To Camo or not to Camo

Discussion in 'Hunting Equipment, Gear & Optics' started by Ed Lally, Aug 28, 2019.

  1. Ed Lally

    Ed Lally AH Senior Member

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    In anticipation of my third annual Safari to South Africa with Sun Africa Safaris in Pearston, Eastern Cape, I have been watching a lot of YouTube videos in an attempt to become a better Hunter and a better Client as well shooting, shooting and shooting and reading every recent and classic book I can find on hunting in Africa. All the written documentation stresses the keen eyesight, exceptional hearing and extrodinary sence of smell that each of my intended quarry possesses, yet the videos in YouTube show PHs in bright blue shirts, white shirts, dark shirts with white or nearly white suspenders and even white polo shirts with red stripes on the sleeves and red collars. What is with that??? I would be really upset if my poorly dressed PH sent a magnificent trophy over the next hill because his favorite color was bright blue or white with red trim. In past years I have worn soft colored camo in the Karoo and darker greener camo in the hills. My PH wears neutral tan and olive colors and that seems to work well. Am I over critical or does color of clothing not matter a damn?
     
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  2. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Movement and scent. Unless bow hunting, the rest is largely marketing.

    Well maybe not white. ;)
     
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  3. wesheltonj

    wesheltonj AH Elite

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    The only piece of camouflage that I own is a shot-shell/bird bag combo and that’s only because it only was sold in camouflage. I wear tans and greens both in the USA and RSA.
     
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  4. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Can't speak to the RSA "farmer look" that some of the PHs wear that are their standard daily attire on the farm.

    However, in Zimbabwe and most of the other free-range hunting areas, professionals are dressed like professionals. Not a speck of camo to be seen on anyone. Proper khaki and olive.

    Not only do I hate camo with a passion, but I find some solace knowing that its illegal in most African nations because its what poachers and guerillas wear...you wear it you're shot on contact. If they don't get you, the safari fashion police surely will!

    All jokes and jabs aside...other than being shot dead for wearing camo which has sadly happened to people in the bush, @Red Leg is right, its all about being downwind and not moving much. Earth tones are always better camo in Africa than the latest US camo pattern that sticks out like a sore thumb in most scenarios, kinda like the white suspenders and red striped shirts you alluded to earlier.
     
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  5. bruce moulds

    bruce moulds AH Elite

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    just avoid the blue end of the spectrum.
    to animals, blue looks like s white shirt under a disco light.
    keep still, don't skyline, and don't wear perfume.
    bruce.
     
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  6. Ridge Runner

    Ridge Runner AH Enthusiast

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    Before enlisting in the army in1976, I hunted I blue jeans and various colors of shirts and jackets/coats.

    During my military years, I hunted in my military issue woodland pattern camouflage.

    After military service, I hunt in whatever I happen to have on if time permits, or in camouflage if I have planned on hunting that day or week.

    For Africa, I had a set of khaki color shirt and trousers I only wore once because I stuck out among the brush. All other days I wore dull green or black clothing to better blend in the sparse types and various colors of brush.
    Only camo I wore daily out hunting were my snake boots.

    IMO camo is useful depending what, where, and how one is hunting, but highly overrated.
     
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  7. IvW

    IvW AH Elite

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    [​IMG]

    Zarco™ Safety Camouflage – Ideal for hunting or security clothing. Increase your visibility to other hunters while you remain inconspicuous to animals such as antelope, deer and buck. As with most modern camouflage materials available today, the profile of the hunter is scattered against the natural background however Zarco™ Safety Camouflage patented vision deception technology ensures that you can enjoy the benefits of getting really close to your target while at the same time reducing the risk of being mistaken for game by other hunters.

    Zarco Safety Camouflage was developed by a team of experts involved in the design of advanced military camouflage technologies – resulting in the creation of a patented hunting safety camouflage which increases the visibility of the hunters profile to humans while at the same time remaining inconspicuous to animals such as deer, antelope and buck. The vision deception technology employed in the camouflage design exploits the differences in the structure and spectral response of the animal eye when compared to the human eye.

    Animals with dichromatic (color blind) vision such as hoofed animals which include deer, buck and antelope species look at the environment in a completely different way than humans do – therefore we do not have to try and hide away from other humans in the bush but rather maintain a high visible profile to other hunters, thereby increasing overall hunting safety.

