camo-hunter

Regardless of the game you intend to hunt, stealth and invisibility are the key ingredients for a successful harvest. It’s hard enough blending into the surrounding habitat, never mind getting close enough for a clean shot without being detected. If you are looking to up your stealth game or simply learn some tips and tricks for your first time in the field, these tactics will give you a leg up and improve your chances of tagging out this season.

Using Game Cameras To Your Advantage

Using a game camera is a great way to prepare for a hunt by getting up close and personal with the animals without them even knowing it. If you are hunting a game animal that has restrictions on your harvest, for example a 3-point minimum, then you could really benefit from using a game camera pre-season; if you close in on a buck or a bull but can’t tell exactly how many points you see, then you could lose precious time behind your optics that should’ve been spent behind your scope.

A game camera comes in handy because you can learn about wildlife in the area without having to scout it on a daily basis. You always want to be sure you’re shooting a legal animal, but it cuts down on time if you’re already familiar with the game and have a decent idea of which animal you’re looking at through the crosshairs.

When you go out and install your game camera, make sure you put it somewhere with a great view of the trail but also a great view of the sky. Good reception is key, and if you want up-to-date footage from your trail cam, then make sure you place it in a spot with a reliable cell signal. Don’t underestimate the power of an HD display, either; the crisp shots will help you determine if that eyeguard is long enough to hang a ring on it. For example, the LG V10 offers Quad HD display and superior durability, making it invaluable for capturing footage of your quarry.

Make Them Do All The Work

Another way to get animals near you without scaring them off is to bring them to you. It’s not easy walking around in the woods without making a sound, so, depending on the game, you can find a place to position yourself that’s downwind from the wildlife you’re hunting and call them toward you. This way you’re not making a lot of noise and scaring them off before you get a chance to see them.

Keep in mind though that not all animals can be called in and not all animals can be stalked. You should always take the time to learn the animal you’re hunting so you know the best way to increase your odds of putting meat in the freezer. Consider using electric calls or watch YouTube videos on how to properly use a wide range of mouth calls. The more you practice, the more natural it feels, and the better you’ll get.

Use Distractions To Get A Better Shot

Another way to increase your stealth is through distraction. If an animal moves in on you because you’re calling it or you know its pattern and you’ve parked yourself in its path, sooner or later it’s going to know that something is up. A great way to avoid being noticed is to set up a distraction. Decoys are a great way to do this; they tend to hold the animal’s attention and give you an opportunity to better position yourself and take a clean shot.

If the wind isn’t in your favor, or is swirling and inconsistent, using scents is another way to confuse an animal or prevent it from running off. The animal may feel as though something is wrong, but if they can’t identify what, a whiff of a cow in estrus might put their mind at ease and lure them in for an even better shot.

Always Exercise Safety, Especially When Being Stealthy

When it comes to putting the stalk on, you want to be as invisible as possible, but not so invisible as to go unnoticed by other hunters. Obviously wearing hunter orange is a great way to avoid a messy situation with another hunter. The blaze orange is seen easily by people while most wildlife can’t see that part of the color spectrum and won’t take notice.

Obviously, some seasons don’t require blaze orange, so it isn’t always necessary. However, it is important to always follow the laws and regulations concerning safety. Every state, season and game management unit is different, so do your research before heading out into the field. Consider taking extra precautions when hunting in heavily-trafficked areas so you don’t run the risk of injuring yourself or others. A great tactic for treestand hunters is to label your tree with a long piece of flagging tape wrapped around the base.

Hunting laws and regulations are in place for a reason; hunters want to remain invisible, but sometimes it’s not safe when there are other hunters in the area. What other ways would you choose to increase your stealth without decreasing your safety?

ar-15 for hunting

The AR-15 has become one of the most popular firearms in America, mostly due to its versatility, ease of use, and military look. It has even been adopted by hunters, who have embraced the AR as their rifle of choice in the field.

There are subtle differences as to how to best optimize your AR-15 for game of all sizes. Here’s what you need to know.

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Small Game

Rabbits, squirrels, and prairie dogs are some of the most common small game targets for hunters. The caveat with hunting smaller animals with an AR-15 is that you must have superior aim, and if you plan on eating your small game, the AR is not ideal for the takedown.

