It’s another rainy morning here at my cabin in Southeast Alaska. The boat motors are still in the shop; the salmon aren’t yet in the rivers; deer season is still two months away, so I’m sitting upstairs at my computer, looking out over my small acreage of young forest. Logged in 1994, the trees are now growing back so thick, and so fast, and so tall, you can barely see the ground!
Being a hunter at heart, my mind is wandering out into the forest, and my thoughts turned to the subject of camouflage. Concealment would be another word.
When I started hunting back in the early ’70s, camo was relatively rare, without a lot of options. Now, there are more camo patterns than I can keep track of. They are all designed, primarily, for concealment, for hiding, for disguising the wearer, for allowing you to hide in plain sight.
You can apply the subject of hiding in plain sight to hunting. There are a few simple principles to keep in mind when you are out in the field:
Motion Will Give You Away, Every Time
Slow or stop your movements as much as possible, and you can sit in plain sight wearing bright orange and be ignored by your quarry. The first principle is simply to limit your movement. Simple! Anyone can do that.
Limit Your Scent Trail
The second principle is to limit your own scent trail, by staying as clean and odor free as possible. Most of our common big game animals have senses of smell that far outweigh our own human sense of smell. Think of your own dog. The first thing he does when you come home gives you the once over with his nose. Your dog can tell where you’ve been, what you’ve been doing, and who you’ve been with, by scent alone.
One additional thing you can do when hunting, is to disguise your natural human scent with a cover scent. Perfume for hunters, you could call it. If you’re in a cedar forest, leave your hunting clothing in a container with fresh cut cedar boards, shavings, or cedar boughs. Whatever is a natural scent in the environment you’re hunting in, can be utilized as a cover scent. Anything! Use your head and your imagination.
Disguise Your Human Form
The last principle I’ll discuss here is what you probably thought of first, the concealment or breaking up of the human form. Study what a well-trained sniper in the military does, and “Go Forth and Do Likewise”. Look at your environment. The common shapes, sizes, colors, shadows. Duplicate it. You don’t have to buy the latest camo pattern out on the market. It is more how you use it, rather than the particular pattern you use.
Years ago, one of the common garments deer hunters wore was a red and black, or green and black, plaid wool jacket and pants. Since deer are mostly color blind, the plaid mainly served to break up the human form. Avoid solid colors, especially blue jeans and white T-shirts, and you’ll go a long way towards filling your big game tag this hunting season.
Motion. Scent. Color. Pattern.
Basic common sense.
It’s all you really need.
Now, get ready to get out there and HUNT!