Camo 101: A Guide to Choosing the Right Camo Pattern

Find out how you can narrow down your options when choosing camo for your next hunt.

As is the case with pretty much every piece of gear, hunters will debate which camouflage brand or pattern is the most effective. And with good reason. Depending on where you hunt and what you’re after, there could be numerous types of camo that will get the job done.

In the following article, we’ll try to help narrow down your camo choices to give you the best chance at success this season.

STANDARD CAMO PATTERNS

Let’s start by looking at the most common camo patterns used in the U.S.

Woodland_Camo
A popular choice for a number of hunters, this camo is designed to disappear into wooded areas. The tighter patterns allow hunters to blend seamlessly into their forested surroundings. You’ll find patterns with greens and leaves for the early season, while you’ll want browns and bare branches in late fall/early spring. Also take into consideration what style of hunting you prefer. If you’re in a tree stand, you might be able to get away with more contrast like limbs against the sky. If spot-and-stalk is your game, you want softer breakups to mesh your profile and surroundings.

brush camp pattern
Where woodland camo thrives on the breakup and includes a number of elements, brush camo should be more open, because the environment is more open. Western terrain often calls for such a pattern, which can help with blending into your surroundings when there is no object to add contrast. This print will help you blend in with dirt and dead grasses, as well as other minimal colors seen in this terrain.

waterfowl camp pattern
Waterfowl/marsh camo patterns feature a mix of tall grasses, reeds, corn stalks and more elements you’re likely to find in a swamp area, making this an ideal print for wetland hunters and swamp-stalking sportsmen. The long lines resembling wetland plant life allow you to drop right into the swampy environment, leaving you near invisible to approaching game or flyover waterfowl. Marsh camo is fantastic at what it does, but due to its specificity, is limited to the swamp. Waterfowl camouflage is not recommended for all-purpose uses.

Snow_Winter-Camo

When snow blankets the terrain on a deep winter hunt, you need more than white clothing. Snow camo will mix in darker colors that will confuse game as you blend seamlessly into the snowy landscape. Designed to limit the amount of contrast your profile showcases against the white, powdery environment, snow camo can be a great tool when the elements change on you. Also, don’t be afraid to mix your snow camo with other prints. If you are nestled against a tree in late-season, snow print pants and a woodland top might bare better coverage than an all-winter getup.

CHOOSING CAMO BY HUNTING REGION

Generally speaking, there are four major hunting regions in the United States: North, South, East and West.

• North: Northern hunting is synonymous with treestand hunting. You will want camo that can disappear into the tree line and into the sky as curious game look up in your direction. Consider camo that mixes light and dark swatches.
• South: Southern hunting areas are often layered with lush vegetation. Choose camo that will help you blend with leaves, branches and limbs.
• East: With its diverse set of hunting environments, you’ll need camo that can do it all. Look for all-purpose camo designed to blend into any background.
• West: Mountains, desert, badlands — the West is known for some tough terrain. Go for camo that will keep you concealed in open spaces in direct sunlight — earth tones that blend into grasses, rock and brush.

CHOOSING CAMO BY SPECIES

Three of the most popular hunts in the U.S. are waterfowl, turkey and whitetail deer, as well as other forms of big game hunting. Here are a few tips to choose camo based on your quarry.

• Waterfowl: Ducks can see colors, making waterfowl camo that much more important. Look for camo that would blend into light-colored grasses and reeds.
Turkey : When the woods begin to come alive during spring gobbler season, look for patterns with lots of green and shadows. Turkeys have impeccable eyesight, therefore it is critical to be entirely concealed. Make sure areas like your hands and face are also camouflaged.
• Deer/Big Game: For the most part, big game animals have limited color perception, but they can still pick out your silhouette if you’re not properly concealed. You’ll want camo that can naturally blend into your surroundings (leaves, branches, etc.).}|

FINAL CONSIDERATIONS

Many states require hunters to wear blaze orange apparel in the woods. Remember, deer and big game have trouble seeing colors, so wearing blaze orange only serves to keep you safe from other hunters — it will not give your location away.

While it’s essential to choose the right camo, it’s equally important to dress appropriately for the conditions. Check out our article on how to layer for the hunt to make sure you’re ready for the field.