Many AR-15s come with 1:9 twist barrels, meaning the bullet spins one full rotation per nine inches traveled in the barrel. Most Remington .223 cartridges are 55-grain, and the 1:9 twist rate is ideal for maximum efficiency and stabilization with said cartridges versus 1:12 (slower) and 1:7 (faster). AR-15 barrels, like all parts of the rifle, are easy to replace and switching takes only minutes.

Your optics should also be made specifically for small game, paying close attention to clarity and resolution at less than 100 yards. A 4-12X40 variable scope is recommended for small game.

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Varmints

Whether it’s coyotes, javelina, or wild hogs, many jurisdictions not only allow but encourage hunters to take down varmints in the area. Hunting varmints require different hunting techniques than small game, so a few items must be considered to properly set up your rifle for these endeavors.

Most AR-15s specifically built for hunting nuisance animals have longer barrels and slower rifling—a typical stationary shooting setup. The longer barrel provides better velocity and range, perfect for animals 200 yards away or further. ARs for these animals are typically heavier than those built for small game, so you may need to experiment with different stocks for comfort. Some hunters prefer collapsible stocks and add cheek rests to them, while others like fixed stock styles.

Suppressors (silencers) are also a popular addition to AR-15s for varmint hunting, since you can potentially hit the target with a second shot if you miss on the first. Keep in mind, a “silenced” AR-15 is a relative term—it’s not like the silencers in the movies.

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Large Game

The upper receiver ultimately determines whether your AR-15 is built for small or large game. The standard .223/5.56 rounds are not ideal for large animals, but a simple switch to a larger caliber will work.

Though more expensive and heavier, the AR-10 setup is ideal for deer hunting. You can also simply buy an AR-15 already built for large game hunting, like the Ruger SR-762 and YHM HRC-200 6.8 SPC.

The best part about owning an AR-15 is that it’s never a finished product. You can always modify it with different parts and accessories for any hunting and target shooting activities.

Legalities

There is no federal law controlling the use of the rifle, though many states have regulations on citizens’ rights to purchase, own, and use it. According to TIME Magazine, AR-15s are used for hunting in several states, including hunting feral goats in Hawaii, feral pigs in Texas, jackrabbits in Arizona, and elk in Montana. Some states don’t allow deer hunting with .223 diameter bullets or an AR-15 rifle, according to Stag Arms. These states, including Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa and Massachusetts, require larger bullets. Many states have laws for hunting specific game with specific types of guns and ammunition, so it’s best to check your state’s current laws before heading out on a hunt.

What are the blaze orange requirements for your state? Check the up-to-date regulations on your state agency website or on the International Hunter Education Association website.

Blaze orange is also known as “fluorescent” or “hunter” orange; 400 square inches is about as big as four sheets of paper. Check your state regulations to see if mesh or camouflage designs of hunter orange meet regulations.

Blaze orange is always a good idea, even if it isn’t required. Did you know that deer can’t even see it?

Blaze Orange Regulations for Every State

Do I Need Blaze Orange In My State?

Alabama — All hunters must wear an outer garment above the waist with at least 144 square inches of hunter orange above the waist or a hunter orange hat during firearm seasons for deer, elk, and bear. Check with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for specifics.

Alaska — Hunter orange is not required in Alaska, but it is strongly encouraged.

Arizona Hunter orange is not required in Arizona, but it is strongly encouraged.

Arkansas — During big game firearm seasons, hunters must wear at least 400 square inches of hunter orange above the waist, as well as a blaze orange or hunter safety green hat. At least 144 square inches of blaze orange is also required on each visible side of ground blinds.

California — Hunter orange is not required in California, but it is strongly encouraged.

Colorado — Colorado hunters of deer, elk, or antelope must wear at least 500 square inches of solid daylight fluorescent orange above the waist, including a head covering, during firearm seasons. Bowhunters are not required to wear blaze orange during archery-only seasons.

Connecticut — Anyone hunting from Sept. 1 through the end of February in Connecticut must wear at least 400 square inches of blaze orange above the waist and visible from all sides, except archery deer hunters during archery-only seasons. Other exemptions exist. Check state requirements.

Delaware — During firearm season, hunters in Delaware must wear at least 400 square inches of blaze orange on the head, chest, and back.

Florida — All Florida deer hunters, and their companions, on public lands must wear at least 500 square inches of fluorescent orange above the waist. Bowhunters are not required to wear blaze orange during archery-only seasons.

