How Important is Camo When Deer Hunting?

Mike Slinkard

November 10, 2022

Is camo really all it’s cracked up to be?

Myths may camouflage the facts, but any good hunter with wary eyes can spot the truth. Also, some pretty incredible new technological breakthroughs in the past decade or two have made us rethink some of the things we thought we knew.  

Whether in the mountainous terrain or deciduous forests, whether duck hunting, waterfowl hunting, predator hunting, or deer hunting, camo gear is a must for any excursion. 

To a large subsect of the deer-hunting community, camouflage is not only the proudly displayed “uniform” of the hunter but a tried-and-true technology in the field, one that few hunters have bothered to question over the last several decades — and for a good reason. 

If you’re still unsure whether to buck tradition and hunt in that old plaid shirt or invest in some of the latest, most technologically advanced deer hunting camo to hit the market, take a closer look into the importance of camouflage and how it influences deer hunting success. 

The History of the Hunting Camo Pattern (and the Science Behind Its Design)

As new technologies evolve, skeptical deer hunters will grumble that today’s hunting clothing bells and whistles aren’t necessary for success. Despite this skepticism, hunting camo continues to move in a positive direction, flaunting new benefits year after year. 

Early camo patterns honored the principles of intuitive mimicry, but these patterns have since undergone a drastic transformation, with new and improved designs making their debut rapidly. 

But what was the issue with mimicry camo?

Some hunting camo skeptics may point out that early mimicry camo with neutral tones — dating back several decades — wasn’t designed with cold-hard data or scientific research. (Think mossy oak and dead grass camo patterns.)

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With only our limited human understanding to back its positive effects, traditional hunting camo patterns relied on a human’s perspective of the environment rather than the prey’s. Overall, the goal of mimicry camo was to emulate a hunter’s surroundings with its natural color schemes and native plant life.

Unfortunately, mimicry camouflage can only succeed in a limited range of terrain and weather conditions. And given that mimicry camo aims to mirror its surroundings, unexpected snowfall, and color-shifting leaves can render it ineffective.

Experts could not ignore the apparent disadvantages of mimicry camo and the glaring need for change in the camouflage space.

Thus, digital camouflage was born. 

Yes, Your Hunting Camo Pattern Matters

It’s as the saying goes: Out with the old and in with the new.

Although plenty of hunters swear by traditional camo, time and time again, studies have shown that the digital pattern is more effective than the conventional hunting camo patterns that have also been referred to as “sticks and leaves” patterns.

Colonel Tim O’Neill, retired U.S. Army officer/camouflage expert, and Dr. Jay Neitz, a highly-esteemed animal-vision expert from the Medical College of Wisconsin, teamed up to shape today’s cutting-edge visual camouflage patterns. 

The newer generation of visual camo, better known as digital camo, addressed the shortcomings of its predecessor pattern: Mimicry camo, or the “sticks and leaves” pattern, misguidedly focused on a human’s perspective over the perspective of prey, like deer.

But why is it important to focus on the prey’s perspective in camo pattern development?

The short answer: Deer vision and human vision differ tremendously. To a human, a particular camo pattern type may blend in with its seasonal surroundings. However, this pattern may stick like a sore thumb to a passing deer.

With the support of their 310-degree views of their surroundings, a deer is constantly on the lookout for threats. Because deer struggle to distinguish between different colors (for example, deer can’t see colors like the classic blaze orange or hunter orange), these prey have evolved to detect even the slightest movements. This ability allows a buck to survive. 

Deer Can See You Even When They're Eating | National Deer Association

With a thorough understanding of the science behind deer vision, O’Neill and Neitz introduced a pixelated pattern rooted in fractal geometric algorithms that expanded the range of hunting camouflage and enabled hunters to better blend in visually with their hunting environments. 

Instead of trying to match the actual physical elements of nature, digital camo uses shapes and hues to blend into many different environments. 

Two Critical Ways that the Right Deer Hunting Camo Can Affect Your Success

Most hunters consider good camo hunting clothing essential for deer hunting. There are good reasons for this, especially if the hunter is trying to get ultra close for the best shot opportunity.

