Stealth in Hunting
The Importance of Being Undetected
To successfully harvest game with an airgun, one must be able to work in game much closer than he would using a firearm. Once you have gotten within range, accurate shot placement in a vital area is essential in bringing it down. If an animal is alarmed by your presence, it will run to safety making it very difficult to make a humane kill. In this page, we will discuss various methods in remaining undetected.
You will need to visually blend with your surroundings. This is accomplished in different ways, depending on the type of terrain you are hunting in. This can be as simple as wearing clothing that matches the surrounding colors to as elaborate as a ghillie suit. For the serious airgunner, a ghillie suit is an essential. Pre-fabricated ghillie suits are sold at a variety of locations, but run on the expensive side. There are many good resources on making your own. A good place to start is the US Sniper Training Manual.
Your clothing should be as comfortable and noiseless as possible. It should not be so loose as to catch on everything, but you don't want to be running around in the woods with spandex either! The type of material is important as well. Wools are the best to wear in the winter, as they insulate wet or dry. Cottons are best for the warm days of spring and summer as they absorb and evaporate moisture. Make sure that your headgear does not interfere with your line of site. This is especially important when sighting through a scope.
Camo face paint, the only makeup you'll ever catch me wearing, is another important item of camoflage. It should be applied to your entire face, neck, hands, and any other exposed skin surface. Try to apply darker colors to protruding surfaces, lighter colors to recesses. This will keep your nose from sticking out like a sore thumb! An alternative to painting your face with camoflage is a good bug netting. Not only do the help camoflage your face, but they also keep those pesky flies and gnats off you as well. They don't interfere much with shooting either.
Since we humans have a poor sense of smell, we often overlook the keen sense of smell most of our game possess. When preparing for a hunt, avoid scented soaps, deoderants, hair styling products, and aftershaves. Chances are you won't meet any girls in the woods so such things are unnecessary. Do not wash your hunting clothing with scented detergents. If they are used, store your clothes in a bag of cedar to rid them of any smell. I also recommend storing your clothes in such a fashion to repel moths and to mask human odor.
Most animals also have a keen sense of hearing. A successful hunter will spend more time moving slowly and deliberately than tramping through the woods. Make sure that your clothing and gear makes little to no noise when moving. Choose your footing carefully when moving, looking for soft ground or rocks to step on. Avoid dead leaves and twigs like the plague. When unavoidable, place your feet down gently, slowly crushing them beneath your feet.