Georgia — Georgia law requires deer, bear, and feral hog hunters, as well as their companions, to wear at least 500 square inches of hunter orange above the waist during firearm deer seasons.

Hawaii — All those hunting or accompanying hunters in public areas in Hawaii must wear a solid blaze orange shirt, vest, coat, or jacket. The blaze orange must be visible from both the front and back while carrying game or wearing a backpack. Check state requirements to learn about certain exceptions..

Idaho — Blaze orange is not required in Idaho, but it is recommended.

Illinois — Illinois hunters of all game must wear 400 square inches of blaze inches as well as a hat during firearm deer season. Upland game hunters must wear a blaze orange hat.

Indiana  — When hunting deer, small mammals, pheasants, and quail in Indiana, hunters and bowhunters must wear a blaze orange jacket, vest, hat, or coveralls. Bowhunters are not required to wear blaze orange during archery-only season.

Iowa When hunting upland game birds, you must wear a hat or cap that is 50% blaze orange. When hunting deer with a firearm, you must wear at least one item—other than a hat—that is blaze orange. When hunting deer while using a blind, you must also place at least 144 total square inches of blaze orange material on your blind.

Kansas — Big game hunters in Kansas and their companions must wear a hat that is at least 50% blaze orange and visible from all directions as well as a minimum of 100 square inches each on the front and back of their torso.

Kentucky — During deer or elk season, all hunters in Kentucky must wear solid blaze orange as an outer garment on the head, chest, and back. Waterfowl and turkey hunters are exempt.

Louisiana — Louisiana hunters must wear at least 400 square inches of hunter orange on their head, chest, and back during open deer firearm season. When hunting on private land, hunters may instead wear a blaze orange hat; requirements don’t apply to hunters in deer stands on private lands that are legally posted or archery hunters. More requirements apply for wildlife management areas and dog seasons for rabbits/squirrels. Check state requirements.

Maine — Maine hunters during open deer firearm season are required to wear two articles of solid blaze orange clothing visible from all sides: a hat and a jacket, vest, coat, or poncho. Moose hunters in the moose district must wear one piece of clothing that is solid blaze orange.

Maryland — All Maryland hunters and their companions must wear a solid blaze orange hat and a vest or jacket with at least 250 square inches of blaze orange on front and back. An outer garment that is at least 50% hunter orange can substitute for the vest or jacket. Exceptions apply; check state requirements for details.

Massachusetts — During firearm seasons in Massachusetts, hunters must wear at least 500 square inches of fluorescent orange on the chest, back, and head. During pheasant and quail season, hunters on WMA land must wear a hunter orange hat. Exceptions apply; check state requirements for details.

Michigan — Between August 15 and April 30, Michigan hunters must wear a hat, jacket, vest, or raingear that is blaze orange. Blaze orange should be visible from all sides and worn as an outer garment. See state for exemptions.

Minnesota — Hunters and trappers in Minnesota during open firearm deer season must wear blaze orange on a cap and jacket, vest, shirt or similar. Exceptions apply; check state requirements for details.

Mississippi — Mississippi deer hunters in firearm season must wear at least 500 square inches of hunter orange visible from all sides.

Missouri Missouri law requires the hunter orange color to be plainly visible from all directions during firearms deer hunting seasons. The most important clothing choices are a hunter orange hat and hunter orange outerwear—shirt, vest, or jacket. Exceptions apply; check state requirements for details.

Montana Montana law requires that all big game hunters and anyone accompanying a hunter must have at least 400 square inches of hunter orange material above the waist visible at all times. A hunter orange hat or cap alone does not meet state requirements.

Nebraska — All big game hunters and bowhunters in Nebraska must wear at least 400 square inches of blaze orange on the head, back and chest during firearm deer season; upland game hunters are strongly encouraged to wear blaze orange.

Nevada — Blaze orange is not required in Nevada, but it is recommended.

New Hampshire — Blaze orange is not required in New Hampshire, but it is recommended.

New Jersey — All deer, game bird, and small mammal hunters using firearms in New Jersey must wear a blaze orange hat or another item with at least 200 square inches of blaze orange visible from all sides. Exceptions apply to hunters of waterfowl and wild turkey as well as bowhunters.

New Mexico — Hunters on White Sands Missile Range must wear at least 244 square inches of blaze orange; hunters on Fort Bliss or McGregor military reservations must wear a blaze orange hat and vest.

