It used to be you’d see people wearing camouflage only during the hunting season. Now it seems that camo is worn all times of the year. Most people may not be aware of this camo craze — perhaps because, by definition, it’s camouflaged.

If you are reading this story, there’s a 50-50 chance that at least one item of apparel you are wearing right now contains some camo.

Camo crazeLet’s first examine the birth of camouflage. Back in the days of the Neanderthal, there wasn’t much need for camo; their hairy bodies, covered with a bit of animal fur, natural dirt and stench, were sufficient. But once we started losing our body hair and cleaning ourselves up a bit, there came a need to get back to the good ‘ole Pleistocene days, especially if one were to go out in the woods and try to sneak up on dinner.

However, in my experience, there doesn’t seem to be much sneaking going on these days. That is, if you call driving the forest roads slowly in your pickup sneaking. Today’s camo is way too realistic. There’s camo that blends in with any kind of environment — forest, field, snow, swamp, shopping mall, the back of the pickup.

I can just picture the scene as a game warden pulls over a pickup truck. He walks up to the driver and doesn’t even see the three "hunters" hunkered down in the bed of the truck. Instead of trees and bark, their camo sports a combo of beer cans, tires, coolers and empty bags of chips.

Ignorant and sedentary are not two types of rock; they're the new style of hunting for some.

But there are still a few hardy souls who venture more than 100 yards from a road to actually participate in what used to be called hunting. You can walk through the woods during bow season, stop, and feel eyes on you. As you look around, the woods come alive with a hunter behind every tree. There are so many hunters wearing camo that it seems the game is standing still and the entire forest is moving.

Science, or perhaps the market, tells us that deer are colorblind so camo comes in a variety of colors such as green, white, red and fluorescent orange. If these critters are so color-blind, how is it they can spot a red tulip or an orange marigold from a mile away? It makes me wonder if most clothing and hunting gear on the market is out there to bag hunters and not their quarry. Most hunters today spend more time in stores or at home trying on their camo rather than being out in the woods with it.

Many parents are even buying their kids camo clothing. These youngsters go out and play in their new outfits and aren’t seen again until they turn up as teenagers.

And then there’s the cheapskate camo guy. Instead of buying the expensive 3D shaggy stuff that hangs off the body, he simply tapes and ties leaves and branches to some old clothes. And everybody’s seen the homemade camo truck. This is accomplished by using up several cans of green and brown spray paint, and it appears, a few cases of beer. The purpose? So deer and elk don’t see you driving around, or perhaps the game warden? One word of advice: Don’t tie antlers to your head to fit in with the herd.

No matter what part of the country you live in, you can find just about any item imaginable with a camo coating: clothes, coolers, shoes, camping gear, sheets, blankets, underwear and toilet paper. And what about those small gadgets? Just don’t ever drop them or you’ll never find them again. And yes, there are even camo wallets. I know, I used to have one around here somewhere — I haven’t seen it in years.

I’m beginning to think that even the deer and elk are coming up with new camo as well, since I can never see any up in the forest.

In the near future, people may be tuning in to camo fashion shows. I can just see it now (or actually I can’t since it’s camo), outdoor models will be walking down the runway and the announcer will be saying:

"Here comes Buck Hastings sporting this year’s new 3D pine bark and fall foliage camo outfit. Notice he’s chewing new 'Deer-bacco,' just a half-pound between your cheek and gum will act as a deer attractant when spit out. The doe hormone and trace of urine should bring in those big bucks for a closer look."

The Camo Craze will soon hit all hunting camps to the point where many hunters will color-coordinate with their buddies before heading out. One will say to the other, "Oh, why don’t you wear that mossy oak, shaggy bark number along with that fluorescent orange Elmer Fudd hat?"

Not only hunters wear camo these days. There are the generals who are 10,000 miles from the "theater" but always wear camo. Maybe they don’t want the press to seek them out and ask how we got into these wars or when we’ll get out.

Someday soon, there may not be any need for camo. There is some de-evolution going on right now with something called remote hunting. This is real and scary. The idea is simple, or simply crazy. The hunter stays at home and has a rifle set up in the woods with a camera showing the scene. When he sees an animal he can maneuver the gun and press a button to shoot from the comfort of his house. Of course, someone goes out and guts the animal for him and cuts and wraps it and brings it to his freezer.

I’m not sure I want to be hiking through the woods and be in the cross-hairs of Billy Buck at home on his couch drinking a cold beer. Then again, if I wear enough camo, perhaps he won’t see me.

Contract Publishing

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