Today is Thursday, March 23, 2017

The plain facts about camo, scent & clowns

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I was elk hunting in the mountains of New Mexico and this cat walked by.

Thinking about buying some camouflage or scent killer "stuff" for Christmas? Or maybe something way out of the box. Give this some thought.

Ninety-five percent of the hunting camo made today, is made to fool human eyes. Three-percent, is designed to be drapes, curtains or seat covers.

The remainder, is designed to fool animal eyes. Animals do not see as human see. Most of the animals we are trying to fool, have diurnal vision.

That means, in simple terms, if you shine their eyes at night, their eyes glow. They can see at night and although they can see some color, they do not see as we do.

An easy way to tell is this. If the male of the species is more colorful than the female, birds for example, they can distinguish color. Include turkeys in this.

Now, here are the important things to consider in choosing camouflage for big game hunting.

(1) Consider what color most, if not all, the animals are that depend on protective colorization to hunt or hide. Are they not various mixes of tan, brown, black and white?

Do you think there may be a reason for that? Could it be that tan is a chameleon color, providing exactly the right light bounce as whatever color the habitat is producing? That color, as animals see it, is then broken up with elliptical patterns or spots of brown, black and white. No green, blue or grey figures into natural camo.

(2) Make sure, whatever pattern you buy, it provides plenty of light space between colors. That prevents it from "blobbing" at a distance. Many really neat-looking patterns are nothing more than black blobs at a distance.

Now here is something most people know but perhaps don't take seriously. Often, when buying "bargain basement" camo, the material, especially cotton, has been treated with dyes or brighteners. To the eyes of many animals, especially deer, this causes the material to "glow". Sometimes, repeated washings in a detergent that is free of brighteners will remove the problem, sometimes not. And here is something few consider. This problem exists with ground blinds. Just give that some thought.

Now, let's talk about care of your camo hunting clothes.

What is the single best way to wash and store them? It is simple. Wash in cold water with a softener or brightener free detergent.

Then, if at all possible, sun dry. Sun is a superb scent reducer. Store in an unscented, semi-airtight bag or do as I do, store in a cedar chest. And wash frequently. I have at least three sets of hunting clothes and try to wear fresh ones at all times, including my hat-very important.

I do not wear my hunting clothes for any other purpose unless I do not intend to use them for hunting anymore. Wash them, put them up until next season.

Okay, time to talk about boots. Rubber boots are no better than tennis shoes in terms of keeping a deer from smelling where you walked. It does not make one bit of difference what you have on your feet. As long as your footwear is properly cared for, house slippers are as scent free as knee-high, rubber boots.

I wear tennis shoes almost all year. At least, up until cold weather. But...I only wear them in the woods or to wade creeks. After wading, they are sun dried and stored for hunting. I cannot recall ever seeing a deer smell where I put my feet. My hands, yes; feet no. Here's a tip. It is the parts of your body that have hair that produce the most scent. Hard to be a good shower-up to three times a day-with unscented soap.

So, think before you buy new camouflage clothing, boots or scent products. If it looks like a photo or you think it might make good seat covers, better look for something ugly that will work on animals, not humans.

Remember, you are not trying to fool other hunters or other humans...unless you are a poacher and trespassing. You goal is to wear a camo that will allow you some movement. If you never have to move, you don't need camouflage at all.

And use some common sense in scent control. No need to get all worried about things you can't control. And do not believe all the advertisements on television and in magazines. There is no magic pattern or potion to make you invisible to eyes, ears or nose,

Now, if you are still in a quandary about a Christmas gift. How about this?

My old friend, Lecile Harris from Collierville, truly one of professional rodeo's greatest comedy bullfighters, has written a book. I promise, even if you have never seen a rodeo, you will like "Lecile - This Aint My First Rodeo". The book is so good, it won the Will Rogers Gold Medallion for best western book of the year.

I had the pleasure of working with Lecile from 1972-1976 when we both worked for Longhorn Rodeo. I can say without reservation, he is one of, if not the best that ever thrilled a crowd.

Trust me, you'll like this book. Order now, time is short before Christmas.

But take heart, this book is good way into the next year. I bet you can even Google it...whatever that is.

But for an autographed and personalized copy, you can order directly from Lecile for $20 per book and $3 S&H.

You can get two books for $6.45 priority mail. You can't beat that. Here is the ordering info. Clownin' Around Enterprises, PO Box 1291, Collierville, TN 38027

Contact the author at jsloan1944@gmail.com.

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