Clothing can affect your ability to perform. The clothes you wear can decide if your bow hunting trip will be an enjoyable one or one that you would avoid.
For a safe and successful hunt, packing the proper clothing should be considered as one of the most important preparations.
Hunting apparel earlier used to be heavy, had poor insulation, had poor performance, and usually had basic camo patterns that provided very poor concealment.
Over the last couple of decades, the advancements in concealment technology and performance fabrics have reached exceptional heights, and hunters around the globe are the beneficiary of these amazing advancements.
Before developing your own clothing system, you need to consider where, when, and how you will be doing most of your hunting.
We recommend you to buy high-quality clothes that are 100% waterproof and test them out before you decide to hunt in them.
Always plan according to whether you will be predominantly sitting or moving and what the prevailing weather pattern will be. Finally, you will need to include rain gear in your hunting clothing system.
Staying dry not only means staying warm in cold, wet weather, it can also mean staying alive.
- Bowhunting For Beginners
- Bowhunting Tips Tricks and Strategies
- All About Bow Hunting Seasons in the USA
- Essential Gear For Hunting
1. Why Do You Need Different Clothes For Hunting?
Clothes are required because first for the obvious reason, it protects you from the harsh weather conditions. On hot days, you have to wear light and breathable clothes to save your skin from scorching heat and sunburn.
On winter or cold days, you have to wear layers of clothing to protect yourself from the cold.
The second reason why you need different clothes is to stay hidden and concealed from animals. If they see you, they will panic and run away.
2. What Animals Can See And Smell
There are light-sensitive cells that are responsible for our ability to see color. Each light-sensitive eye cell is sensitive to only one group of colors.
Our eyes have three color-sensor cells: those that pick up bluish light, green-yellow light, and reddish light. Working together, these three cells are enough to let humans see purple, orange, aqua, and everything in between.
Because we have three types of color cells, humans (and other primates) have trichromatic (tri=three, chromatic=color) vision.
Deer have dichromatic (di=two) vision, meaning they have two types of color cells. They only have the bluish light cells and the green-yellow light cells.
Therefore, they cannot properly see purple, red, pink, and orange colors. This is why orange has become the safety color for hunters in the field.
While a hunter decked out in blaze orange may look like a ridiculous human highlighter to us, he will look like a dull, unremarkable yellowish-gray to our ungulate friends.
They cannot even differentiate between subtle shades of color. Medium blue and light blue would look almost the same to them. But the placement of their eyes on the sides of their head gives them a wide vision.
Therefore, deer are excellent motion-detectors, and the slightest of your movement can catch their attention.
2.2 Coyotes And Fox
The coyotes and foxes are not only intelligent, curious, and playful, but they have very keen senses: acute hearing, excellent vision, and an extremely sensitive sense of smell.
They also have a dichromatic vision with the blue and green-yellow color cells. They have better visibility than ungulates but still worse than humans.
Cats have trichromatic vision, but that does not mean they have a vision similar to humans. It is a bit more complex. The three cell types in humans are sensitive to a wide range of colors; the three cells in cats seem to cover a narrower range.
As a result, cat color vision may not differ substantially from ungulates or canines. This means that they have senses to differentiate between green and blue, but their daylight vision is quite similar to coyotes (blurrier than humans).
However, at night cats’ vision is much sharper than ours.
Birds, on the other hand, have a very different vision and perception. Most birds have tetra-chromatic (tetra=four) or even potentially Penta-chromatic (penta=five) color vision, meaning they have more types of color receptor cells in their eyes than humans have.
Birds can see the full rainbow even beyond what humans can see. Birds can distinguish between very similar shades of color. Birds also have color cells in their eyes that are maximally sensitive to UV spectrum light.
So, birds will notice things about your outfit that you will not be able to perceive. Most of the hunters try and avoid wearing orange or any vibrant color because a bright orange will be a dead giveaway.
Wearing camouflage clothes is better for hunting birds.
3. What Qualities Do Hunting Clothes Have?
Hunting is an unpredictable game. You have to be prepared for the best and the worst. There will be moderate to extreme weather conditions, and you may be stuck in the woods for several days.
The point is you should have the right clothing regardless of conditions. Consider the following points before making your purchase.
3.1 Colors (camouflage)
Camouflage can help with certain types of animals and a certain type of hunting. Many animals see things differently from humans, so we need to understand what they can see to figure out how to hide from their watchful eyes.
Deer and many other animals such as antelope, elk, sheep, goats, and pigs have dichromatic (di=two) vision, meaning they only have the bluish light cells and the green-yellow light cells.
Therefore, they cannot see vibrant colors like Purple, red, pink, and orange. Wearing camo is not necessary but also not a total waste; it can save you from little mistakes here and there.
Animals have a highly developed sense of smell, and they can easily smell humans. Your odor can probably scare them away. Clothes made with carbon fiber are preferred because carbon is a known scent reducer.
Clothes made with carbon fibers embedded in them absorb odors before they leave your body.
There are various types of scent control measures through which you can reduce your body odor, such as using scent killing products or scent masking.
