Hunting season in Michigan is right around the corner. Depending on the game you seek, you could find yourself in the field pursuing it in about two weeks’ time or even sooner. During those two weeks, there are many last minute preparations to make, one of which is purchasing and/or preparing your camo.
Though there are many things to focus on as the excitement of the upcoming season washes over us, having high quality, effective camouflage is no exception. Although you can easily walk into your local sporting goods store and pick some up, there are some things you want to consider before grabbing any old garment of the shelf. For starters, you want to have a pattern that blends well with the area in which you will be hunting. Camouflage that has a good visual ability to disguise you amongst the natural foliage is important but it what you need to get out of your camo hardly ends there.
Since hunting is an outdoor activity, you are going to be exposed to the elements. This could mean rain, snow, and whatever else Mother Nature decides to throw at you on a given day. Due to exposure to harsh elements, it is vital that you have camo that serves your body well. Though the weather around you may not be ideal, the camouflage you are wearing needs to do its part to keep your body safe. This means preventing penetration by elements that could compromise your ability to tolerate a day in the field or cause you to become ill. In other words, your camo needs to keep you dry when it’s wet and warm when it’s cold. Additionally, the more comfortable you are in your camo, the longer you will be able to remain comfortably in the field.
When it comes to staying warm, layering is a useful tactic. Instead of wearing a big, heavy coat, instead opt for several thin layers. By donning multiple layers of thin clothing, you enable the heat generated by your body to be retained between each layer, creating an overall warmer affect that a single heavy garment would. If you do not have on enough layers to stay warm, you can always add more. On the flipside, if you become too warm, layers can be taken off to achieve the comfort level you seek but when you take a layer of camo off, you need to reveal a layer of camo underneath. Just be cautious that you don’t go overboard and layer yourself up to the point of immobility or having too much to carry with you. A good rule of thumb is a base layer, middle layer, and finally an outer layer.
After making plans to stay warm, you’ll also want to have an idea as to how you’re going to remain dry. Getting and staying wet for extended periods of time can be dangerous. Hypothermia can set in and make you gravely ill, possibly even resulting in death if the exposure is lengthy enough. To avoid getting wet, invest in camouflage that is water resistant. Camo with water resisting properties can be purchased or you can instead buy sprays to make your own. Just take note that washing camo that has been treated to resist water will diminish it’s resistance over time, so annual reapplication is wise.
The ultimate goal of camouflage is concealment, so be sure to go shopping with that in mind. What you want is something that will break up your physical form, reducing it to the appearance of just another shrub or bush. Beyond looking like a human, you’re going to want to ensure you don’t smell like one either, so don’t forget to pre-treat camo clothing to eradicate scents. Sound control is important as well, so if you pick up a camo garment that makes excessive noise when moved or touched, hang that one back up and re-select. Lastly, don’t forget to don the appropriate amount of blaze orange for your season and the game you’re pursuing. Michigan requires 50% orange as an outer garment that is visible from all sides. There are exceptions to this rule which can be seen here.
Camouflage plays an important role in your safety, comfort, and success in the woods. The better ready yours is, the better your hunting experience will be. Here’s to a hunting season that will be warm, dry, safe, and successful for all.