Hunting Tip: Camouflage Won't Help if You Set Up in Sunlight

You're invisible. Or at least you think you are. After all, you've done all the right things: bought that pricey camo that matches your surroundings, painted your face with lots of greasy face paint, and you are even wearing camo boots. Now all you have to do is sit there, soak in a little sunshine, and wait for a big buck to show himself.

But when a buck does come in, he spots your position and blows out for the next county. The problem? You set up in the sunlight (see the photo above).

A common mistake that has ruined plenty of big-game hunters’ chances is setting up where direct sunlight can reach them. Sunshine turns a camouflaged hunter from an indistinct shadowy figure into a glowing beacon. Dappled sunlight shining through a canopy of leaves isn't usually a problem. But direct sunlight can reveal your whereabouts and end your hunt.

Camouflage clothing's basic function is to break up our outline – tricking our prey’s eyes into passing over us in their constant search for danger. The human silhouette is incredibly distinct in the wilderness – there is no other form like it. To fool game, it is essential to reduce our human outline. The best camo patterns utilize starkly contrasting colors in their design, thus changing us from a human form into something indistinct and non-threatening. Interestingly, for those of you traditional hunters like me - a good plaid pattern like Fred Bear often wore can work almost as effectively as modern camouflage.

Remember that sunlight moves as the earth rotates. Set up your ambush in a location that allows you to remain shadowed as the light moves around you. If you are still-hunting or stalking, move efficiently through areas of sunshine and then pause to watch and listen when in the shadows. When calling, set up in dark shade that offers good shooting lanes. Remember to keep your hands and face camo'd up as well – if left uncovered, they are a dead giveaway even in the shadows.