Florida swampland scam, move over – Daddy’s here. “Daddy who,” you ask? “The Bank of Nigeria unclaimed funds scam? An identity theft racket? The free vacation drawing you win without entering?” No, unfortunately Daddy is much worse, more prolific and harder to spot – he’s camouflage.
For the majority of hunters, camo is a complete rip-off (unless their hunting methods involve jumping around upwind in the open). Successful hunters tend to hunt from blinds, tree-stands or on the ground, concealed, motionless and downwind.
“Hunt without camo? My God, what will we do?” Basically, you will: (1) keep downwind in the shadows, sun at your back, using brush, trees and rocks to break up your outline; (2) wear earth tone clothes you already own; (3) see and take the same amount of game you always have; and (4) save ridiculous amounts of money.
Remember the old days when old-timers bagged the trophies we dream of today? Look closely at photos of legendary twentieth-century hunters like Fred Bear, Jack O’Connor, Ernest Hemmingway, Theodore Roosevelt and even Grandpa. Notice something missing?
Or consider the world’s most prolific hunter, a renowned expert in the pursuit of rabbit, duck and the occasional Martian – Elmer Fudd. Fudd has hunted sixty years plus and wouldn’t know camo if it bit him on the butt.
Camo first became popular in the late sixties after stateside Vietnam vets, still hankering to shoot things, wore their military camo afield. They did this not primarily to improve their hunting, but because the clothing was available, durable and already paid for.
However, savvy businessmen smelled blood, created Realexpensivetree, Mossy Joke, etc., and latched onto hunters like fat ticks on lazy dogs. The scam was on. Today, drunk on compelling advertising, we annually hand these blood-suckers millions of our hard-earned dollars.
Next time you’re hunting from a blind, wrapped head-to-toe in four layers of camo, take notice of the 10 by 36-inch window you’re peering through and ask yourself if something isn’t seriously wrong.
Newsflash! Big game animals rarely look upward. Why? Because Wally the Airborne Wolf and Rocky the Flying Coyote aren’t from these parts. Predators attack from the ground. What you’re hunting also eats, drinks, and mates on the ground. Consider this next time you’re twenty feet up a tree, slathered in camo.
If successful hunting depended on wearing camouflage, most hunters wouldn’t stand an ice cube’s chance in hell. However, millions of hunters “stuck” wearing blaze orange stick out like flaming sore thumbs each year while harvesting an incredible number of big game trophies. Elmer would be proud.
Now don’t get me wrong, you needn’t totally abandon camouflage. If you have some already paid for, use it – it won’t hurt. However, unless you’re bent on fitting in with the good old boys, host a television hunting show sponsored by blood-sucking ticks, or can somehow find camo on sale for less than its non-camo counterpart (fat chance), there’s hardly a reason to buy more.
Curious to find out if you’re as good as Grandpa? Want to save money and not be a camo manufacturer’s tool? Then fight the scam! Just step back, let go of your wallet, and take a deep breath. Then ask yourself: “What would Elmer do?”
Tripp Holmgrain is an avid outdoorsman and opinionated outdoor fashion consultant. Email him at email@example.com.