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Know Your Camo

Camouflage is a vital component hunting. In the past 20 years, a multitude of camouflage patterns has made choosing camouflage more perplexing for many hunters. Simply purchasing any camouflage outfit off the shelf may not be as effective for the type of hunting you will be doing as choosing one designed to mimic your hunting surroundings, but also accommodating the changing seasons, foliage color, and cover. If you are working with a limited budget or as small of a camouflage wardrobe as possible, then looking at the more general patterns might be the better choice. If would like to maximize your concealment for a specific game, season, or even to a specific terrain or application, however, then looking at more specialized patterns is recommendable.

Regular Camouflage Clothing

Multipurpose Camouflage Patterns

Mossy Oak® has become synonymous with hunting camouflage clothing. The company's Obsession® is their most versatile, multipurpose pattern to date. Based upon the original Bottomland pattern, Obsession's background coloration matches a greater variety of non-woodland environments, as well as thick brush and forest. The pattern features limbs and shadows that break up the outline shape. Earth-tone leaves and green foliage prints cleverly merge over the background patterns allowing Obsession to blend with leafy environs and settings year-round. Many camouflage clothing makers have borrowed from Obsession's design and market their own patterns, which are very similar to the original.

Gore™ has developed a pattern that it calls Optifade™. Different from mimicry camouflage (i.e., Obsession), Optifade is a digital pattern that is designed to keep the wearer from being recognized as a potential predator. Rather than making the hunter resemble a tree or a bush, the wearer, if detected, is unrecognizable as a threat by blending into the background. The pattern is designed to completely distort the wearer's outline and image when viewed from standard gun and archery engagement ranges. Gore produces this pattern in three colorations:

  • Open Country for larger game, such as elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and mountain goat hunting in the Western mountainous regions;
  • Forest for the whitetail deer, bear, small game and bird hunting in the woodlands; and,
  • Waterfowl for duck, geese, and other waterfowl and marshland hunting.

Specialized Camouflage Patterns

Snow presents a special situation when hunting. Snow camouflage patterns come in two distinct design types. White and light gray backgrounds with limb, brush, and branches in winter colors are very effective for hunting in snow-covered woodlands. Mossy Oak, Realtree, and True Timber® have several patterns that work well for this type of hunting. For more open snow-covered terrain and for longer engagement ranges, NaturalGear™ Snow and Cabela's Outfitter Snow may be better choices. These patterns are designed to conceal in snowy fields, mountains, and in partially snow-covered surroundings.

Hunter Orange or Blaze Orange is required in many locales specific hunting seasons; however, concealment from the game is still desired for effective hunting. Cabela's Seclusion 3D® Blaze allows the wearer to be visible to other hunters while still remaining concealed from the game through a focus image that alludes to depth.

Blaze Camo, which has a 60-65% orange colored background with smaller gray splotches is somewhat effective, but at close ranges only. You will also need to verify if (and what) orange camouflage patterns are permitted in the areas where you will be hunting.

3D Camouflage Clothing

Apart from the regular camouflage hunting clothes, the hunter can choose 3D camouflage hunting clothing styles. 3D camouflage clothing is more effective than conventional camouflage hunting attire because of its ability to physically breakup the human form and silhouette. 3D camouflage clothing types include the traditional ghillie suit and the contemporary leafy suit.

The ghillie suit is made with webbing and cloth swatches sewed into the webbing. Different vegetation such as leaves, grass, small branches, and sticks are laced and interlocked into the webbing and between the cloth swatches. It is the use of the locale's vegetation that customizes the ghillie suit for each hunt. The drawback to the ghillie suit is that it inhibits agile and rapid movement of the wearer. This camouflage clothing style is best suited for lying in wait for the game whether the hunter is in a wooded, grassy, or mountain environment.

The leafy camo suit capitalizes on the ghillie suit's ability to break-up the wearer's outline by using a very thick covering of sewn on cloth swaths. The swaths are sewn on in such a manner that they stick out from the suit like a leaf from a branch. The ASAT Vanish-Pro 3D Leafy Suit, an Australian designed product, is extremely effective as an all-season, all-terrain camouflage suit. The ASAT leafy suit is an idea choice for stalking game.

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