The camouflage industry is flourishing. New patterns emerge every year, new materials become available and everyone has their favorite pattern or patterns. People get attached to their favorite camo patterns. It seems that critiquing someone’s favorite camo pattern is akin to bad-mouthing their mother—you better be ready to fight! I love camouflage. It makes a statement. It shows our outdoor heritage. It makes us feel stealthier. And, proper camouflage actually does serve a purpose in the field by helping the hunter blend into the surroundings and breaking up their outline, disguising the human form. Coyotes are amazing animals with some of the most acute senses of any animal. To take them consistently requires a hunter to do many things big and small correctly. Proper camouflage and concealment can help up the odds.
Part of the proliferation of camouflage patterns is due to the fact that one size doesn’t fit all. Different vegetation types as well as changing seasons require different colors and/or patterns to maximize your ability to blend into the flora. Becoming the bush depends on the bush you are trying to emulate. Add to all of that the differing requirements associated with different ways of playing the game and choosing your camo becomes even more complicated. The camo needs of the long range rifleman are next to nil unless you are mixing in some calling stands. Shotgunning called coyotes is a whole ‘nuther ball of wax.
Writer Tim Titus owns and operates No Off Season, an on-line predator and varmint hunting store and guiding business. You can check it out at No-Off-Season.com.
At close range, coyotes have an uncanny ability to pick out a hunter. A close friend of mine was killed in an auto accident a few years ago. He was an extremely dedicated bowhunter. He told me that 200 yards is “radar range” for mule deer. It is certain that coyotes within shotgun range have radar all their own. Any movement will be noticed immediately. Even with head-to-toe camouflage, a coyote will spot movement immediately so when you make your move, you’d better be ready to shoot.
Coyotes are color blind. Reds are particularly gray to them but they may see blues somewhat better. (Gerry Blair is famous for calling a coyote in a Santa Claus suit.) That said, effective camouflage clothing needs to be of similar hue to the vegetation you want to hide in. The actual color of the pattern is less important. However, this suggests that blue jeans might not be the best choice for calling. The more effective camo patterns will also be more “open” with larger areas of color. Finely detailed camo patterns that have a more monochromatic color scheme will look like one color from a distance. This isn’t a make or break issue for a given pattern but it changes its effectiveness. Three dimensional camo fabric adds much to your camouflage.
The ghillie suit made famous by our military snipers may be the most effective camouflage yet. Whether it is necessary for your hunting situation is up to the hunter and the animals he or she is hunting. The benefits of the ghillie are offset by its weight, its propensity to gather twigs and burs and in some instances its way of getting caught in your rifle bolt or the charging handle of your AR and barbed wire fences. Nonetheless, it is no doubt some of the best camo available. Leafywear, lightweight ghillies and ghillies made with cloth strips are available or you can make your own to fit your specific area.
Although camouflage gets an almost inordinate amount of attention, our real goal is concealment. Camouflage is just a part of concealment. Concealment is the sum total of all you do in your set-up and your camouflage. If a hunter hides behind something, camo clothing would be unnecessary. But, I learned early in my coyote calling career that it was a poor idea to sit behind brush when calling. The same brush that hides the hunter becomes a liability to getting a clear shot when the coyote arrives. Pop-up blinds are an example of being hidden without need for camo clothing. However, blinds take time to set up and transporting the blind from stand to stand becomes a complication. For most of us, blinds are impractical and with good camouflage and concealment tactics, unnecessary.