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Thread: Camo versus plain green

  1. #1

    Camo versus plain green

    Does camo has an advantage over plain green for stalking ?
    Both for the Hill and for Woodland . Top jackets like Swazi and Harkila ProHunter are plain green . Is there a reason ?

  2. #2
    SD Regular willie_gunn's Avatar
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    Hales Smut

    Now that's an excellent question

    Camouflage is a fascinating subject in its own right. It is designed to conceal or deceive, so we wear it to break up the regular outline of the human form and to blend in to the surrounding environment. However, most of the camouflage that we wear is really designed to conceal us from other humans, when in reality what we want is to wear something that will conceal us from deer!

    It's worth trawling the Internet to look at some of the research into how deer 'see', as this suggests that they are more receptive to some parts of the visible spectrum than humans. Hence you can read a lot about how receptive deer are to ultra-violet (UV) light, with the consequent advice that you shouldn't wash any camo in regular washing powder as these contain agents that brighten your clothing, but also brighten your UV profile. There is also the suggestion that our camo should really be in shades of blue, since this is a part of the visual spectrum that deer show least awareness of.

    Interesting as the research is, personally I am sceptical about a lot of this and how it relates to 'real-life' stalking. To my mind the most important thing is to avoid uneccessary movement, as this tends to spook deer far more than what you are wearing. For this reason I have also taken to wearing camo gloves and a face-mask, as these are light-coloured 'flags' that will attract a deer's attention even if you are otherwise clad in drab clothing.

    So far as the clothing itself, I tend to wear camo whether I'm stalking down South or in Scotland. What's interesting is that some camo's that work well down South stand out like a sore thumb when on the Hill, so you need to be careful (or buy a lot of different camo patterns ). One of the best I've found for where I stalk in Scotland is the Swiss Alpine camo - up close it is looks like it would be useless but in fact the very blotchy beige, red and white works very well at a distance. DPM, by contrast, can look almost black when it's wet (note wet, not dry), and consequently sticks right out when on the Hill.

    Just like woodland, Scottish terrain can vary widely. Remember that many of the estate tweeds were designed with concealment on the hill specifically in mind, so vary according to the local environment. Generations of stalkers elsewhere have dressed in Loden, and they still seem to be pretty successful Somewhere upstairs I've got a loden cape - I just don't have the guts to wear it when my stalking mates are around

    Sorry, lots of words above but not much advice! I'd suggest you find the clothing that's most comfortable for you and go with that. Plain green or camo, the last thing you want is clothing that doesn't fit, isn't waterproof or falls apart after one outing. Plain green is often more versatile if you intend also wearing it for game shooting, dog walking or 'social' occasions, whereas turning up for a driven shoot wearing camo can raise a few eyebrows


  3. #3
    I always wear camo clothing, a camo hood, gloves and usually my rifle has some camo on it. I couldn't say for certain if it is any better than plain green but I work on the principle if you're going to spend 16 hours on a trip up to Scotland (4stalks x 4hrs) then I want it to be as fruitful as I can!
    Most of the professional stalkers I shoot with wear plain green and no camo hood but most have gloves. They seem to get the deer alright and they tell me its movement that is far more important than colour.

    I think if I get 1 or 2 more deer with camo over the year it is worth wearing although when you pop into a shop, pub or petrol station after stalking you do feel a bit conspicuous (I take my hood off first!)

  4. #4


    Gentlemen I find the discussion very interesting and for my part utilise both camo and plain green............the following may be of interest to you all and comes from the life of John Buchan ( Lord Tweedsmuir ) in his book................Memory Hold the Door .
    He writes of stalking with great understanding and of camo writes..........
    ' Camouflage,too, is important. I have always believed in breaking up my costume,for, whatever the forest, its colour will not be uniform, and I would wear, say, a checked jacket, grey flannel knickerbockers and grey-blue stockings. The ground often consists of a ribbon of turf bounded by heather and shingle, and by crawling along the border-line between the green and the rough, keeping half the body in each, if the wind is right it is possible to get within shot, though you are in full view of the deer. '

    He writes of the old type of gillie saying to him.....'Gang quiet sir '
    ' gang as if ye was something growing '

    Sense in all of it. To all of you have a good seasom. MBP

  5. #5
    I think movement is the key, and the shining of the torches, that we call hands and face, at a deer is probably the biggest give away of all. To me breaking up your outline is the most important, and if it were as simple as slipping on a DPM jacket wouldn't it be good.

