The Woolwich Observer

A problem that goes increasing­ly unseen

- STEVE GALEA

For the hunter, spring is a busy time. Wild turkey season opens on April 25. The spring bear hunt begins on May 1.

The common thread that connects both activities is camouflage. Turkey hunters generally wear it from head to toe. Bear hunters are allowed to wear it while sitting in the stand.

That means in every household where hunters live right now, people are panicking to find their camouflage clothing and accessorie­s.

You might think that this should not present a challenge.

And you’d be right if the hunter placed these items in a bin or hung them in a closet on hangers designated for such things.

Finding these items gets considerab­ly more difficult, however, if there is even one potted plant in the room – or, God forbid, floral wallpaper. That’s because modern camouflage is so good that this is all it takes for it to blend right in.

It was not always this way, however.

When I started hunting, almost 50 years ago, camouflage consisted of not moving and remaining silent. If you wanted to get really fancy, you did this while standing amidst shrubbery.

During the second year I hunted, my friends and I decided to take it even more seriously.

This meant each of us purchased an olive-green hydro parka and wore our dirtiest blue jeans while out in the field. If you were really concerned about not being seen – or just like any other boy of that era – you did not wash your face in the month or two prior to hunting season. This seemed to work fine too. For when our game animals showed themselves, very few could see where that awful smell was coming from.

Since those days, camouflage has continuall­y improved with every hunting season. It has gotten so good, that I have not been able to locate it in the sporting good stores I go to for the last three years.

What’s even worse is that modern firearms and bows now come well camouflage­d too. And this has proven highly entertaini­ng. I don’t know many hunters who have not sat back and laughed while a hunting buddy tried to find a firearm or bow they set down in the woods.

This golden era of camouflage is not without its pitfalls though. I once lost a hunting buddy for an entire season. The only reason why I found him again was because the hunting regulation­s said we needed to wear hunter orange in the rifle season for deer.

I guess my major complaint is that camouflage has got so specialize­d that it is hard to choose the appropriat­e type. There are camouflage­s for woods and woodlands, fields, and deserts, marshes and bottomland­s, hardwoods and evergreens, winter, fall, and spring. Some of it is made to blend in with certain types of trees too – like oak, spruce, maple and pines.

Who knows where it is going to go from here? I would not be surprised if the next step will be to make a camo pattern that also depicts ripe fruit such as apples. Or has a sap bucket attachment or a no trespassin­g sign.

This will mean that choosing the right camo pattern is just going to get even more difficult. But I suppose that is the point.

After all, good camouflage ought to be hard to find.

 ?? ?? Not-So-Great Outdoorsma­n
Not-So-Great Outdoorsma­n

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