Monday, March 14, 2011

Camouflage Make Up or Cover Your Face 101 by Todd Butler

I have a shocking confession.  During my years in the military and as a hunter I have had numerous occasions to use makeup.  Many are the time my fellow Marines and I worried “if our makeup looked right”.  Sometimes patrol preparations looked and sounded like the girl’s bathroom on prom night.  Fortunately my wife is okay with this and has asked me to share some of the basics of makeup application for hunting.
While I would not consider myself to be knowledgeable on the way a woman should apply makeup for a night on the town, I do know the ins and outs of camouflage and camo makeup.  Here are the basics:

1)      Blend into the terrain you are hunting.  The colors of your skin, clothing, and equipment may help the animals detect you if the colors contrast with the background. For example, a summer or fall real tree pattern will contrast with snow-covered terrain. Camouflage yourself and your equipment to blend with the surroundings.  It is very important to take into account the time of year, weather conditions and foliage species of the area being hunted.  Avoid excessively straight patterns.  A lesson I was taught early on is that there are no straight lines in nature, they stand out.

2)      Before camouflaging, study the terrain and vegetation of the area in which you are hunting and remember in different seasons the same terrain and foliage will look different. Then pick and use the camouflage clothing and makeup colors that will best blend with that area.

3)      When you are moving from one area to another, you may need to change camouflage to blend with the new surroundings. You can use grass, leaves, brush, and other material from your location and apply it to your clothing and equipment to help conceal yourself.  Keep in mind the movement of these items when you are drawing your bow or moving to make the shot.  It might give you away if you go overboard on the grass and leaves.
4)       Exposed skin reflects light and may draw the animal's attention. Even very dark skin, because of its natural oil, will reflect light. It needs to be covered either by clothing or natural colored makeup.  Cover the shiny areas, your forehead, cheekbones, nose, ears, and chin with a dark color. Paint shadow areas, around the eyes, under the nose, and under the chin with a lighter color.  Also put it on your lips and neck, they need to blend into the rest of your face.
5)      When applying your camouflage work with a hunting buddy and help each other. Keeping in mind the terrain and foliage of the area being hunted, apply a two or three color combination of camouflage in an irregular pattern.  There are traditionally 3 methods the blot, the stripe and a combination of the first two.  The last is the best in most cases.

6)      In addition to the face, cover the exposed skin on the back of the neck, arms, and hands. Use gloves or apply makeup to your hands and arms if uncovered.  Doing a great camo job on your face is useless, if the prey sees a pair of little white hands moving. (See Good Camo picture above)  Remember you are trying to blend into your surroundings.  Check your camo paint at intervals while hunting.  Moisture from sweat, snow or rain may cause it to come off.

7)      Remove all jewelry to further reduce shine or reflection.  Last note but this is a big one, TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONE OR WATCH WITH THE ALARM OR BEEPER!  I have seen several instances when a hunter lost the opportunity due to a wrong number calling.

Practice putting on your camo paint and clothing before you go hunting.  It will help when you get to the field if you already have a plan.  And remember there is no such thing as perfect camo for every environment.  It is continually changing, be aware of your surroundings.  A good idea is to have a friend move a distance away and see if they can spot you.  It is a learned skill and the more you practice the better you will become.  It is also fun!