Camouflages: Blend in or Disappear

Rugged & Tough

Well-Known Member
Following on from a conversation in the store today about which camo and why, we thought it might be of help to offer some information about camo and all the varieties around these days. Books could be written and are on this subject, so this is a very brief overiew

Camouflage has been around since the world was created so camouflage is nothing new. Camouflage has to main purposes, to blend in or to change your outward appearance.

Prey use camouflage to blend into their surroundings and therefore are not detected from possible preditors
Preditors use camouflage to change their outward appearance and to blend in.

Most hoofed animals are ungulates (which refers to how they see). They see in three colours, yellow, blue and grey and have 20/40 vision, slighty fuzzy vision
Birds are basically eyes on wings and can see colours in the ultaviolet that we cannot see. However bird do struggle a bit with shapes.

Camouflage clothing comes in a few options, to blend in or to disappear.

Realtree like patterns make you blend into your surroundings but depending on your prey, you shape can still be percieved. Animals can perceive your shape, birds struggle with seeing the outlines.
Optifade patterns in essence make you disappear to your prey as they cannot detect either your or your outline.

In essence, both work in different scenarios. Understand your prey and then choose your camo pattern depending on the results you want to acheive.

As always one type works for some prey and the others are not as effective.. no matter what the price tag.

Your own experiences would be worth reading about too.

Hope you find this useful.

Rugged & Tough
What may be worth mentioning is that a lot of this is theoretical (as all good articles point out), as no one can "see" what an animal can see. probably very accurate, but still theoretical.
A lot of garish tweed designs that stick out like a sore thumb on the high street completely blend in on the hill. All to do with the background environment methinks.
sometimes it doesn't matter if your seen, as long as your not seen as a threat. Also I suspect speed of movement is probably a more significant factor rather than camo.
I wouldn't wish to enter the 'bestest camo' debate. However there is one thing that I am absolutely sure of, regardless of what one wears,.... If I move or get sky-lined the deer will clock me.
I did a bit of camo testing a while back for some fun and posted the photos here in some threads. Unfortunately I then managed to destroy all the links to the photos :(

However, the pictures still exist. In some of them an attempt was made to replicate approx what a deer might see, based on the info available on the subject, by removing the red from the images to reflect the fact that deer have little or no vision in the red.

The photos were very instructive and my view of the general outcome was that the very generalist military patterns came out of it better than the "real tree" type patterns. I personally prefer MTP for stalking on moorland or on the edge of forestry but the German flecktarn also did very well in my tests in many environments. In saying that movement of a few feet either way could be the difference between working and not but in the end all camo relies mostly on the person wearing it using their brain. Here are a few examples:

DPM, hanging on a tree, and MTP lying on the ground:

MTP "stood up" with DPM lying on the grass:

I think this one is (L-R) Real Tree, flecktarn and MTP lying on some dark heather:

This is tweed, dark green, brown and MTP (the MTP is sort of lying down) in a typical thicket type setting, again with simulated deer vision:

This is a real colour image of MTP, green, brown and tweed on some clearfell. The MTP is to the left of the brown :)

And this is the same photo in "simulated deer vision"

[FONT=arial, sans-serif]Shape, Shine, Shadow, silhouette [/FONT]and Spacing (more than one person).

Oh and good old movement the most important factor.
Why do we see green based camo, Yet the quarry that is usually VERY hard to spot has no green on it whatsoever :stir:
I went on an evening stalk with a guide who was dressed in a white tattersall shirt and blue jeans, we saw many deer and I shot 2. Camouflage may be useful but I suspect that the whole story is far more complex, not least of which is whether or not the deer perceives you to be a threat.

atb Tim
ReaTree and the other patterns that essentially present an apparently realistic image of actual foliage are a categorical con - they're explicitly designed to catch out one prey animal only - the Greater Walleted Consumer.

The military did not stumble onto their various disruptive patterns by accident - there has been over a century of testing. And one of the things rejected very early on was realistic representations. They don't even work very well on human observers. That people swear by them is probably more of an illustration that what you wear doesn't matter much if the rest of field craft is good.
Most hoofed animals are ungulates (which refers to how they see).

Please could you explain your thinking on this, as I thought "ungulate" means "hoofed animal" from the Latin unguis (= hoof), rather than anything to do with how the animal sees.

Please could you explain your thinking on this, as I thought "ungulate" means "hoofed animal" from the Latin unguis (= hoof), rather than anything to do with how the animal sees.


LOL yes my thoughts exactly.
Most hoofed animals are ungulates (which refers to how they see).

Please could you explain your thinking on this, as I thought "ungulate" means "hoofed animal" from the Latin unguis (= hoof), rather than anything to do with how the animal sees.


UNGULATE un·gu·late (un'gyoo-lit) [L., unguis, a hoof; -atus suffix meaning provided with]
NOUN: a mammal having hooves

'How they see' freaking hilarious!

As to the camo most of is is designed to fool the human eye especially all the real tree and copies.
Motion and scent are of concern to the stalker and probably best to avoid blue in your outfit.
Or as has been noted before get out the pack-a-macs or peter storms and thrash around in the open, deer do not seem to mind!

Look here for the history of camo

DPM - Disruptive Pattern Material: An Encyclopaedia of Camouflage: Nature, Military and Culture ISBN 0-9543404-0-X
Never noticed any advantage during a stalk when someone was wearing high-tech camo. What animals pick visually is movement: any fast movement and they're gone. But you can often walk in plain sight of some species, if you are moving really slowly they won't really be alarmed. They won't let you get close, but won't run in a panic, alerting others (and your intended prey).

Of course the wind is the primary consideration in any stalk... And proper use of cover. Plan your approach, check what is the cover available from your next position, look at the ground and grass, you'll find that you can get within 50m of something big more often than you'd have thought, whether you wear plain drab clothes or the latest computer-generated high-money laser-printed novelty.

Predators like lion and leopard do not rely on their colour, they have an uncanny ability to use cover and stage ambushes.
Most hoofed animals are ungulates (which refers to how they see).

I'm so sad I missed this.

Deary, deary me. Really worth making sure you actually have the correct facts about the basic biology before lecturing the rest of us. It does somewhat undermine your credibility...
Which has a significant bearing on "how they see"?

I understood what he is attempting to covey, namely most critters we hunt are said to interpret colour differently from man.

If SD relied wholly on 100% accuracy of that committed to the page ...................................


Boggie, i think that is senile dymentia and i can sympathise with you there as i put four lightbulbs in the fridge yesterday thinking they were chicken legs.