View Full Version : Deer hunting camoflage

September 14, 2006, 07:57 PM
If & when & wherever I hunt, I'll wear orange camo for idiotproofing. NYS statistics make it a no-brainer. However, you can get orange panels to wear over the same stuff you'd wear for color-sensitive turkeys, or wear silhouette-hiding camoflage that uses blaze orange as a color. I would think that it'd be a good idea to avoid the panel approach if possible, because whatever shade of gray a deer may see in blaze orange, the panels still present large, unnaturally square masses. On the other hand, the hunters I see on the idiot box often wear orange panels.

What do you think? Blaze orange panels over your Woodland Camo overalls, or a camo pattern that breaks up all solid masses, but uses blaze orange to warn off other hunters?

September 14, 2006, 08:08 PM
a camo pattern that breaks up all solid masses

Use that one. I do. Like you say, it breaks up the large patches of gray. I think it's easier to be successful with blaze orange picnic tablecloth during the rut, or in places overrun with deer, or when hunting over large fields. But if they're scarce, in the woods, or not rutting, and thus more wary, you want every possible advantage. Both my headcovering and vest or jacket are camo-blaze. You can just buy an el cheapo all blaze vest and spray paint some random black stripes on it - that's all you need to do really. Just make sure the paint has a few days to fully dry, and then wash it, so that there's no scent to it.

September 14, 2006, 08:10 PM
I'm not sure that camo makes a huge difference with deer. My dad has shot his last half a dozen or so deer wearing blue jeans and a navy blue winter coat, and a lot of folks on here and THR seem to think that scent control is more important than camo.

That being said, i agree with you in principle. Even if deer can't see colors per se, I'd think that if they happen to see you it'd be beneficial to have a pattern that breaks up your outline instead of large patches of solid colors. This year, I'll be hunting in an M65 jacket and pants in woodland camo along with a blaze hat and a Cabela's Blaze fleece 3/4 vest (http://cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templates/product/standard-item.jsp?id=0006622930167a&navCount=2&podId=0006622930167&parentId=cat601748&masterpathid=&navAction=jump&cmCat=MainCatcat20712-cat601748&catalogCode=QT&rid=&parentType=index&indexId=cat601748&hasJS=true). The vest is supposed to last a lot longer than a plastic one and I got camo patterns because I figure it can't hurt.

September 15, 2006, 01:51 AM
In theory, the orange camo would seem the best to me. But I'm in the camp that says your movements are much more important than the clothes you are wearing. A month ago, I sat really still and got a fawn to come about ten feet from me before she noticed my presence. I was wearing jeans and a white t-shirt.

I do wear camo when hunting (most of the time), but I doubt the effectiveness. But, as nico said, it can't hurt. :)

September 15, 2006, 01:52 AM
Learning to sit still works better than camo. But lacking that, sure, wear blaze camo.

September 15, 2006, 02:53 AM
If you hunt in the later fall, after the leaves are down, the absoulute best pattern I have ever seen, or not seen, is regular old Carhart brown canvas duck. Kind of the same pattern that a deer wears.

September 15, 2006, 08:50 AM
Quick anecdote which may or may not be relevant re: colorblindness.

It is widely accepted that deer are color blind but turkeys are not. In fact, turkeys are supposed to see color very well, right?

Well, last year, I set up my deer archery target as a deer decoy, and was about to walk off to set up some distance away, when I heard a noise 40 or 50 yards through the woods, so I sat down and leaned against a tree not 10 or 11 yards from the decoy. I was wearing camo-blaze jacket, but a plain old bright blaze baseball cap. So, here come about 7 turkeys through the woods, and they come right over to the deer decoy and they more or less stop while standing in a semi-circle around the decoy, looking at it. They were fairly fascinated with it and obviously have a trusting relationship with deer. Well, I was perfectly still. A couple of the turkeys though, eventually started looking at me curiously, then they slowly wandered off. They were ever-so-slightly disturbed, but not too much. They did not run off. Remember, they were just about 10 yards from me on the *ground*, in complete plain view, with all kinds of orange on.

The moral of the story is, since turkeys DO see color, that regardless of whether deer do or do not see color, color alone may not disturb them necessarily, so the key factor is being still, still, still! Of course, this theory may be off a little, since deer are much smarter than turkeys. But there seems to be validity to the idea that a little bit of color won't hurt you with anything provided you are still. It also adds to the idea (possibly) that a camo pattern breaking up your blaze may very well help (who knows, those turkeys may not have even gotten close to me at all, had I been wearing ye olde picnic tablecloth orange). In fact, remember that during the spring and summer, turkeys are used to seeing colored wildflowers in patches. They're too dumb to understand when fall has come and summer's gone, so a camo'ed-blaze vest may very well resemble a patch of wildflowers to them, more or less. Just a thought....

September 15, 2006, 10:18 AM
+1 for learning to sit still

and might I add downwind as well. I wear old spice deo and the deer don't seem to have a problem with it while I am downwind. Most just take the customary sniff and then continue with what they were doing.

Last four years during rifle season was wearing blue jeans, old work boots, old carhart jacket (blue not the normal brown color) and a blaze orange cap and vest. Took one at less then 30 yards, rest were under 75 yards.

For archery season that is a different story! total camo no orange (SD allows this when not during overlapping rifle season).

September 15, 2006, 10:37 AM
I think too much is made of camo in general as far as deer hunting is concerned. But, I do wear camo and I wear a solid blaze orange vest when blaze orange is required.

I have to believe that the blaze orange camo patterns that are available would be better than the solid blaze orange. Just make sure that the garment meets the minimum balze orange coverage (usually expressed in square inches) is met. The idea is to protect you and hunting accidents were subtantially reduced when the blaze orange requirement was introduced.

September 15, 2006, 11:55 AM
I'm in the camp that says your movements are much more important than the clothes you are wearing.

Shapes are very important too!
Fawns haven't learned to distinguish shapes...

Use the camo... it breaks up the outline and hide the shapes...

Camo net over your face as well... animals are very atuned to eyes... and spectacles too!... :)

September 15, 2006, 09:04 PM
I think orange camo is the way to go. I'm Michigan, blaze orange is only required during gun season. I hunt on private property and don't worry too much, but wear a blaze/camo hat and vest over my regular camo when gun hunting. Even though deer are supposedly colorblind, a big light colored blob will still stand out. Whatever helps break up your outline. Just my opinion.

September 16, 2006, 07:07 AM
...deer are supposedly colorblind...

This is a myth...

Their eyes have rods and cones just like yours...

The really big difference in the ratio of rods and cones, and the density thereof, determines how color is perceived... and what level of priority color will take.

So... look at it this way...

A deer sees colors in the light, about as well as you see outlines in the dark. and visa-versa.

The deer is mostly unconcerned with colors but is very concerned with movement and shapes... which pose the greater threat to him.

He can see you blink a lot farther off than you might think was possible.

Camo is definitely beneficial with movement and shapes, and somewhere down the list, color plays a low priority part in the deer's survival. :)

September 16, 2006, 10:34 AM
I stand corrected, but outline and shape are still more important than color when it comes to camo.