    If you are in a wood, merely sitting against a tree or bush and wearing a single colour such as green or grey, with your hands and face concealed, can and will do an excellent job. However if you are out on the hill from a distance will the same tactics work? who knows for sure, some say yes and others say no. One argument is that it you are clad in a single colour then, depending on the light, you could look just like a black blob and any movement would easily be seen, so camo is the required dress.

    Personally I have always been fond of army surplus, for dry weather, and deerhunter has always seen me OK in the wet. I have a Jahti Jakt suit to satisfy my dark green urge, and am therefore like a milking stool with a leg in three different camps.

    Does it make a difference to me? I don't think so I am just as useless no matter what I wear


  6. #6
    Camo is always down to your environment and how you blend into the background. The clothes you were don't have to be expensive so long as the tone balences to your surroundings. Any drab colour will do and in my experience especially if your environment changes cross your ground.

    I do most of my stalking in a drab fleece and once you spot the deer it's up to my ability whether I can get to it or not and not my camo gear. Some people simply stomp about and don't have what it takes to stalk. The best camo in the world doesn't help you be silent and avoid being winded.

    I've had plenty of deer look right at me and not see me at 100 yds or less because i didn't move but I've spooked plenty by little noises like zips of rifle clicks or in forestry where wind swirles round and they wind you. The nose and ears in really what you need to avoid being detected by.

  7. #7
    It was put to me, " cammo gear is marketed for shooters, stillness is the key to shooting", stalk slowly then slower still.
    Having said that love my Deerhunter and have never been so warm and comfortable, which is probably an aid to keeping still. (have still to shoot a deer but was within 30 yards of doe's last week so somethings going right.)

  8. #8

    Re: Camo versus plain green

    Quote Originally Posted by Hales Smut
    Does camo has an advantage over plain green for stalking ?
    It's a good question and let's face it only the deer know the answer, and they're not telling.
    This week at work I called the lad (a university student) who was working with me to come and look at the deer in the field next to the site where we were working. Needless to say, by the time he got to the field gate the deer had gone from view. I said I'd try to call the deer across to our side of the field so he could have a look. I picked a suitable blade of grass and made a reasonable attempt at a fiep call. The lad, who I think suspected I was a bit weird( calling deer- oh yeh!!) had by this time climbed on top of the field gate, wearing a high-vis orange jacket, for a better view if the imaginary deer came across the field. I was a few yards inside the field, also wearing high-vis kit, in full view of a rapidly approaching roe doe. I told the lad to keep perfectly still. The doe stopped about 150 yds away, head just showing on the brow of the field, looking suspicious and testing the air with tongue and nose. I still had both hands and grass to my mouth, so I called a couple more times. The doe came at full gallop in our direction with a pretty decent buck in attendance, got to within 25 yds of us and stopped, looking and scenting again. After a few seconds I scared the pair of them away with a shout and clap of the hands. The lad was well impressed, you don't see too much of that on the campus at Uni!!
    The point of this little story is "Do we need Camo or Plain Orange"?
    As said by others, movement is so often the give-away, but I shan't be going out in Orange this evening, I'll stick to my Real-Tree
    Cheers, Pete.

  9. #9
    Going back to my service days ( A long time a go ). The rule of thumb was:-
    S - Shine
    S - Shadow
    S - Silhouette
    S - Shape
    Most important
    M - Movement
    If you can get rid of these you will not be seen.
    As stated above by others I think a lot of patterns are to catch our eyes.
    You still cannot beat practice. The more you stalk hopefully the wiser you become.

  10. #10
    I personally still wear tweeds when out stalking or shooting. They are heavy when they get wet but they are warm and hard wearing plus they worked as camo for the old stalkers and they look smarter than looking like a bush. I do own other shooting gear that is modern and more waterproof but they are green.

    Im a great believer that if it works for you then dont change it...

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