Does the pattern make a difference? Expert Matt Manning offers some tips.
Q: I’m new to airgun hunting and plan to invest in a camouflage suit so I can get closer to my quarry. What’s the best pattern to go for?
A: It’s difficult to recommend one camouflage pattern over another, but it makes sense to choose one that gives a close match to the landscape where you shoot. For most British shooters, that means a mixture of greens and browns with the odd patch of black, grey and white.
I would warn against getting too obsessed with camouflage clothing, though. Keeping your hands and face covered can make a real difference when targeting sharp-eyed quarry, but fieldcraft will always play a more significant role than the latest camouflage pattern. Whatever you are wearing, one of the best ways to go unseen is to keep still and make the most of natural cover.
Do I need to wear head to toe camo?
Q: I recently kitted myself out with a pre-charged airgun and, having spent much of my free time practising on paper targets, I feel that I’m a good enough shot to tackle live quarry. My only concern is that most airgun shooters wear a lot of leaf-print camouflage clothing, and it is going to take me a while to save up for a set. Is it possible to get close enough to airgun quarry such as rabbits and wood pigeon without being dressed from head to toe in camouflage clothing?
A: You are certainly right about airgun shooters liking their camouflage clothing, and I usually reach for leaf-print jacket, trousers and headnet when heading out with my air rifle. There is no denying that a camo pattern, which helps you blend in with your surroundings, will improve your concealment, but it is certainly not essential.
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Keeping still is the key
I think the best way to go undetected in the countryside is to keep still, as it immediately cuts out the movement and sound that tends to attract the attention of wary quarry. Dress in drab clothing (preferably in soft greens and browns) and you should be able to ambush rabbits and pigeon without splashing out on the latest camo patterns. The fieldcraft skills you learn during these early forays should make you an even more effective hunter when you are able to kit yourself out with specialist clothing.