At first glance, hunting clothing from HECS® may look like high-quality camo apparel with a digital hunting camo pattern sure to give you the upper hand.

But it doesn’t do just that.

It also helps conceal your bioelectric signature so that deer and other game animals will see you more as an inanimate object rather than a living threat. 


A good visual camo pattern will help you blend into your environment and helps make your human form less noticeable to the deer, but a multi-level concealment system will do that and help block the all-important electrical emission that deer can sense.

Your emissions are what sets off a deer’s instinctual defense mechanisms. Many times, the deer don’t visually see a hunter; instead, they sense the presence of the nearby bioelectric field, making getting a high percentage shot much more difficult.   

Why Your Visual Camo Pattern Is an Essential Part of Deer Hunting

Whether a novice or experienced hunter, there are two sides to the camo discussion: How much does camo really help when out on the hunt? Some argue it’s helpful but unnecessary; other hunters say they’d never enter the woods without it. 

But let’s leave it to science to tell us what’s what: For camouflage to work, an individual needs to be either undetected, unrecognized, or untargeted — which, in short, means that the individual wearing camo needs to be visually deceptive

This Man Is a Camouflage Master

Like any camouflage, digital camouflage will never make one invisible, but it can leave them visually more unrecognized and less targeted by prey or other game.

Most camouflage does work on the visual level — but you might already know that, so let’s go over how and why camo works on a visual level. Then we’ll dive into what we now know is a significant shortcoming of visual camouflage, no matter what the pattern looks like, and how we can address that to make for a more successful hunt.   

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Reason #1: Visual Camo Masks You from Incoming Prey

Note that traditional camo patterns (mimicry) and digital camo patterns (breakup) will yield different benefits. Even so, digital camo is a clear choice when breaking up your silhouette on the hunting grounds is the goal.

While traditional camo’s selling point is its wide variety of patterns, digital camo does better at breaking up the hunter’s outline in more varied terrain and environments than traditional camo patterns.

In essence, it’s integral to ensuring that the game won’t see you, so you will have an advantage in the field over a hunter sticking out like the proverbial “sore thumb.” 

Reason #2: It Improves Your Odds of Success In the Field

Maximizing your odds of success starts with investing in the best, most technologically advanced hunting camo available. But to many hunters, this means investing large sums of cash in what the most famous hunters in the media are wearing.

These fellow enthusiasts fail to see that “designer” camo is so expensive because camo companies pay influencers big money to promote that particular camo pattern or brand — whether they actually believe in it or not.

In other words, having big-name endorsements doesn’t mean you will kill more deer if you wear a specific camo brand. What it does mean is you will be paying a premium price so those companies can pay their celebrity endorsers. 

Hunters should look at what camo clothing can do for them in deer-populated woods.

While there is no doubt that today’s digital camo patterns can successfully blend into environments better than ever on a visual level, only one technology can conceal you on the other critical level that few hunters ever talk about: The electrical level. 

Why Your Bioelectrical Emission Needs Concealment

While the work of O’Neill and Neitz was groundbreaking in visual concealment, they failed to recognize that the bioelectrical energy emitted from all living beings also plays a significant role in detection by most animals, birds, and fish.

At the time, scientists were beginning to identify that animals other than sharks and rays (which have well-documented bioelectrical sensory organs) were also sensing and reacting to extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields. 

Most of the research at the time was focused on animal and bird navigation, and through this study, they proved that wild creatures could sense the low-frequency EM fields put off by the earth, which enabled the incredible navigation skills most wildlife possess.

But it wasn’t until about 2008 that they realized that animals, birds, and fish were not only using the electromagnetic spectrum for navigation — but also to help them tell living beings and movement from inanimate ones.

We now realize this factor has been the “Achilles heel” of concealment for centuries. It explains why hunters can have the wind right, be sitting perfectly still, blend with their environment visually, and still have the deer become alert to danger very quickly whenever they get in close.

Breaking Down The Electrical Level

We now know that animals can see and perceive us visually on an electrical level.

