“The Five Senses”
It may seem odd to say, but there are a great many hunters who do not fully understand the purpose of camouflage. It is far more than just a way to fade into the background, or blend with any and all locations so that the wildlife you seek can remain oblivious to your presence. Some hunters only worry about the ‘visual’ when it comes to camouflage and tend to disregard the other senses that animals own. Sly, crafty, sneaky, stealthy – to be a successful hunter all of these things come into play – and the concept of camouflage should be explored far beyond the basic fact that it allows you to ‘disappear.’
As we all know, animals don’t see shapes and colors the way we do – it is actually the stance and figure that humans have that cause the animal to be able to identify them. In that respect, camouflage allows the animal to be confused because our stature is what is muddled; it’s almost as if their eyes waver and can’t see through the illusion that there’s a human form in the vicinity. Color is important, of course, to blend in with the specific backdrop – but it’s not the only important thing when it comes to causing visual confusion. It is the shape and pattern that makes the animal not realize exactly how close a human may be standing.
The experts say that when it comes to hunting on hills or in open fields, it is the large blocks of color that should be used. Reason being, is that these are particular areas that are infused with broad blocks of color and not the smaller mounds of leaves, foliage, twigs, random weeds, etc., that would constitute a forest scene. Therefore, deep in the woods, small botches of color and varied colors are what should make up your choice of camouflage.
Hunters atop those hills or out in those open fields can really cut out some of the hard work by just picking out camo that is the dominant color of their chosen hunting territory. No matter how hard a hunter tries, or how many companies insist it to be true, you can not completely become invisible in any landscape, the best you can do is blend in with the habitat by choosing colors that are natural in the setting.
The color palettes of brown and green are actually the most popular choices made by hunters, but you must remember that if your background is the sky, a blue palette can work just as well. And if you are hunting in a habitat or area that is sparse, or has vegetation that is dying/decayed, a lighter tan is the way to go.
Yes, the visual confusion is an absolute must, but it’s not only our human form that alerts the animal to our presence; our scent will also give us away in a second. Which is why a camo ‘package’ is what many hunters are looking into purchasing. With that package, cover-up products are definitely a good investment. In addition, staying away from any scent that’s strong – such as smoking, or bathing – before heading out to hunt, is a must. Anything that strong will alert the herds immediately and send them running.
Sounds must also be factored in, considering that most animals rely on their hearing instead of their sight to alert them to danger. Obviously camouflage clothing choices need to be made with that in mind; clothing that will not make a great deal of noise when moving through the woods. Fabrics that are either rough or have any type of texture to them will make sounds that are not conducive to the woods, which will eliminate any shot of ‘sneaking’ through the forest. Although there are arguments about this fact, because a texture would be a better backdrop for camouflage, it is the softer fabric that will prove to be more successful.
Now when it comes to camouflage, data can also change when speaking about the type of prey you happen to be hunting. Such as, the tips above are excellent for the white-tailed deer; however, if a wild turkey hunt is what you love to pursue then it will take specialized clothing to be a success. Wild turkeys own great vision and can immediately see everything in their line of sight AND they see color. Because of these ‘gifts,’ a hunter does not only have to remain perfectly still, but they also have to clothe in camo from head to toe for the blending to work.
Bass Pro Shops (one of the most popular), Mossy Oak, Realtree, Skyline and more, provide products that hunters – as well as anglers – need. So when looking for camo that covers head to toe, you need to think of everything when you shop. The right type of boot to purchase will all depend on where and what time of year you’re hunting. Fairly mild weather is all about lightweight, un-insulated boots – whereas lowland areas can call for high rubber boots. Western regions are more rugged terrain which calls for a boot with great support and insulation.
All of these issues come into play when speaking about pants, shirts and jackets, as well. There are some regions that call for heavy cover or waterproof, burr-proof clothing, as well as coats that add warmth or extra protection to match the weather.
Again, with the type of prey comes a change in camo. Such as that sharp-eyed turkey that calls for a camouflaged hunting vest which provides both cover and pockets to store all your turkey calls. And ignoring the face and hands is something a hunter can’t afford to do, which makes gloves and face coverings – like mesh facemasks or head nets – essential. Camo face paints, ball caps – all of these are also things to think about when attempting to blend in with your surroundings.
Above all, just remember that camo is all about choices and needs. If you are more prone to turkey hunting than deer hunting, remember to change with the prey, season, weather and backdrop. Taking all of these issues – as well as the five senses – into account will make you a far more efficient hunter.