WILDFOWLER Guide to the Right Camo

How to Choose the Right Camo Pattern


Wearing camouflage hunting clothing is important for a successful hunt, especially for those after waterfowl, turkey, deer / big game, and predators. Ducks, geese, and turkeys have very sharp color eyesight, and predators also have keen vision, so effective camouflage is a necessity when pursuing these species. And although most big game animals generally cannot see color, the silhouette or outline of a hunter that does not blend into their surroundings will set off warning instincts. However, in the case of camo, patterns are not “one size fits all”. Most patterns fall into either all-purpose patterns that blend into a variety of environments or specialized patterns intended for specific hunting situations.

All-purpose camouflage patterns usually combine detailed images of tree limbs, leaves, grass, and / or tree bark with blurred color backgrounds in layers to create a nearly 3-D effect that is effective in a variety of environments. Hunters in the woodlands of the South or East, wetlands of the Great Plains, or mountainous terrains of the West will be well served with an all-purpose pattern. In addition, the popularity of camouflage hunting has led to the development of special-purpose patterns that mimic specific regional environments such as the deciduous trees of Southern river bottom areas or the corn fields of the Midwest.

Patterns for spring turkey hunting include some green leaves, while big game bow hunters will need late fall patterns with brown, greys, and tans. Specialized patterns for specific hunting situations also are available, such as those patterns that mix a white background with a camouflage pattern, or even all-white clothing, for late season snow goose hunting or winter predator hunting.

Choosing the right pattern, therefore, requires some thought about your hunting environment, the time of year, and the species you will be hunting. Will you be in a woodland, grasslands, or wetland area? Choose an all-purpose pattern that includes the colors and terrains you will be hiding in. Will you be hunting in the spring, early fall, late fall or winter? Choose patterns with or without green, browns and tans, or white to blend into a snowy landscape. Will you be going after ducks and geese, turkey, or deer / big game? Waterfowl can see colors, so choose a camo pattern that blends into the light-colored grasses, reeds, and grain fields where they tend to gather. Turkeys also have impeccable eyesight, so when the woodlands begin to leaf out during spring gobbler season, hunters should utilize patterns with green and shadows. Big game have limited color perception, but they are able to discern a hunter’s silhouette so you should still make every attempt to blend in. Many states require hunters to wear blaze orange for safety from other hunters, but blaze orange will not be detected by big game. By matching your camo hunting clothing as close as possible with your surroundings in the time of year that you will be hunting, and with regards to the type of hunting you will be doing, will ensure that you’ve picked the right camo pattern.