That’s right — most of the animals we hunt can sense and will react to minor changes in their bioelectrical environment. It is often the tip-off for them telling living beings and movements from inanimate ones. Those changes come from the tiny bioelectrical discharges that naturally emit from all living beings, including hunters. 

All living beings are known to emit extremely low-frequency electromagnetic energy, commonly known as our bioelectric signature. This energy travels outside our bodies with every heartbeat and is spiked whenever our muscles receive the electrical stimulation to make them move.

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So, where should your priorities be if you want to conceal yourself from an approaching buck effectively? 

Currently, only one hunting clothing brand can address this genuine issue. Take a look at how choosing the right camo will help you be more successful the next time you’re out hunting deer. 

How HECS Shields Your Bioelectrical Signature

It doesn’t matter if the hunter has done their due diligence to wear the proper camo pattern, scrub away any body odor, and stow their gear correctly. These deer hunters will still be at risk of detection if they haven’t done their part to mask their natural electrical emissions.

To many hunters, blocking their natural body emissions is a huge revelation. Still, if they think back on their close encounters with wild deer, most will attest that when they have deer in close, it is usually not long before the deer become alert.

That is why hunters always advise taking the first good shot opportunity when they get it. They know that most encounters are brief, no matter the conditions and how well hidden they are.   

Nowadays, savvy hunters know that they can opt for patented and proven HECS® Technology that harnesses the visual camo advantage of a great digital pattern while shielding your natural bioelectric signature that can tip off both small and big game to your presence.

Bioelectricity - HECS Hunting

Think of it this way: Every microwave has a Faraday cage, which blocks the electrical signals from the microwave to protect you as the user. The unique technology in HECS® camo clothes does the same by helping mask your natural bioelectrical emissions from alerting any nearby game.

HECS StealthScreen owns patented technology that essentially puts those same Faraday cage properties around your body consisting of electrically conductive carbon yarn woven into all HECS fabrics. This grid is specifically sized and shaped to block your bioelectrical emission. 

In short, this fabric blocks your electrical emissions and makes you appear more like an inanimate object. 

HECS pairs this revolutionary technology with a proprietary digital visual camo pattern called “HECStyle” to conceal the hunter on both the visible and the all-important electrical levels. This is the only camo that works to help you stay concealed on two levels simultaneously and is now considered by many to be the ultimate concealment system for hunters.     


As we all know, technology is changing almost everything in our lives — and how we approach concealment as hunters are changing.

What we thought was fact only a few years ago has changed due to new technology and research. While the digital camo revolution certainly improved hunting concealment, we now know that visual camo is only part of the equation regarding animal detection.

Of course, we still have scent and sound to overcome, and there are proven ways to accomplish this. But it wasn’t until 2010, with the advent of new groundbreaking technology like HECS, that hunters began to understand the other hidden reason they continued to get busted by deer even when everything seemed right.

From disruptive camouflage technology to 3D camo to the most advanced HECS®’s line of camo clothing that mutes natural electrical emissions, there’s no shortage of cutting-edge camo tech. With options aplenty, you have no reason to lag and settle for out-of-date hunting camo that may sabotage your deer hunting success.

Take full advantage of the benefits of camouflage on your next deer hunt by upgrading or building your camouflage collection with the best hunting camo on the market. Shop HECS® today.

Shop HECS Today
Shop HECS Now

Improve your hunting experience
with HECS clothing.

Shop HECS Today

About the Author : Mike Slinkard

A hunter displaying his bear on rocks near a lake

Mike Slinkard is a life long bow hunter, professional archer, successful entrepreneur, and self described science geek from the rural town of John Day Oregon. Mike has spent his life in close proximity to all types of animals. His grandfather was a well known cattle and horse rancher who first instilled Mike’s keen interest in animals and why they react the way they do in different situations. Mike’s insatiable curiosity in this realm led him to team with other professionals to make the HECS discovery in 2009. Mike has hunted all over the world and has taken over 30 species with archery gear including 48 elk to date. Mike currently hosts “Hunting with HECS TV” on the Pursuit Channel. He has also written many bow hunting and archery articles as well as being a guest on many different hunting podcasts.

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