The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Outdoors

February 12, 2012

‘My favorite color, camouflage’

It appears that camouflage is more popular than ever before. In fact, it also appears that it is not just for clothing anymore. A recent study came across my desk titled “Camouflage Covers Most Hunter Purchases,” conducted by Southwick Associates.

According to the survey, “From clothing and firearms to wallets, flashlights and even furniture, hunter-style camouflage has become an essential feature of the products hunters buy for use in the field and at home. Asked by HunterSurvey.com and ShooterSurvey.com what percentage of their hunting equipment purchases were in camouflage patterns, less than six percent of respondents said none. That means a whopping 94 percent of the sportsmen surveyed purchased at least one camouflage item in 2011.” I admit; I’m one of the 94 percent.

Some sportsmen apparently can’t live without camo goodies. “In breaking down the larger numbers, 18 percent of sportsmen said between 71 to 80 percent of the items they bought were in camouflage, 11 percent said between 81 and 90 percent were camo and 15 percent said at least half of their purchases were camo. Just over 7 percent reported everything they purchased for hunting had some camouflage on it,” the survey reported.

I am a sucker for camo, especially for my go-to brand. The survey says I am not alone. “It is no surprise that the second most deciding factor is brand loyalty itself, which was the second most selected factor on HunterSurvey.com (56 percent).”

I couldn’t help but wonder why we as sportsmen love camo and wear it so proudly on everything from our hats to our couches. Again, the survey sheds some light on the green/brown/leafy subject. “While the survey did not question the motivations behind purchasing camouflage-covered equipment, likely reasons include the concealment benefits of camouflage products while in the field and the prevalence of hunting products on store shelves in camouflage. Many sportsmen also identify with and prefer the look of camouflage on items, which help them announce to others that they are proud sportsmen.”

So where did the whole camo-thing come from? A brief Internet browser search revealed to me this little bit of trivia on the history of camouflage. “It is a wonderful opportunity, this game of hokus-pokus," the New York Times mused in a 1917 Op-Ed about the newfangled concept of “camouflage,” borrowed from the French word camoufler, “to disguise.” Just two years earlier, France had established the world’s first military team dedicated to stealth attire. To check my facts, I called local writer Richard Mann to get his two-cents’ worth on camo history. He replied, “One of the first uses of camo was leading up to and during the Revolutionary War where militia men donned the drab colors of fall to help conceal themselves from the Indians and British who expected them to be in uniform. It is, actually, an American thing. Yeah, the French might have been the first to put it in pattern but the concept is American.”

From its beginnings to today, camo and the people who choose to don it are part of our mainstream culture. Even famous country singers like Brad Paisley, a native hillbilly, are getting into the action. His song “Camouflage” is racing up the charts as everyone from grandmas and young children sings along. I have to admit that with lyrics like this, it’s hard to go wrong. “You can blend in in the country/ You can stand out in the fashion world/ Be invisible to a whitetail/ Irresistible to a redneck girl/ Camouflage, camouflage/ Oh you’re my favorite color, camouflage.”

Simply put, camo is not just for clothing anymore and I for one don’t mind one bit. Dang, that song is catchy. “I asked Jenny to the prom and her mom knew how to sew/ So she made a matching tux and gown from duck blind Mossy Oak/ We took pictures in the backyard before we went to the dance/ And the only thing that you can see is our faces and our hands.”

Great. Now I have that song stuck in my camouflage-hat-covered head.

1
Text Only
Outdoors
  • 071714 Coda and Callie.jpg Coda and Callie’s excellent adventure

    How is it something that you profess to love so much can cause you so much anxiety and grief? No, I’m not talking about dealing with your children (or your spouse). This is worse. This is about dogs. More specifically, hunting dogs. 

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 071314 Chris Ellis.jpg DNR’s ‘outdoor summer school’

    Attention all West Virginia hunters and trappers. It is once again time for outdoor summer school and the course materials are hot off the presses.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Meet the Eurasian collared-dove

    Back in 1974 a local pigeon fancier imported a flock of about 50 Eurasian collared-doves to the Bahamas. Ultimately he released the birds, and they took to living in the West Indies. By the late 1970s some had reached south Florida, and by the late 1980s, some had been seen in Georgia and Arkansas.

    July 13, 2014

  • July in W.Va.: Recreational opportunities abound

    It’s July in the West Virginia mountains, which brings vibrant orange tiger lilies, blooming rhododendron, and of course fireworks. Usually the heat and humidity is in full force, but so far the weather has been nice.

    July 13, 2014

  • Shotgun 101: Shoot more and live better

    “God is not on the side of big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best.”
    — Voltaire

    July 9, 2014

  • Fireflies are living lights

    At recent Fourth of July fireworks displays, spectators squealed with delight at the annual spectacle that illuminated the night sky. And I’m sure more than a few compared the spectacular pyrotechnics to the subtler displays of fireflies that punctuate backyards, parks, and campgrounds all summer long. We call these displays “nature’s fireworks.”

    July 5, 2014

  • Get on up, or you’ll get left behind

    “Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course.” —
    William Shakespeare

    July 3, 2014

  • Catfish, it's whats for dinner

    I think for far too long the catfish has had an image problem. They seemed to be the Rodney Dangerfield of the fish world. You know, they got no respect. Fortunately though (maybe unfortunately if you are a catfish), that seems to be in the past. They are a fish whose time has come.

    June 28, 2014

  • It’s more than a boat, it’s an adventure

    Growing up on Elk River, I couldn’t help being connected to the river and its waters. It is where I caught my first fish, learned to swim, paddle a canoe, to read water and throw a buzz bait, killed my first duck, gigged frogs and spent many a Saturday night fishing for catfish. We lived in a river bank community, and the Elk provided us with everything from water for our homes to all the recreation a young boy would need to fill his youthful requirements for adventure.

    June 28, 2014

  • Old friends at the beach

    If your summer vacation plans include a trip to an east coast beach, I can’t predict everything you might see. But one bird that I guarantee you’ll encounter many times is the laughing gull.

    June 28, 2014

Web Special Sections
  • Special Web Sections

    Click HERE for stories about natural gas and Marcellus shale gas extraction.

    Click HERE for stories about the Upper Big Branch mine disaster.

    Click HERE for stories about the passing of U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd.

    Click HERE for stories from The Greenbrier Classic PGA TOUR event.

    August 6, 2010

Helium debate
Helium
AP Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands