Camouflage Effectiveness

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Advantage Camo Max 4
When hunting on the ground in light colored, grassy areas, patterns that simulate grass and rushes are the best choice. The venerable Mathews Lost Camo shows its obvious versitality here. Hunter shown wearing Mathew's Lost Camo.

It was a dumb move. Blame it on the adrenaline. The nice 10 pointer walking slowly down the hill straight toward a tree stand inspired enough go-juice to turn one's brain into gray silly putty. Some like to draw their bow early and take their chances at full draw rather than wait and then run the risk that the buck will pin you down. Usually most hunters don’t worry much about which way the deer is looking as long as he is 40 yards away, but sometimes even a twig dissecting the cool November air that separates you and the buck picks up the movement instantly.

What were you thinking? The buck immediately feezes and locks his eyes right on you, sending a wave of panic through every cell of your central nervous system. All you can do is wait and hope; shooting is out of the question.

As the buck slowly picks apart the space that you occupy in the large, open tree the relaxed look never left his eyes. Ten seconds later, he was walking again, heading straight for the deer scrape that marked the bank of the grown-up stock pond under the tree stand. It wasn't until he finished pawing the ground and had begun to leave that he offers a broadside shot.

Mossy Oak Brush
In light colored grasslands or western plains settings, a light colored pattern that can be adaptable to shade is the best choice. Hunter shown wearing Mathews Lost Camo.

Less than a 90 seconds after the trophy buck had overlooked the hunter in the tree stand, he was down. If today's modern hunting camouflage patterns can turn a mistake into trophy antlers, as one of the popular patterns did in this case, then the subject of choosing hunting camo deserves serious consideration. Success can, at times, come down to how well you blend with your surroundings.

Properly chosen, modern hunting camo patterns will make the motionless bowhunter disappear. In the past, bowhunters have always felt the need to hide behind something to break up their profile. They would hunker behind bushes or build ground blinds. Today's hunting camouflage patterns allow a well-outfitted hunter to hide in front of the cover.

The key to excellent hunting camouflage is to eliminate the solid block of your silhouette, while at the same time blending well with your surroundings. With their detailed and contrasting foregrounds combined with large open backgrounds, all the popular hunting camouflage patterns allow you to disappear in the woods. Take a look at the many designs represented in this year's camouflage buyer's guide. The fact that there is a hunting camo pattern to match any hunting situation will surely amaze you.

How Modern Hunting Camouflage Works

hunting camo pattern
Modern hunting camo patterns are designed to help you hide in front of the same cover you used to have to hide behind. They feature detailed foreground patterns overlaying blurred background layers to provide a 3-D effect. Hunter shown wearing Mathews Lost Camo.

During the 22+ years that have passed since Jim Crumley released his original Outfitter Tuff Trebark, the basic intent of sporting camo hasn't changed: to create a three-dimensional illusion that makes game look through you instead of at you. On the other hand, the way this goal is being accomplished has changed drastically. Today's most versatile hunting camouflage patterns are open, with large, light colored patches adjacent to areas of shading to create surprisingly effective contrast. Over this lays an intricate arrangement of branches, tree bark and leaves. These hunting camo patterns are a combination of distant, blurred backgrounds and highly detailed foregrounds for the ultimate 3-D affect.

Some of today's hunting camo patterns are so effective that they actually create an optical illusion. Hunting camo experts have said that when a deer (or a human, for that matter) looks at a combination of blurred background and detailed foreground images it has a hard time focusing on both at the same time. As a result, the animal is unable to put the whole thing together to pick out a single outline. It is the same phenomena we sense when looking at near and far objects at the same time. Natural depth of field limitations prevents us from seeing everything in full detail. Every good hunting camo pattern tries to achieve this three-dimensional effect.

Fine-tuned Specialty Hunting Camo Patterns

hunting camouflage patterns
Most hunting camouflage patterns will work well in a variety of different hunting situations. Mathews Lost Camo is deadly effective, both in the daytime, and at dusk. Bucks love to show their faces right before legal shooting hours end. Hunter shown wearing Mathews Lost Camo.

There are dozens of companies offering regional and niche hunting camo patterns. Somebody makes a pattern that perfectly matches even the most specialized hunting environment. For example, if you find yourself hunting from tree stands in small trees with little background cover, you can choose a hunting camo pattern to blend with the sky. If you’re hunting whitetails in early season you will find several green-based hunting camouflage patterns that match these conditions. If you hunt in corn, reeds, sage, snow, brush, dark trees, light trees, pine trees – you name it - there is a specialized pattern just for your situation.

Specialized hunting camo patterns are a great choice if you spend most of your time hunting predominantly one type of cover. Also, some specialty hunting camo patterns have lighter tones than popular all-purpose patterns. For example, while sneaking through the big pine timber of Colorado’s mountain foothills a moderately dark toned tree stand pattern like Mossy Oak’s New Break-Up would work great, but it would stand out like a sore thumb as you stalk across the open sagebrush country of Colorado’s eastern slope. The same is true if you specialize in cornfield hunting. A pattern such as Mossy Oak Duck Blind, Advantage Camo Max 4, Farmland Camouflage or Cornfield Camo would be much less visible than a darker all-purpose hunting camo pattern designed for hunting among tree trunks.

The more you can match the exact environment where you hunt the better you will disappear. That’s where the specialty hunting camouflage patterns shine. It’s worth taking a close look at your hunting area to see if the overall tone of your hunting clothing matches the setting. If it doesn’t, no amount of sticks or leaves or detail will make you disappear.

  • Advantage CamoAdvantage Camo
  • ASAT Camo ASAT Camo
  • Enigma Camo Enigma Camo
  • Gray Wolf Woolens Camo Gray Wolf Woolens Camo
  • King's Camo Kings Outdoor World Camo
  • Mathews Lost Camo Mathews Lost Camo
  • Mossy Oak Camo Mossy Oak Camo
  • Mothwing Camo Mothwing Camo
  • Optifade Camo Optifade Camo
  • Outfitter Tuff Camo Outfitter Tuff Camo
  • Predator Camo Predator Camo
  • Realtree Camo Realtree Camo
  • Ultimate Camo Ultimate Camo

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