Best Camo Patterns for Deer Hunting [Expert Guide]
In this article, I'll tell you how to pick a camo pattern and some best camo patterns for deer hunting that are popular today. Check it out:
How Good Is Deer Eyesight?
To understand camo. you must understand the eyesight of a deer. Deer do not see the same way that we do.
Their eyesight is very keen, but it has its limitations. Deer primarily see the contrast in shapes and movement.
The colors they can recognize are limited. That is why bright colors like orange do not scare them off.
It is all about breaking up your shape so it blends into your surroundings. The more the contrast of your camo matches your surroundings, the less likely it is for a deer to spot you.
Do I Need Hunting Camouflage?
The answer to this question is relative. Keep in mind that with any kind of deer hunting, firearm or bow hunting, the goal is to get as close to the deer as possible.
This is where camo can really be your friend. The closer you are to the animal, the more likely it is that your shape and features might be spotted.
The other factor to keep in mind is movement. I consider myself to be a good hunter, but far from perfect. I am a human.
I probably move my head too much. I probably get up to stretch my back too often. Heck, I even check my phone every once in a while.
All of this movement is more obvious if you do not have camouflage. With bow hunting, movement is an even bigger issue.
When I bow hunt, I like the deer to be within 30 yards if possible.
Then once in the range I typically need to stand up and draw the bow without being seen. This movement needs to be concealed as much as possible.
How to Pick a Camo Pattern?
If you go online or go to any large hunting store, you will notice that there are a ton of different patterns available. They have become more and more detailed as technology has increased.
A good camo pattern has really become an art form. You can see every leaf and every twig in the pattern.
You will also notice a wide variety of color scheme. Some are darker and some are lighter.
Some are even primarily white. This all has to do with the environment in which you will be hunting.
Where and When Hunting?
If you are bow hunting in a deciduous forest early in the season, you will likely want a lot of green in the pattern.
If you hunt after the leaves have fallen, you probably want more browns. If you hunt when there is snow on the ground, there is your primarily white pattern.
You can even get your hunter orange vest and hat in a camo pattern. This may sound silly, but even hunter orange camo will break up your figure better than a solid orange vest or hat.
Take a minute to think about where and when you will be using your camo before you make a purchase.
Types of Hunting Camo Patterns:
There are two primary types of hunting camo patterns available:
Most of what you see out there these days are mimicry camo. These are the patterns that have realistic foliage and bark in the image.
Two popular camo patterns are:
These have been staples in the camo industry for decades.
Breakup camo uses non-realistic colors and shapes to breakup your form. I have a few pieces of breakup camo and they do the job fine.
Two examples of this type of camo are:
If I have to pick between the two, I prefer mimicry camo. However, I am starting to understand the advantages of both.
As far as how much to spend, for me, that is more based on quality than it is the pattern.
I will spend more on camo that will last and that has the proper amount of insulation versus something that is going to fall apart or not keeps me warm.
I do spend a lot of money on camo, but I don’t have to buy it very often.
I do mix and match. I don’t believe that there is one perfect pattern. They all have their pros and cons.
I probably own six different brands of camo gear and I use them all depending on when and where I am hunting. It has also given me a good feel for what I will buy again in the future.
Best Hunting Camo Brands:
For a long time, the only brands I would consider for camo were Realtree vs Mossy Oak. They were just my go-to’s to ensure I was getting a quality purchase.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with sticking to the staples, and I will continue to purchase these patterns until the day I die.
However, my eyes were opened to new camo designs through a family member. Back when I was in my early 20’s, my cousin’s husband developed his own camo pattern.
He and his family live in Southern Missouri just a stone’s throw from my deer camp every year.
He knows his stuff. I remember being incredibly impressed with the patterns he created, and it got me thinking about other less known patterns might be out there.
Sure enough, within a few years, the bigger brands ended up buying him out and adopting his pattern for their own.
Be sure to consider brands you might not know quite as well when you make your purchase. Here are a few examples of newer patterns and brands that have gotten solid reviews.
This camo pattern was actually developed by a Navy Seal, so you know it has to be quality. If your life is on the line, your camo has to be good.
The concept is to have digital elements as well as natural elements so that it would have more of a three-dimensional (3D) effect.
In essence, he has combined mimicry and breakup camo patterns for an entirely new option. It is worth checking out.
This company (owned by Sixsite now) has created a pattern called RANA that is quite unique. The concept is to have one pattern that will help you blend into almost every environment.
They actually based their pattern on frog skin of all things. You could be in the Rocky Mountains or in a forest in Kentucky and this camo should get the job done.
They are also 100% made in the USA. The creator is a veteran and finds this to be of vital importance.
This pattern has taken almost a decade to create. Through field testing, it has been changed roughly 60 times to get it just right.
The Australian owner is an avid big game hunter. He started out with a strict mimicry pattern but has continued to develop it into more of a breakup pattern.
He felt that sticking with natural elements really limited the versatility of the pattern, and thus TUSX was born.
This pattern was developed with fine attention to detail, but not to natural elements. The developer calls them “random tonal microstructures”.
This is basically a digital breakup pattern of blocks and flecks of color making the pattern useful in many different environments.
It is just as effective at a distance as it is up close to your prey. It was also designed by an Australian creator.
This pattern was created by an individual with a background you would not expect.
He worked in the oil industry, but a side project was water transfer printing. This is how your camo gets onto your bows, guns, and other hard surfaces.
He noticed that companies doing water transfer printing were losing profits by paying other companies for their patterns, so he decided to develop his own.
He sold his printing business eventually and focused entirely on developing camo patterns. This pattern was developed more for open country hunting.
It is a breakup digital pattern focusing on brown, gray, and yellow. They are layered to make them look very three-dimensional.
Stone Cold Steve Austin, the wrestling superstar, is actually helping to market the line.
The name stands for Advanced Tactical Concealment System and has been used by police and military for decades.
Just in these last few years, hunters are starting to catch on and try out this pattern.
Once again, this company is breaking away from the limitations of mimicking natural elements. They find that the breakup pattern is better for use in several different environments.
However, they do still have several different color schemes and patterns to gear your purchase towards a specific environment.
O2 Octane Cabela’s
I’m sure you are familiar with the hunting and fishing giant, but some people did not realize that Cabela’s is now developing their own line of camo.
The enormous team of developers working on this pattern rejected over 70 designs before deciding they were happy with this one.
You will find contrast in the tones and shapes to break up your silhouette in the wilderness.
Again, as seen with other new patterns this design is really meant to be used in every environment.
The Bottom Line:
As you can see, the trend in all of the new patterns is to provide a breakup pattern that is more versatile.
The developers want to provide a pattern that allows you to purchase one item of apparel that can be used year-round no matter where you hunt.
Where you might have to buy four or five different mimicry patterns to cover your hunting endeavors, you might only need to buy one or two breakup patterns.
It is a smart strategy if they are successful with their design. While I am still always going to love going back to the old staples, I have a few pieces of breakup camo and plan to try out more.
Keep your mind open as this industry develops. You never know when you might stumble upon something that works better than what you have.
Your turn, what are your best camo patterns for deer hunting? Are there included in the above list? Tell me below.