have noticed a difference in the way ducks and geese respond to decoys with our paint.  In general, our testers have seen the biggest difference on bright sunny days and with mature birds. Other factors will still matter:good cover, camouflage, decoy type, spread design, location, weather and luck.

If you were to use stuffers, would you get the same effect?

Our paints are formulated to be the same colors (including UV) as the natural birds and would match that of stuffers as well.  Some fullbodies are identical in form to stuffers and even have more lifelike motion but we believe that the mature birds learn to recognize the color difference.  We think that correcting this difference may make fullbodies as effective as stuffers.

Does UVision only work on snow geese?

Because snow geese have the most white feathers, it makes sense that non-UV reflective decoys will be the most noticeable to snow geese.  However, other waterfowl have a significant amount of UV reflection.  The cheeks, rump and breast of a Canada Goose all reflect UV, as does the back of a mallard drake.  Pintails, canvasbacks, bluebills and many other ducks have large areas of white which have a bright UV component. Typically, these are the areas of a bird that stand out when seen from a distance.

Do the birds still see colors like the green on a mallard and the blue on its wings?

They see all of the wavelengths that we see, but those colors look different to birds because their eye and brain structures are different.  This is true for both UV reflective colors and non UV reflective colors. Bird cones (the color receptors on their retinas) are not sensitive to the same wavelengths as humans.  Bird cones are also more sensitive in blue, violets, and UV. These facts along with brain structure differences (and some other cool things) make their vision system so different that they see colors in a much more sophisticated way than we can imagine because it is not within the realm of our sensory experience.

We’ve been successfully hunting waterfowl for many years, why would we need UVision?

Hunters know that conventional decoys work.  Even very primitive decoys, like milk jugs, have been used successfully to bring in birds.  However, better realism makes decoys more effective, especially under tough conditions or with mature birds.  Decoys with more realistic shape, texture, and motion have been developed over the years, but differences in bird and human color vision have not been correctly addressed until UVision was developed.  If you believe that you get better results with more realistic decoys, then you believe that UVisiontechnology can help you make the most of your hunting.

But waterfowl hunting is as much about eliminating threats as it is about realistic decoys. After experiencing hunting pressure over time, ducks and geese can learn to avoid potentially threatening situations.  We believe decoys with incorrect color can be a signal to these birds that hunters are near.  Juvenile birds may not know any better, but having the right colors can be critical when trying to bring in mature birds who have been shot at a few times.


Can the paint be applied the same way as regular paint?

Parker Decoy Paint with UVison technology contains proprietary pigments and a unique formulation, but it is still paint. It behaves the same way that you would expect any other oil based paint to behave.  There are no special techniques that need to be used to apply our paint.

Can I spray the paint?   

Yes, Parker decoy paint can be sprayed using conventional spraying equipment.

Can I thin the paint?

Yes, it can be thinned using normal paint thinners.

Are there any special precautions that need to be taken?

UVision technology does not pose any special safety or environmental risks.  Of course, you should take all of the normal precautions when dealing with oil based paint, including ensuring adequate ventilation.

Can I adjust the color by mixing with other paint?

Yes, but you need to be careful.  To adjust UV reflective colors, you can mix them with other UV reflective colors.  To lighten the color, simply add white paint. To darken them, add one of the tan colors. 

Can I paint over the existing paint on my decoys?

Adhesion of Parker Decoy Paint to existing paint should be excellent.  However, you must make sure that the existing paint is adhered well to the plastic substrate.  If there is any sign of peeling or chipping, it is recommended that you remove it before repainting.

How well does the paint stick to bare plastic?

As an oil based paint, Parker Decoy Paint has excellent adhesion to plastic.  The addition of UVision technology to these paints does not in any way diminish the adhesion or durability that hunters have enjoyed over the years.

Can I apply the paint to Tyvek?

Applying paint to a flexible substrate such as Tyvek presents some challenges for adhesion and durability.  However, we have had many customers who have successfully done this. Please be aware that Tyvek is naturally UV reflective, so there is no need to paint it white. Only the gray (UV reflective)  or black (non-UV reflective) areas would ever need to be painted.

Can I apply the paint to foam or cork decoys?

 Many of our customers have painted foam or cork decoys with great results.


Can I buy UVision in stores?

 Parker decoy paint kits are available at numerous retail outlets. Be sure to look for the UVision logo to be assured that you are buying UV reflective paint.

 How long will it take to receive my order?

Most orders are shipped within 48 hours. You will be notified if there are any delays for your order.