    Zarco Safety Camouflage’s vision deception technology takes care of the rest – the hunter profile is scattered against the natural background ensuring that the hunter continue to enjoy a competitive advantage.

    ZarcoTM Safety Camouflage is also visible to colour blind hunters
    The prevalence of colour blindness (dichromatic vision) in the human male population is estimated at around 8%. With millions of hunters in the United States alone, there are a substantial number of hunters who are unable to distinguish red and green from the natural background environment, or see red and green differently from people with normal tri-chromatic vision.

    Many of these colour blind hunters are also unable to recognise colours such as blaze or hunters orange and would perceive them as shades of yellow or tan against the natural background.

    Very few men (< 1%) are unable to see the colour blue. Therefore, blue would be a logical choice to increase the visibility of the hunters profile to the overall human population. Zarco Safety Camouflage therefore increases hunter visibility to a greater percentage of the hunting population.

    Where legislation requires the use of Hunters Orange, you can wear this together with Zarco Safety Camouflage, that way you get the best of both worlds and increase your overall visibility against the natural background.

    Human vision VS. animal vision
    How is the human eye different to the animal eye?
    The human eye
    The human eye has three types of cone receptor cells present in the retina which is known as tri-chromatic vision. These cone receptor cells are situated in a small area of the retina known as the fovea and allow us to have highly focussed and exquisite colour vision. Cone receptors function primarily during daylight conditions and therefore we are able to receive and interpret millions of colour signals during the day.

    A second type of photoreceptor is present in the human eye which is known as rods. Rods are responsible for detecting the luminosity (brightness) of light and are used primarily during low light conditions. Due to the absence of rods in the fovea, humans generally have no colour vision during night time.

    The animal eye
    In contrast, the animal eye has only two sets of cone receptor cells which are also referred to as dichromatic vision. Due to vast differences in the animal eye structure when compared to the human eye, these cone receptor cells are scattered across the entire retina which spread their daylight vision in all directions with no focus on any particular zone. Also present in the animal eye are rod receptors. These receptors function mainly during low light or night time conditions while the cone receptors function during daylight hours.

    The animal eye also has a light reflecting layer situated at the back of the eye which allows its receptors a second chance to absorb light. However, this reflecting layer also causes blurred vision during daytime conditions. The bigger eye with a rectangular aperture forfeits sharpness while trying to compensate for the large amount of incident light.

    The cones and rods are connected to neurons which feed visual images to the brain. In the case of animals, large quantities of receptors are connected to the same neurons which increase sensitivity with a loss in high definition colour vision.

    Due to these differences in eye structure as well as the different distribution ratios between cones and rods in the human and animal eyes, deer, antelope and buck do not have the same colour acuity as humans do and therefore have very limited colour vision.
     

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  8. BenKK

    BenKK AH Fanatic

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    I think camo patterns are unnecessary.
     

  9. bruce moulds

    bruce moulds AH Elite

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    ivw,
    a good marketing spin.
    it has been known for some time that animals eyes are more receptive to the blue end of the spectrum. and less to the red end.
    humans are the opposite.
    the big joke was on the people that try to stop hunting when they succeeded in having blaze orange made mandarory in usa.
    they thought animals would see it coming, but they tend not to.
    blaze blue would have been better to save animals' lives.
    on a different note, how often do we see a video of some client fully camo'd up sneaking along with a p.h. in blue shorts, a camera crew, the wife, a friend, and all the others making noise and moving at will.
    even if the camo worked, it is wasted then.
    bruce.
     
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  10. Hunting Sailor

    Hunting Sailor SILVER SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    I prefer no camo, but calm earth colors, darker green and brown. The favorite is medium to dark grey, not that I think the animals see any difference.
    A lot of great advise above, being bush smart in regards to using the environments to your advantage is more important than the color pattern of your clothes.
    If you have camo and it is allowed- use it. If you have dull earth colors use it. If you want a reason to buy a new wardrobe for the “once in a life time safari”, then go ahead and do it.
    The thorn bush may wreak havoc on the top layer, so bring what you’re expecting to lose.
    Good luck and welcome to Africa.
     
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  11. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Screen Shot 2019-08-29 at 07.15.13.png
     
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  12. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    Exactly just no white.
     
