If you hang out long enough in the hunting world, you’ll quickly realize there are a lot of different types of folks out there. There are the dyed-in-the-wool rednecks with giant trucks, Confederate flags and muddin’ tires, and there are the eco-conscious adventure seekers who spend the off-season mountaineering in Argentina or surfing in California. Some shop at Walmart and others at Whole Foods, but together we make up one big, happy family.
Any way you look at it, the diversity of our community is what makes it so unique. It also means we can stop from time to time and have a good hearty laugh as we poke a bit of friendly fun at each other’s quirks. We’ll probably always make sport, for instance, of the idiosyncrasies of our redneck brethren—even if we happen to fall into that category—and we’ll always crack a few jokes about the Frappuccino-buying yuppies in our midst.
It’s in that spirit we sat down for a humorous look at what your camo choices say about you. At the end of the day, you can’t take yourself too seriously. Have a good laugh and be inspired to heckle your buddies about their camo preferences, too.
Anyone with long hair is called a “hippie,” and anyone who has a thick beard or stache on his face is called a “man.” Guys who wear designer clothes in the field are called “yuppie pretty boys” and clearly never lived through the Great Depression. The thought of hand lotion makes you nauseous, so instead you lather up your bear paws with a bottle of Hoppe’s No. 9. If deer don’t like the smell of Hoppe’s and bacon grease, well they can kiss your all-American backside.
I suppose this is like the Disney princess generation of hunters, except instead of long flowing hair, ballroom dresses and a G rating, they’ve got pink camo ribbons in their hair and 20-pound, pink compound bows in their hands. I don’t know what it is about the color pink, but it really puts the estrogen back in hunting. As long as men don’t start wearing pink camo and carrying pink man bags, I think most of us are willing to live with a little bit of pink in the world.
Sure, you got an antlered raccoon head for a hood ornament and a case of Bud Light in a cooler behind the seat of your F-350 at all times. You never know when thirst could strike. Yeah, those are muddin’ tires, and yeah, you’re a whitetail killin’ son of a gun, too. You might have been married in a Realtree and blaze orange tuxedo, and yes, you believe road kill is best served with mashed potatoes and fried okra. You wouldn’t even think of dating a chick who didn’t like your Realtree home décor or a romantic evening together at Hooters. Yes, that’s a Confederate flag on the pole in front of your house, and yes, you still watch re-runs of The Dukes of Hazard every Sunday morning before church. God Bless ‘Merica.
Yes, you make all your buddies sleep in a quarantined, scent-free room you developed after researching best practices for Hazmat facilities, and you transport all your clothes in scent-free carbon bags. Maybe some people find it strange that a truckload of dudes rides out to a cornfield in their boxers, but it’s just the price you're willing to pay for success.
When you’re a Sitka-ite, you don’t go hunting; you go on extreme adventures. You don’t kill animals; you harvest them. You’re not even a hunter; you’re a Sitka athlete. You don’t wear clothes; you put on gear. You also go solo into the wildest parts of the world…with a full film crew. You’re not just about the kill; you’re about the process. You don’t just go hunting; you live the sustainable lifestyle. The only thing you buy at the grocery store is quinoa and organic asparagus to go with your venison steak. Don’t even play, homey: we all know you use the little carts at Whole Foods.
Your hunting hero? Probably Fred Bear, not of one of those 25-year-old pretty boys with makeup on and way too much hair gel. When you talk, you sound like Sam Elliot, and as for scent control products, you prefer bacon grease, pipe tobacco and beard wax. You’re not merely trying to avoid detection—you’re trying to let that monster buck know: there’s a man in these woods.
As a seasoned historian of archery, you also know the original Trebark camo was invented by Jim Crumley (left) back in the 70s and hit the market in 1980. Crumley was one of the first to produce hunting-specific camo, and he got his start by dabbing splotches of brown dye on gray work clothes to match his surroundings. Eventually, he began hand drawing bark and tree patterns on his clothes with a magic marker—a testimony to the kind of industrious, do-it-yourself bowhunter you always aspired to be.
We might call this the “Duck Dynasty Effect.” It’s the unique ability of a clothing company to make a bunch of rednecks with sasquatch-like beards look cool. For most American hunters that’s great news, because when it comes to our physique, we have more in common with the Robertson boys than we do a linebacker in the NFL.