Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   


Hiding in Plain Sight

Camouflage is all about contrast - the less contrast, the more stealth.

By Gibbs Milliken

Texas has such a wide variety of ecoregions that one camouflage pattern will not work for all habitats. Within each region, the appearance of terrain and vegetation varies greatly with the season and topography. The following are some designs that blend effectively with different environments across the state.

East Texas Woodlands

In this region, the Realtree Hardwoods HD camouflage is a great choice for hunting the deep and often dark forests. This high definition design includes rich-colored oak leaves and branches with sharp illusionary shadows, a convincing depiction of a common background in the East Texas bottomlands. (RealTree Camouflage, (706) 569-9101, www.realtree.com)

Texas Gulf Coastal Wetlands

During fall and winter, the marsh grasses and croplands are best imitated with Advantage Wetlands. This camo design offers the 3D illusion of tan, dried reeds typical of waterfowl habitats along the Gulf Coastal Plain and tidal flats. (Advantage Camou-flage, (706) 569-9101, www.advantagecamo.com)

South Texas Brush Country

Several designers are making patterns specific to the mesquite and chaparral country. Brush Country, a company in Bryan, Texas, makes a design that synthesizes the dappled appearance of green mesquite and white thorn branches. Another mimic of South Texas brush is available from GameGuard. Their tan and muted green motif features individually rendered clumps of yucca, cacti and bushes. At a distance, these patches of vegetation are seen as a random light and dark arrangement. (Brush Country Camouflage, (877) 599-7225, www. brushcountrycamo.com ) (GameGuard Camo, (866) 355-2668, www.gameguardcamo.com)

West Texas Rangelands

The latest open country pattern is Mossy Oak Brush which uses an abstract background of dirt and dead grasses with foregrounds inspired by dried brush. The combination matches the soft shadows and dusty landscape of sparsely vegetated rangelands. (Mossy Oak, (888) 667-7962, www.mossyoak.com)

High Plains Prairies

The top of Texas offers a creative challenge to camo artists since there is little cover on these wide-open lands. The Prairie Ghost Ultimate pattern is intended for sagebrush country, but also gives an overall light gray impression that will fit the general tones and colors of the upland Texas landscape. (Montana Camo, Inc. (877) 226-6462, www.prairieghost.com)

Central Texas Hill Country

The cedar, live oak and limestone backdrop of the Texas heartland needs a muted gray-green cast to blend with the general surroundings. One excellent concept is by Natural Gear. It is an abstract design that has the character of bark textures and aged rock surfaces. (Natural Gear, (800) 628-4327, www.naturalgear.com)

No doubt, the most convincing type of camouflage for the hills and similar landscapes is a full-body-and-head-covering "Ghillie suit," originally designed for military snipers. On the move, you look like a shaggy walking bush, but when still, you're transformed into a natural landscape feature. It is a bit bulky, but lightweight versions are available in several popular camo patterns. (Cabela's Lightweight Ghillie Suit, (800) 237-4444, www.cabelas.com)

A less bulky alternative is made of cutout cloth leaves attached to a breathable mesh fabric like the Robinson 3D RealLeaf. It does a good job of breaking up the human outline and contours. In addition, you can apply their Scent Blocker spray to the outfit and you have a good chance of being almost undetectable. (Robinson Outdoors, (800) 397-1927, www.robinsonoutdoors.com)

The secret of remaining camouflaged among wildlife is looking normal, smelling neutral and, when necessary, moving ever so slowly and quietly.

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