Matching Your Camouflage Clothing to Your Hunting Conditions
The correct clothing choice can make or break a hunt, and not just because of how warm or cool it keeps you. Your camouflage clothing should allow you to disappear into the surrounding environment, making you as close to invisible to your game animal as possible. However, many of the hunters we know probably have a set of camouflage clothing that they wear for hunting regardless of where they go or what conditions they’re hunting in. Maybe we’ve even been guilty of it ourselves from time to time.
For illustration purposes, let’s say you typically hunt in an area dominated by hardwoods, and your camouflage clothing
sports patterns to match it, like Realtree Xtra. That’s great! But then plans change, so you switch stands and are in a dark conifer forest. Suddenly your hardwood pattern doesn’t blend in as well. Or maybe it snows a couple inches overnight, covering the forest in white. If you plan any kind of stalking hunt, you’re going to stick out like wearing a Cubs shirt at a White Sox game.
Scientists have a fairly good idea of the capabilities of a whitetail deer’s eyes and how they perceive the world. We now know that their dichromatic eyes can see the color blue very well, but not shades of red. However, most hunters know not to wear blue jeans to the woods. The bigger issue is contrast and patterns. If your camouflage pattern is very dark against very light, you will stick out on the ground more than just muted colors. You wouldn’t want the same tree stand hunting clothing on a spot and stalk hunt in the open sage brush out west. You get the picture.
So what can we learn from this and how can we apply this knowledge to help us become better and more concealed hunters? First, regardless of the terrain you’ll be hunting, find patterns that have multiple layers to create depth confusion. This will help break up your outline a little more.
Second, there is an app available called Whitetail Vizion that lets you see how a deer sees. You can take a picture of yourself in your tree stand and then use the app to customize which pieces of your camouflage clothing don’t blend in with the surrounding environment. You may find some surprising items that stick out a little more than you thought.
Third, think about what type of hunting you’ll be doing most often. If you’ll mostly be out during early season, focus on clothing choices with more greens and not as much contrast. If you’ll be in a tree stand, consider patterns with large swatches of white or gray, which will break up your outline like trees against the sky. If you’re out in the sun-drenched plains, use only muted colors that won’t stand out.
Choosing the wrong camouflage clothing may not always stop you from a successful hunt. But with all the possible variables that could go wrong when Mr. Big steps out into a shooting lane, do you really want to chance it? Invest in a few clothing choices for the dominant types of hunting you’ll be doing. Then just hope that luck is on your side.