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  13. Mike Van Horn

    Mike Van Horn AH Veteran

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    Never been to Africa but a few of the videos l have watched. The tracker or the staff of the outfitter is wearing supplied, looks like light weight coveralls, and the same color head to toe. No matter what color that is. It's a human silhouette, so l don't think it matters if you have camo on following him
     

  14. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Two points:

    One, the military after WWII did many camo tests and found that one of the best camos was "Olive drab, soiled". In my area of the USA poor hunters would get old BDUs in olive drab and spray paint "soiling" across them and use them for hunting quite effectively. So those African trackers do know a thing or two.

    Two, Camo clothing is illegal in South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, and Tanzania. Not only is it non-traditional, doesn't match, and clearly shouts "we're stupid Americans, please play us", but you also run the risk of being killed. Two years ago a father and son were doing anti-poaching in Zimbabwe (Italians) and were wearing camo when they were shot dead by Parks Service. I've been on a safari before where my Park Ranger was shooting his AK-47 at poachers wearing camo right over my shoulder. Lastly, you're expressing imagery: In Africa, camo represents insurrection and military rebellion. It represents imposters claiming to be police or military to harass and assault people. It represents overthrowing current systems of government with violent force.

    If I stumble upon you in camouflage in a dangerous game area I won't shoot you, but the Ranger will.

    Your tombstone can read: "American. Had to do it his way. Died in the name of Mossy Oak."
     
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  15. Mike Van Horn

    Mike Van Horn AH Veteran

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    You are missing the point
    Wearing the same color from head to toe makes a human silhouette.
    This does not mean you have to wear camo. Just change the color of your shirt from your pants.
    Really my tombstone can read??
    It's replies like this that is making my think twice about going to Africa at all
     
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  16. mdwest

    mdwest AH Elite

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    Same same...

    My standard attire is an old ragged "camp" type shirt in an earth tone (tan, green, brown).. and either a pair of cargo pants or shorts in an earth tone..

    I dont think I've worn camo hunting anywhere in the world, to include the US in 20 years.. and honestly, back then I only wore camo because I had a bunch of old BDU's from back in my army days that needed to be put to use until they finally wore out..
     

  17. mdwest

    mdwest AH Elite

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    I dont know if this is exactly true.. perhaps one of the locals can advise..

    my understanding is that civilans cannot wear the camouflage uniform of the SADF.. that is clearly against the law...

    but any other camo is allowed...

    If it is in fact illegal.. I have witnessed more criminal acts in South Africa than I would have ever believed..

    I cant count the number of times I have seen hunters wearing camo in South Africa its so common..

    All you need to do is search "south africa hunting safari" on youtube and watch a handful of videos.. you can almost guarantee that several will showcase a hunter wearing a camo article of clothing or two..


    Edited to add.. I just found an article that clearly states that its even legal to wear the OLD SADF camo pattern.. the only thing you cant wear is the current military camo uniform (unless you are in fact a member of the SADF)..
     
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  18. Ridge Runner

    Ridge Runner AH Enthusiast

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    When I was hunting in SA in 2017 and 2018 American hunters wore their camo clothing afield.

    In 2018 my PH took me to a gun shop where I purchased a short sleeve SA civilian version camo shirt.
     
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  19. mdwest

    mdwest AH Elite

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    The human silhouette doesnt matter so much honestly in my experience..

    In the US many hunters tend to hunt by "ambush".. whether sitting in a blind, or a stand, etc.. or will even just sit by a tree and wait for an animal to come to them.. wind, scent, etc.. play a role.. but many hunters I know really only pay attention to being able to "hide" properly....

    Africa is a bit different..

    Yes.. there are bow blinds.. and I have set up in hides of one type or another at different times for different reasons..

    But for the most part in Africa, you hunt the wind and the sun.. (keep the wind in your face and the sun on your back)..

    As others have stated... you can get away with just about any color you want to wear.. in any pattern you want to wear it in... I would imagine you could wear a neon green kilt, a bright red shirt, and a pair of pink ballet slippers if you like.. and be just as successful as a guy in tan/green.. or the latest and greatest camo.. as long as you can stay quiet, keep the sun to your rear, and the wind in your face..

    Hunting in Africa involves a lot of spotting and stalking..

    If you can keep the animal from getting your scent.. and from being able to easily see your movement (sun to your back).. and from hearing you (dont cuss loudly when you catch a leg full of thorns like I often do..)... you'll connect..
     
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  20. mdwest

    mdwest AH Elite

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    Now that I think about it..

    there are actually SA brands of camo clothing that are sold and are popular among hunters there..

    Sniper Gear is the one that first comes to mind...

    https://sniperafricaonline.com/
     
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