How Bowhunters Can Stay Concealed in Open Country
This is the time of year when we’re gearing up for fall hunts, and camouflage clothing is a large part of that effort. Our goal is to match our camouflage pattern to the terrain we’ll be hunting, which typically means woods, brush, and the all-important shade. But what if you’ll be hunting in the high country or open prairie, where vegetative cover is sparse and there is no shade? What do you match your camo to?
Well, the first thing you must realize is if you’re in open country with the sun at your back, the shady side of your body becomes a shadow regardless of the camouflage pattern you’re wearing, and there’s nothing you can do about that. Of course, you can’t avoid the sunlight either, and when it’s hitting your “sunny side,” it’s lighting you up.
So, since you don’t have any trees, brush, or shadows to blend into in open country, the only thing you can match your camo to is the mountainside, or the ground. This becomes especially important as you make a move on an animal — be it a muley buck or a Dall sheep — because you’ll be spending a lot of time hugging the turf. That means you’ll be trying to be inconspicuous in rocks, boulders, shale, and grass in the high country, and most likely tall grass, weeds, and sage on the prairie.
One camo pattern that works well in these situations is Mossy Oak Mountain Country. The varying gray tones and eye-deceiving contrast has worked extremely well for me when hunting the high country. It’s also great on the open prairie, where a dark pattern doesn’t help you hide from pronghorns and muley bucks. Even in large expanses of grass, a lone, low-profile rock (your camouflaged body) can be overlooked by game animals. Curiously, Mountain Country is also very good in a treestand, especially when the leaves have fallen.
There’s a saying that stillness is the best camouflage. While that may be true to some extent when you’re in heavy cover, it does not apply to the wide-open spaces. When you’re that exposed, you need all the help you can get to stay hidden. So, choose a pattern that features lighter shades and high contrast, pay attention to the angle of the sun, and then try your best to look like a rock.