When you have to navigate around briar patches, crawl across open expanses, or just climb a tree your clothes need to stand up to abuses, so they should be characterized by maximum durability, resistance to dirt while maintaining their unique properties.
Focus on the material the clothes are made up of to ensure quality.
3.4 Weather Conditions
Hunting takes place in all weather and conditions so don’t overlook your hunting clothing because it may determine how long you’re able to stay outdoors, and how comfortable you are when you’re out there.
It takes a little preparation and investment in the right clothing for the weather.
The best hunting clothes for hot weather will be lightweight, breathable, and comfortable. Breathability is also important as it will allow the sweat to dry up faster otherwise it will start stinking.
In winters, layering is the key to comfort on the hunt, add layers of clothing on your body to maintain the temperature. Other than clothes you will need gloves, socks, jackets, and boots of good quality.
Always be prepared for rain. it can put a real damper on your hunting trip. Use waterproof clothes along with a good pair of shoes, you can also install an umbrella in your tree stand.
Comfortable clothing can make you a more efficient hunter. A comfortable hunter is a happy hunter. The more comfortable we are, the more we will be able to concentrate and focus on hunting, which means more opportunity to fill that tag burning a hole in your pocket.
Hunting is already a hard-enough endeavor and we cannot change it, what we can change is what we are wearing to give the ability to hunt even harder than before.
3.6 Moisture Management
Most people didn’t pay too much attention to moisture management until recently. It is crucial to have a system that can manage sweat and keep your body warm both at the same time.
Moisture lock will make you sweat and stink that will keep away your game from you.
Every piece of clothing that you will carry should be extremely quiet. Many of the game animals have an excellent sense of sound and smell and you have to be aware of that.
If a piece of clothing seems noisy in a store, just imagine how noisy it’ll be when you’re trying to draw your bow towards a deer or turkey. If you can hear it, game animals can hear it better.
I have a volatile metabolism. Walking just a few minutes, I’ll be drenched in sweat if I’m dressed too warmly; sitting still for only moments, I will become chilled if underdressed.
That’s why I look for jackets, bibs, and pants with full-length zippers or pit zips so I can vent off excess heat when walking and then quickly zip up to retain body heat when stationary.
3.9 The Material
Besides the design of the pattern, you also need to pay attention to the material of your hunting clothes as well.
Basically, your hunting clothes need to be more durable and can stand well against extreme weather. They need to be at least water-resistant to keep you dry all day.
I don’t think there is a hunter alive that wants to pack more weight than they need to. Success is the name of the game here and any successful hunter will agree that bulky, heavy clothing is not going to increase your chances of success.
The last thing an archery hunter needs is bulky clothing with excessive folds certain to come in contact with a loaded bowstring.
The best choice of clothing should be crafted with lightweight performance fabrics that provide excellent insulation and breathability at a fraction of the weight.
4. An Outfit You Can Go For
When people think of hunting, probably they think of camouflage or blaze orange hunting clothes. What they don’t pay attention to are some crucial innerwear items such as underwear (like these for men and women), wool socks, and thermals (like these for men and women).
Many hunters love the gameplay while snow is on the ground and to stay comfortable and protected at that time you need a warm inner layer of clothing.
These articles of clothing make the biggest difference. They also come in handy during the winter months even when you’re not hunting.
The outer layer of clothing is very important, but if you want to be comfortable, these inexpensive items are well worth their price.
Avoid cotton while purchasing them. If cotton gets wet or even damp, you get cold. Stick with wool or polyester material. There are plenty of great options out there.
Many of the sports-focused brands make excellent products, but you don’t have to spend exorbitant amounts to get something sufficient.
The middle layer helps in keeping your body warm and maintaining body temperature. If you are a beginner, you should be good with the wool sweater and jeans you already have in your closet.
Make sure it fits you properly and isn’t too hard to take off. If you feel hot and want to remove any of your clothing items the middle layer is the one you should remove because the outer layer protects you from bushes, branches, and everything else.
Even in mid-layer, avoid cotton and try something made of wool, polyester jackets, sweatshirts (like these for men and women), and pants (like these for men and women). Stay away from anything too heavy because you have another layer of clothes you need to put on.
This is the most important part of hunting clothing. If you are going to hunt a turkey or any other bird, you should go for camo (like this) otherwise you can wear orange blaze (like this) hunting clothes per your game’s vision.
While you don’t always need camo but it is good to have it, it protects from newbie mistakes here and there and increases the chances of getting successful.
Be aware of the noises that your clothes are making and try to avoid purchasing them. Look for something that is at least water and dirt resistant and also has plenty of room inside.
A little gap inside the jacket or pants will help you hold in the heat better.
Hunting trousers are probably the item of clothing that is exposed to most wear when hunting, as you’re often down on your knees, traversing impassable terrain with blackberry bushes, or scaling high seat hunting ladders and towers.
A pair of proper hunting trousers (like this for men and women) must be comfortable for stalking over long distances. Above all, they must match the hunting and the habitat in which they are being used.
It is therefore very important that you choose the right trousers to suit your needs.
