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Archery High-Tech Camo vs. Wool Plaid

High-Tech Camo vs. Wool Plaid

Over the past few decades, hunting apparel has gone from everyday duds to realistic camo mimicking sticks and leaves to high-tech digital patterns advertised to essentially vanish into their surroundings. But even with the advancements in camo technology, some hunters still stick to the classic plaid wool and blue jeans combo. Is pricey performance camo really better?

As the latest compounds eclipse the 350 fps mark and bowsights sport built-in rangefinders, hunting camo is making huge strides too. Abstract and digital patterns are designed to disrupt and distort deer (and elk and goat, etc.) vision with a combination of micro and macro patterns that break up the body’s silhouette.

This versatile style of camo is so effective, several branches of the military employ such pixelated patterns.  

But unlike mimicry camo which can blur you into an obvious blob, plaid patterns can break up solid silhouettes too — even if they’re not composed of traditional hunting colors.

While whitetails and lots of other quarry can spot the tiniest bit of movement, their eyes can’t make out the full spectrum of colors like ours. This is why gun hunters sporting blaze orange can still manage to fill tags. Deer are more sensitive to blue, but otherwise color itself isn’t overly important to concealment. 

So your best bet for hunting apparel truly depends on your pursuit. Your prey, location, and hunting style should all factor in.

If you’ll be firing a rifle at deer from your treestand 100 yards away, you can definitely get by without a $500 set of technical camo.

For elk spot and stalk with a bow or running and gunning after turkeys on the ground, a quality camo pattern could help you go undetected — especially as you close the gap.

But as long as the clothing you’re wearing manages to break up your body’s outline, making sure your face — basically a blob of solid color — isn’t uncovered or exposed might actually be more important than the particular pattern on your shirt.

Fred Bear once said, “The best camouflage pattern is called, ‘Sit down and be quiet!’ Your grandpa hunted deer in a red plaid coat, think about that for a second.”

So do you need the latest and greatest high-tech camo to be a successful hunter? No! It can certainly be beneficial in some scenarios, but you can still get the job done in old-school, hand-me-down wool plaid.

19 thoughts on “High-Tech Camo vs. Wool Plaid”

  1. Bow Bully,

    shootski doesn’t use any of those even if he does have Blueberries in his parachute bag in storage!
    I prefer a terrain appropriate Ghillie: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghillie_suit
    Or in snow Disruptive Overwhite fools those Moose every time!
    I laugh every time I see high tech camo on hunters who slam their truck doors, talk (some to themselves & loudly,) listen to playlists on smartphones, smoke, vape, can’t sit still for 4 minutes, horizon themselves, all while being upwind of their prey.
    Yup, that spendy stuff gets you a pass on all those blunders from the animals out there!


  2. “The best camouflage pattern is called, ‘Sit down and be quiet!’ …Yup, I’ll second that.


    The challenge of getting close to deer is the biggest reason I bow hunted.

    I have a couple of sets of (soft, quiet bow hunting) camouflage. Found the typical leaf and branch patterns worked well at close range where the details showed but usually looked like a big, dark blob at a distance.

    We see in color so the detailed patterns with tan, green and brown break up our outline pretty well. Problem is that deer see in grey scale values so all those subtle shades of color are seen as a big gray blob and do little to break up the human outline.

    I used to evaluate different camouflage by photocopying it and viewing the black and white image at a moderate distance – that would be easy to do on a computer these days.

    There was one pattern (think it was called ASAT) which had large contrasting shapes that passed the gray-scale test but realistic tree-bark and leaf patterns were all the rage and it disappeared from the catalogs before I could get a set.

    I ended up making my own camo. GILLI suits worked well but my favorite was a full length hooded poncho that totally changed my outline. I had deer walk by a couple of yards away and not notice me.

    Don’t deer hunt anymore, the local deer all have names and will come when called …not much of a challenge.


    • V2,

      Hank,, my wife restricted my squirrel hunting near home for the same reason. I’ve always been of the opinion that if you might eat it,, you shouldn’t name it.


      • “that if you might eat it,, you shouldn’t name it.” …good philosophy!


        Fortunately, my wife doesn’t like squirrels so they are still on the menu 🙂


        • Hey Hank,

          I’ll bet those deer know you’re Hank!
          I also bet that if you were on their menu as Prime Hank they wouldn’t be troubled in the least! We humans are defined by our humanity (the rule of our humanity is proven by our occasional loss of that humanity toward one another and animals) the rest of the creatures only rarely show behaviours we mistake for more than it really is.
          I’m glad to be a human, even with our flaws, we live a less brutal life than the other living inhabitants of Earth.


      • Ed,

        Miss Piggy the sow had some really excellent bacon, pork chops and made some of the best Cured Wurst ever! She was cute as a piglet but had a big change of “personality” once out of the piglet stage!
        We made certain Miss Piggy expired quickly using best methodology.


        • Shooski

          Well,, she died for a good cause. I’m afraid that I could never name a pig,,, I like bacon too much.

          There is an old story about visitor to a farm sitting in the kitchen with the farmer. They were having a glass of lemonade, when a pig walked onto the porch, opened the screen door with it’s snout and walked into the kitchen. The visiter remarked on the intelligence of the animal and then asked the farmer what happened to it, as it only had three legs.
          The farmer told the visiter about how there was a fire in the barn and how the pig got into the house, found his bedroom and woke him up in time to save the livestock and most of the barn. The pig even found a bucket, filled it from the watering trough and brought it to farmer to throw on the blaze.
          The visiter asked “Is that how he lost his leg?” And the farmer replied “No,,, but when you have a pig that good,,, you have to eat him slow.”

          The story didn’t say whether the pig had a name,, so I can’t be sure it applies.


    • it is funny to watch when guys bow hunt they are camoed to the hilt. might even have camo socks. then when gun season comes they wear a bright orange jacket which is the law. from what I saw over the years deer dont care what colors you got on you just have to sit very still cause they pick up tiny movement

      • mildot,

        Yeah, deer are very aware and the slightest movement will be noticed. If you can see even the smallest portion of the deer’s eye he WILL see you if you move. – don’t ask me how know this 😉 Fortunately their hyper awareness works against them as they will often focus on (imagined) threats for several seconds giving the bow hunter a chance for a shot. I’ve taken several deer at sub 5 yard distances because I was patient and didn’t move when I would have been seen.

        Camouflage is great stuff for hunting but I’ve seen it misused many times.

        Like the camo pocket knife the clerk tried to sell me – said that he sold a lot of them and had many repeat customers. Not surprising, drop it or put it down and it is gone forever LOL! And camo wallets – why??? Don’t go there!

        Camo clothing was the style for a while. I often wondered if the young women wearing it realized that it totally broke up their form …maybe they did that on purpose to avoid attention. A neighbor dressed her boys in camo and sent them out to play; there were a couple of close calls with vehicles so I suggested she restrict the camo clothing to inside use or take out a good insurance policy on the kids.

        I won’t say much about civilian camouflaged vehicles driving around on public roads other than that they should be banned as being a hazzard.

        On a similar note, the Monty Pythons skit “The Art of Not Being Seen” is worth viewing 🙂


  3. My dad all ways told me watch the birds and listen.

    Next time you see a deer watch the deers ears. They are like satellite dishes. There ears are always focusing on some sort of sound.

    Animals will tell you real quick if there is something going on that is not right in thier environment. They know and also learn things. It’s how they survive. It’s second nature to them to survive.

    We are the ones that have to learn how they are. They know what they are suppose to do.

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