When I started hunting solo 48 years ago at age 12, most guys didn’t wear camo. Those with the money wore Carhartt’s®. Most of the rest of us wore whatever we had. Woodsy-colored flannel shirts and jackets were common. So were regular military fatigue jackets, military field jackets and green and brown plaid CPO jackets. Those who could get them wore brown duck pants or fatigue pants. A few lucky souls found military surplus camo at affordable prices. Blue jeans and work boots were what usually covered the lower end of the body, though. Different hats, caps and toboggans were common, usually in earth tones. Bird hunters often wore them in reds or orange though, usually red, since orange was just beginning to catch on as a safety color. I wore everything except camo and Carhartt’s at one time or another, in other words, whatever I could afford. I probably didn’t have any hunter orange until the relevant laws were passed, or camo until I was in my 20’s. I never had an all camo outfit, though, until I was in my 40’s.
Eventually, camo became a political statement. Its use as such developed as an in-your-face way to show support of hunting, when the anti-hunting sentiment started getting so militant. Whether that’s wise or not, I don’t know, but it isn’t going to end now. For one thing, lower-income hunters figure if they can only afford a few articles of clothing, they’ll get camo for hunting and then wear it everywhere else as well. That’s the opposite thinking from the old days when people bought regular clothes and wore them for hunting, too. Somewhere along the way, that turned camo into a fashion statement. “Urban camo” showed up in shades of orange, purple, blue, grey, yellow and, heavens-to Betsy, even pink. I can’t really say if it helps a person blend into the crowd. I suspect not.
It seems to me like the fashion angle is getting a little out of hand. Years ago, I laughed at camo cigarette lighters, flashlights, emergency whistles and so on. If you dropped ANY of those items in the woods, would you really WANT them to be more difficult to see? This year, I see camo recliners, camo lamps, camo vacuum sweepers and other silly things for sale at the Chinese Emporium. Just recently, camo has even made it into kitchen-ware. The pots and pans are one thing, but if you ever actually took large kitchen knives with camo handles and BLADES into the outdoors, it could get downright dangerous if you drop them. That would especially be the case if it was in low light and you couldn’t find your camo flashlight.
Who knows? In a few years, those new mirror blinds may catch on so much that hunters will be walking through the woods wrapped in aluminum foil (with the shiny side out, of course). At least they’ll be safe from aliens, as long as they have their hat on. © 2015