(Why) do hunters wear camouflage?

I’m watching the beginning of the most recent episode of House. There are two men hunting. They are wearing camouflauge, and over that, they’re wearing bright orange vests.

The orange vests are to help make sure they don’t shoot each other, I take it.

But since they have to wear the orange vests, I wonder why they bother with the camouflage at all.

They dress that way to hide their appearance from the prey, (deer, I assume) who cannot see the bright orange vest.

Deer are supposed to be color blind, and the orange is just another shade of gray to them. It’s common areound here to see orange clothing with olive drab leaf patterns printed on them.

As an aside, I’ve never heard of hunting Turkey by walking through the woods. In Missouri at least, it’s all still hunting. That’s sitting very still in full camouflage, including a head net, and waiting for one to come within range. Calling is done to attract the turkeys.

That would make more sense to me if the orange vest were a kind of orange camo, rather than a big monochrome patch.

And when the hunters can afford to they will likely upgrade their vests to Orange Camo, but the plain orange overlay vests are cheap and with hunting it’s always safety first.

Interesting discussion but if the deer can’t make out the orange then why bother with camos? Couldn’t you wear a purple zoot suit and be just as invisible to deer as in camos with a blaze orange vest?

Military clothing is also comfortable and specifically designed for moving about in the forest. You can also get some for cheap from military surplus stores.

Wearing the camo under the orange vest breaks up the outlune of the human body. If you wore all orange your full silhouette would stand out against the background, breaking up the arms and legs with camo helps hide you.

The Partular shade of orange is chosen because it stands out the most to the human eye. A bright purple would have to be more pink than purple to get the same visibility and manly hunters do not wear pink.

The camo pattern is important, especially as an outline. It can be drab camo outline, or orange camo outline.

You could argue that a drab camo outfit with a orange camo pattern vest might be even better than a solid square… but that might mitigate safety a tiny amount.

Thus, orange center… camo pattern outline = Nice compromise.

I’m a hunter, and I’ve always been skeptical of camouflage clothing. I am of the opinion that game animals do not care about the color and pattern of my clothing. I honestly think it’s more of a fashion statement. The hunting magazines try and convince hunters that they *must *be camouflaged with the latest-n-greatest Mossy Oak pattern (or whatever), and people believe it. I also believe some people hunt as a way of engaging in fantasy role-playing, and dressing up as a military sniper (or whatever) is part of the fantasy.

When it comes to hunting and not being seen, there are only three things that matter IMO: movement, noise, and smell. The most significant are the first two; the less you move, and the less noise you make, the more invisible you will be. I’m neutral on the importance of body odor. I think it can certainly work against you in some circumstances, but not nearly to the extent that the magazines claim. (I think ScentLok clothing is a joke.)

Just my two cents.

In my state, deer hunters are required by law to wear a certain amount of “hunter orange” while hunting. I don’t deer hunt, so I’m not up on the specifics, but I think it is so many square inches of uninterrupted orange.

As mentioned above deer are colorblind, however, colorblindness can range from monochromacy (see only in shades of gray) to dichromacy (see all colors but a few). The former is rare in animals, to my knowledge, only cetaceans, seals, and owl monkeys are monochromats. Dichromacy is uncommon but not rare in humans, and is such a subtle impairment in humans that many are unaware that their perception is not “normal.”

Deer are dichromats, and as such can see most colors. The theory is that they supposedly have difficulty distinguishing blaze orange from another color, and thus it appears greenish to them.

What JF said. Deer see orange as a sort of gray but wearing a full body-suit of orange makes you stand out like a neon sign to them. All of a sudden there is this giant solid block of gray that looks totally out of place in the forest. And deer aren’t rocket scientists but they know what belongs in the forest and what doesn’t. Any solid color will do the same. Patterns, be it camo or the old Woolrich “red and black” breaks up that effect. Some friends and I did some experiments taking b&w pictures of ourselves on stand and moving and the difference between some orange (required in PA) in combination with other things and all ANY color was pretty great.

(PS - trout fishermen will sometimes wear patterns and camo for the same reason)
Turkey - another story. By law in PA you may wear full camo because turkey can see very well in color. By law you also are not to stalk turkey sounds or fire at anything you are unsure of. But people do and turkey hunters shoot each other too often. So moving into my stand I wear orange over my cammies. And when I get to stand, I tack the vest (about 6 feet off the ground) on the reverse of the tree I’m sitting at the base of to give people approaching from my blind side an indication I’m there. Yeah – I’m also warning turkeys coming from my blind side. But the non-feathered ones are enough of a problem that I can live with that. Literally.

Then why do so many predators have camouflaged pelts? I doubt that a tiger or leopard cares about the fashion statement it’s making.

Predators have to get much closer to their prey, moving all the while, than someone with a high powered rifle does.

I’m happy to see he was able to parlay his fame as Heroes’ Hiro Nakamura into a product endorsement, but it does seem a little off the wall… I suppose you do what you have to to pay the bills…

I am not a hunter but I believe some types of hunting are done without the safety orange (like bow hunting). If a someone needs camo for one type of hunting and safety orange for another an orange vest is much cheaper than a second set of clothes and also less inventory the store has to carry.

Agreed. I hunted from a deer stand as a kid, wearing street clothes. As long as you didn’t move, the deer didn’t seem to particularly care what you were wearing. Camo hunting gear is a relatively recent phenomenon. When I was a wee lad and spent a lot of time around hunters, it was more the exception than the rule. Now the reverse seems to be true.