The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


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 and 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 (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.

Text Only
  • Gettin’ ready for gobbler season: Step 4 — the setup

    This just in — in a recent study on turkey hunting and turkey hunters it was found that 98.7 percent of the time when hunters were unsuccessful when calling in a gobbler, the hunter made some mistake during the last 50 yards of the bird’s approach.

    April 17, 2014

  • 041314 Ellis.jpg Spring break is an attitude

    Finally, warmer weather has arrived to the Mountain State. I’m told, it’s socially acceptable to be late nowadays and there is even a term for it — being fashionably late. Of course, I have also been told that camo is the new black in fashion. I don’t care much for tardiness, or for fashion for that matter, but I am perfectly content with the weather forecaster’s report as of late. And if wearing camouflage is trendy, I will fit in just nicely at any social gathering.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Coming soon to a garden near you: Hummingbirds!

    One of the things I look forward to each spring is the northbound migration of ruby-throated hummingbirds. Until 1997, that meant waiting until one showed up at my feeders. But that year a website (, began mapping hummers as they moved north.

    April 13, 2014

  • Morel mushrooms are a W.Va. delicacy, but be careful

    The morel mushroom is one of West Virginia’s best-known delicacies that grows wild in the woods statewide. Mushroom hunting is a wonderful way to get exercise and be in the outdoors at the same time. There is no expense involved, and a bag is all that is needed.

    April 13, 2014

  • 041014 Turkey Call Gettin’ ready for gobbler season: the mystical world of calling

    Do you think that calling wild turkeys into shotgun range is some sort of art form that can never be yours?

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fishing is a good way to introduce kids to the outdoors

    Few experiences are more rewarding than introducing a child to the outdoors. I remember teaching my daughters at the age of 3 to recognize the voice of a barred owl — “Who cooks for you, who cooks for you-all!” They were amazed they could identify a bird without seeing it.

    April 6, 2014

  • ‘A river runs through it’

    He was a natural at reading water. Whether in a kayak, a whitewater raft or a fishing boat, he simply saw water differently than most. He was good, no doubt about it. When I was learning to row a raft down whitewater, I asked him for his guidance. He would sit in the back of the raft coaching me on waters and their currents. With his help, I too began to see the waters differently and read the river.

    April 6, 2014

  • 040314 turkey feather Gettin’ ready for gobbler season: Step two — scouting

    So you want more hero pictures this year crouched behind a big gobbler fanning his tail out? Either that or the ever popular gripping him around the neck and straining to hold up his 20 plus pounds?

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • 033014 Ellis.jpg Sportsmen’s tax dollars prove very beneficial

    If you enjoy wildlife recreation and conservation, you may want to find the nearest sportsman in your neighborhood and shake their hand. Ultimately, it’s their spending of dollars on the equipment to fuel the passion of the lifestyle they cherish that brings in millions of dollars to our state for wildlife.

    March 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • You may know more bird songs than you think

    Early migrants began returning several weeks ago. Turkey vultures, killdeer, and phoebes were probably as befuddled by the late winter weather as we were. But by early April, we should be safe from any more extended cold snaps. And that means the parade of returning migratory birds will accelerate every week.

    March 30, 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
AP Video
U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers