Quick Guide to Ghillie Suit Hunting
Assuming you’re into hunting and you’ve never used a ghillie suit before, chances are you may not know where to begin. But if you’re dead serious about improving your hunting skills, whether on turkey hunting or deer hunting, you may definitely want to consider getting your own ghillie suit. Here’s a quick guide to the how-to and benefits of using a ghillie suit for hunting.
What is a ghillie suit?
A ghillie suit is special camouflaged clothing that helps the wearer blend almost seamlessly into the environment. Military snipers, hunters and wildlife photographers use them to blend into their surroundings to hide from their targets. Ghillie suits distort the wearer’s outline, and have the same colors as the immediate background, basically rendering the user invisible. It allows the users to effectively avoid detection even when they’re close to their subjects.
Ghillie suits are usually made up of net material covered with burlap and are occasionally adorned with twigs and branches from the surrounding plants and trees. Nowadays, modern suits are made of a lighter material, which makes them more comfortable to wear. Modern ghillie suits are also pretty breathable, so the user can also wear another layer of clothing underneath. Some manufacturers have also treated the suits with fire retardant to avoid the risk of fire.
The Scottish gamekeepers were the first people who used the ghillie suit. Shortly after, the British Army began to use it for their operations in 1899. Since then, the ghillie suits have become popular that they have become a standard gear for hunting and the military all over the world.
Adapting a ghillie suit to a particular region
There are various types of ghillie suits that are designed for a specific environment. However, there are just two types of ghillie suit, the poncho and the jacket and pants ensemble. Both types come with a head cover or hood. Some hunters prefer the jacket-and-pants for effortless mobility. But most hunters prefer the poncho because it’s easier to put on and easier to remove after use. Hunting requires sitting still in the field for long periods of time so comfort and versatility should always come first.
A ghillie suit is traditionally made of natural jute threads, but there are also modern variants that are made of synthetic materials. Most hunters choose ghillie suits made of synthetic materials as they’re half the weight of the jute suits. For seasoned hunters, a lighter suit is synonymous to better movement and aiming. Synthetic materials also tend to be odorless compared to the natural jute threads, which makes them even more effective at avoiding detection; even animals with a keen sense of smell, like deer, will not be able to sniff you out.
Equally important to a successful camouflage is the color pattern of the ghillie suit. The suits should match the color and pattern of the surroundings, such as green for vegetation, white for snow and brown for the woods. Some game animals are colorblind, but some aren’t and they can distinguish a particular shade from the other.
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How a ghillie suit can benefit a hunter
Whether out on turkey hunting or deer hunting, a ghillie suit can prove beneficial to a hunter. Every experienced hunter knows that game animals are afraid of humans. In fact, anything that even remotely resembles a human is enough to set an entire herd of animals into a panic. The ghillie suit is not just similar in color to the immediate environment; it also breaks up the outline of the wearer, which makes him even harder to spot, especially if he sits absolutely still.
The ghillie suit allows a hunter to make small movements because it will only resemble the motion of leaves being blown by the wind. A target deer won’t mind seeing a bunch of moving leaves, but if it sees a human coming near, it will bolt. With a ghillie suit, hunters can get as close as possible to their targets so they can have a better chance at getting a kill shot.
A ghillie suit protects the hunter from harsh outdoor elements. When hunting in colder seasons, the suit can give the needed warmth while out in the field. It also protects the hunter from bothersome insects. A good ghillie suit can also help the hunter hide from the other hunters in the area, like coyotes, bobcats, and even bears.
Hunting, after all, is a sport. Just the same as with other sports, a sportsman is always expected to be wearing the correct attire once inside the game.
You can find even more benefits of using a ghillie suit if you start frequenting online hunting forums and groups. Satisfied users posted that they were able to up their game when they started to use the suits. They became more confident whenever they go out in the field. There were a few rants about issues of temperature, but the pros proved to outweigh the cons.
How to hunt with the help of a ghillie suit
Since a ghillie suit provides sufficient camouflage for the hunter, he can get closer to a deer to get a better aim. This gives the added thrill to the hunt. Deer, as well as turkeys, can spot a threat from afar, but the suit is a perfect cover to make it invisible. This goes true to other game animals such as ducks and geese. The ghillie suit can bring the hunter in close range with the game, hence, a better percentage of success in their hunting.
Here are some tips on how to hunt effectively with the use of the ghillie suit:
1) Stay absolutely still. Hunters either crawl slowly towards their targets or remain still when hunting their game. Even if you are wearing a ghillie suit, if you suddenly stood up and just walked towards your target, it will see you and get startled. A seasoned hunter knows he has to stay still long enough to get his prize; and if he does need to move, he does so slowly and deliberately.
Thoroughly study the area where you’ll be hunting. Mark the important parts of the area on your map, like rivers, cliffs, and open fields, so you’ll know beforehand where you need to position yourself for a good view of your targets. Know where the herds are where they stay most of their time.
2) Learn the art of tracking. There are many ways to track your target. Walk slowly and carefully analyze your surroundings; check for footprints, scat, broken twigs, scuffed tree bark, and other signs that tell if there are animals nearby and where they are headed. If you’re stalking an animal that you know you wounded, look for blood on the leaves of the surrounding bushes.
3) Proper ethics. If you arrived at your planned hunting spot and you saw that there are already other hunters nearby, quietly retreat and go to another place. Not only is it unethical for you to stalk another hunter’s target, there is also a huge risk of either one of you getting hit by stray bullets. This is why you always need a Plan B in case your first plan does not pan out.
4) Pack smart and carry light. If you expect that the game would take you to an overnight hunting spree, make sure to carry baggage as light as possible. Bring only the vital equipment needed in the game. The heavier your load, the faster you’ll get tired early on. A heavy shoulder can only weaken your aim and can only result to a lower percentage of success.
5) Safety from the wild. Wild, predatory animals can hunt you as well. Try to have your firearm handy when the need for it arises. You can also bring along animal repellent in case you cannot avoid unintended wildlife encounters. Bring medical first aid kits just in case you meet an accident or sprain an ankle while hunting. You should also bring a fully-charged satellite phone or a shortwave radio in case you need to ask for emergency medical help. Know where the dangerous predators are and try to avoid them as much as possible.
6) Keeping warm. Bring enough clothing to warm yourself in the night. When possible, bring a padded sleeping bag as it gives more heat than the one without. If your sleeping bag is not padded, you can use extra clothes as additional padding.
7) Getting food. You can’t hunt on an empty stomach. When you go hunting, you can take a couple of MREs with you, depending on how long you plan to stay outdoors. You just need to add water and these food rations will heat themselves up and provide you with nourishment that is not even half-bad. However, you need to remember to dispose of your trash responsibly. Bury your food scraps in the ground to avoid scavengers, and take with you your trash that isn’t bio-degradable.
8) Know the rules. Some locations have placed certain restrictions for deer hunting, turkey hunting and waterfowl hunting. A few of them implement the bows-only hunting while some permit the use of rifles. Also, you need to know if it is the appropriate season to hunt your target animal, and that you secured the necessary permits to do so, otherwise you will get tagged as a poacher and will be arrested by the local wildlife authorities. So aside from having your ghillie suit ready, make sure to be aware of these policies when going out to hunt in unfamiliar territory.