New York — Blaze orange is not required in New York, but it is recommended.

North Carolina — North Carolina hunters after prey other than foxes, bobcats, raccoons, opossums, or turkeys with a firearm must wear a fluorescent orange hat or garment visible from all sides.

North Dakota — Big game hunters, and those hunting during firearm seasons, in North Dakota must wear at least 400 square inches of blaze orange with a hat and garment above the waist.

Ohio — During deer season or primitive season in Ohio, hunters must wear a vest, coat, jacket or overalls that are blaze orange. Waterfowl hunters are an exception.

Oklahoma — Oklahoma deer, elk, or antelope hunters who use firearms must wear at least 400 square inches of blaze orange as an outer garment above the waist and a hat. During open firearm deer season, all hunters must follow these requirements. See state for exceptions.

Oregon — In Oregon, hunters under 17 years old must wear fluorescent orange visible from all directions as a shirt, jacket, coat, vest, sweater or head covering when hunting game mammals or upland birds with a firearm. All hunters are encouraged to wear hunter orange.

Pennsylvania — During the regular firearm deer season in Pennsylvania, hunters must wear at least 250 square inches of hunter orange on their heads, chests, and backs. This rule also applies to special archery deer season hunters when the archery season coincides with the general season for turkey or small game. Other requirements apply to groundhog and spring turkey hunters. See the state for details.

Rhode Island — All hunters in Rhode Island must wear at least 200 square inches of fluorescent orange above the waist and visible from all sides; additional requirements vary by season and type of game.

South Carolina When hunting deer, bear, and hogs on WMA land in South Carolina, hunters must wear a hat, coat, or vest of solid international (or “blaze”) orange when hunting during any gun and muzzleloader season. Exemptions apply; see state for details.

South Dakota — All big game firearm hunters in South Dakota must wear more than one hunter orange garment above the waist; turkey hunters are given an exception.

Tennessee Tennessee hunters must wear at least 500 square inches of blaze orange on their head or upper portion of their body, visible from front and back. Hunters on their own properties or participants in firearm turkey hunts proclaimed by the commission are exempt.

Texas — On National Forests and Grasslands in Texas, hunters and their companions must wear at least 144 square inches of blaze orange on the chest and back as well as a blaze orange hat.

Utah — During centerfire rifle hunting in Utah, hunters must wear at least 400 square inches of hunter orange on the head, chest, and back. Some exceptions apply; see Utah officials for details.

Vermont — Blaze orange is not required in Vermont, but it is recommended.

 Virginia — Virginia hunters during firearm deer season must wear hunter orange on the upper body or a hunter orange hat visible from all sides. Alternatively, they may display 100 square inches of hunter orange within body reach, at or above shoulder level, and visible from all sides.

Washington A minimum of 400 square inches of blaze or “hunter” orange worn above the waist and visible from all sides is required in Washington. A hat alone does not meet this requirement. Firearm hunters and those hunting deer/elk during firearm seasons are required to use hunter orange. Exceptions and additional requirements apply. Check with the state for more details.

West Virginia — During deer gun season, all West Virginia deer hunters must wear an outer garment with at least 400 square inches of blaze orange.

Wisconsin  — During firearm deer season in Wisconsin, hunters must wear at least 50% hunter orange as outer garments above the waist, including head covering. Waterfowl hunters are given an exception.

Wyoming Wyoming big game hunters must wear at least one fluorescent orange piece, such as a vest, jacket, or coat. Only licensed archery hunters at certain times of year are exempt. Small game and bird hunters are required to wear blaze orange when pheasant hunting in a WMA or on lands bordering Glendo State Park; all are strongly recommended to wear hunter orange.

 

The number one best and easiest way to stay safe while hunting big game, small game, or upland birds is to wear blaze orange. And in many states, it’s the law. Watch the video below to pick the best blaze orange for your hunt.

Wearing blaze orange is the best way to ensure other hunters don’t accidentally mistake you for game. The more you wear, the more visible you’ll be. As the video shows, wearing a blaze orange jacket and hat provides far more visibility than a vest or hat alone, and that’s far better than any old orange shirt you have lying around.

Don’t worry about distracting game with your fluorescent orange hat, vest, or jacket: Deer can’t see it. In fact, hunters who wear blaze orange report better hunts, because they can see other hunters and fan out.

And you can probably leave that blaze orange blazer at home.