4.5 Gloves And Hat
Quality hunting gloves and the right hat are crucial pieces of clothing. Without a good pair of gloves, your fingers will be too cold to pull the bow and release the arrow at the right point in time.
Also, you lose a lot of heat from your head. Having a good, warm hat (like this hunter orange or this camo print) will keep your head and ears warm while you’re out there. There are gloves specifically made for hunting.
One way to go about it is to go for something warm and not too bulky. Try to practice beforehand and make sure your gloves and hat are comfortable and allow proper functioning of your fingers.
4.6 Rain Gear
Even the best hunting clothing is rendered worthless if you get soaked in cold weather. When it rains or snows, you want packable rain gear (like this) that’s completely waterproof without being too heavy.
You are certainly going to need a good set of boots. With the looming threat of cold and blisters, if you find yourself in a poor pair of boots you are more than likely going to find your hunting excursion to end quite quickly.
Keep in mind that a good set of boots are going to cost you, but remember that you are going to get what you pay for. A good pair of boots (like this for men and women) provides you protection, insulation, convenience, and mobility.
As far as sizing goes, don’t forget you’ll be wearing some thick wool socks with your boots.
You want something that doesn’t fit too tightly. It has to lace up well and not fit sloppily on your foot, but you want plenty of room inside the boot, even with your thick wool socks on.
A little extra space inside will help trap heat inside the boot and keep the blood circulating well. All this helps to keep your feet comfy.
Keep in mind the weight of the boot. While insulation is extremely important, you don’t want a pair of boots that feel like leg weights.
Luckily, there are plenty out there that are lightweight, waterproof, and warm. They can, however, get a little expensive.
5. Other Blending Techniques
The fact is that you need to open up all your senses while you are in the wilderness trying to hunt or survive. Sight, smell, sound, movement, colors, texture, everything matters when it comes to camouflage.
Blend into your surroundings & break your outline so that they see through you rather than see you. Once you can do that, stay hidden and you can get to within 10-yards of a big game without them even batting an eyelid.
5.1 Removing Smell From Your Hunting Clothes
Even the slightest trace of your scent is a dead giveaway to your location in the field. The point is, no matter how minute we think our odor is, a potential target can smell a hunter coming from quite a distance away.
Subsequently, that game might scamper out of range quickly to avoid what they see as a potential threat, and you’d never know.
Camouflage clothing is terrific, but if it smells like your favorite laundry detergent, it defeats the purpose of wearing it. Baking soda can do wonders for controlling your scent.
Consider washing your clothes with a no-scent detergent, then dry them on a clothesline (dryers can impart residual odors from prior wash loads into fabrics) before laying them flat in a plastic bag.
Sprinkle a layer of baking soda on top of one layer, and then repeat until the bag is full. Finally, place an open box of baking soda inside the bag and seal up until your next hunt.
When it comes to footwear, baking soda does a great job of keeping boots in ready-to-hunt shape. Apply a copious amount inside each boot after removing them from the boot dryer.
5.2 Natural Backing
Always look for opportunities to use natural backing to break up your shadow against the skyline.
Key features to pinpoint include multi-trunked trees, large-diameter trees, tight groupings of coniferous trees, tall hardwood trees with mid-sized coniferous trees like hemlock or spruce right next to them, hardwood trees with a lot of branch structure that have persistent leaves (trees like oak, beech and others will hold their leaves well into the late-season), and others.
The point is to try to visualize what the stand may look like during hunting season and make sure you’re not going to be sticking out like a sore thumb.
5.3 Using Foliage
Look for a water source, like a pond or a river. You should find clay or mud near the edges. Scoop out a big chunk, check them for bugs and other critters.
Now strip down to your skivvies and apply a generous coat of the mud all over your body. Ensure that you cover every inch. While the mud is still wet, grab leaves, twigs, duff, and whatever else that you can find on the forest floor and slap it on.
Why you can just roll on the forest floor until you resemble it yourself. It might prick a little or even itch until the mud dries. But that’s about it.
Once it’s dried, you can just disappear into the surroundings. You are as lethal as a badass green beret now.
Consider your hunting clothing an important part of your entire gear lineup. Use a system you can rely on no matter what, where, or when you’re hunting.
Fortunately, it’s possible to build a complete hunting clothing system that is versatile enough to use in various circumstances whether you’ll be chasing all day in a hot desert environment or sitting on a stand from dawn until dusk in a mix of freezing rain and snow.
And, a complete hunting clothing system will ultimately keep you out in the field longer, allowing you to put more meat in the freezer.
- How do we know what animals can see, hear and smell?
- Hunting Clothes: How To Dress For Hunting Success
- 5 Practical Tricks To Choosing Deer Hunting Clothes
- 9 Ways to Conceal Movement While Hunting
- Scent Control Hunting Tactics
Hi, I’m Vineet. Creator of DivinioWorld. I am an outdoor enthusiast and absolutely love researching, learning, and applying skills and knowledge in the real world. I started DivinioWorld to share everything I know so that even a beginner can follow the ropes and master the subtle art of outdoors adventure and survival.