Wired To Hunt

New High Tech Camo – GORE OPTIFADE

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Well it looks like the new digital pixelated camo has finally made its way to deer hunters. W.L. Gore & Associates, who also manufactures Gore-Tex, has recently introduced a new type of camouflage pattern that has been developed using new digital accuracy to provide the perfect break-up of  human shape, while also matching the color schemes to how deer see the world. This camo pattern was designed using the same technology used in the new military camouflages, but has been fine tuned for hunters. Up close it doesn’t look terribly impressive, but when you take a look at pictures of people wearing this camo in the wild, they do seem to become quite invisible.

In the press release, the idea and science behind OPTIFADE was summed up in this way:

Stalking predators, like tigers, have a macro-pattern of stripes that break up their body symmetry as they move through their environment. Ambush predators, like spotted leopards, utilize micro-patterns that enable them to blend with their environment while poised to attack,” says Retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Tim O’Neill, PhD, one of W.L. Gore’s advisors on the project. “Human hunters both stalk and ambush, so we’ve used scientific research and technology to combine the best practices of the animal kingdom. GORE(R) OPTIFADE(TM) Concealment Products is a whole new category of concealment. Interestingly, in the wild, mimicry patterns like those on more traditional hunting camouflage are most often employed by prey — not by predators.”

It looks like this new camo pattern will show up first on the Sitka Product line of hunting and outdoors gear. The science behind it sounds good, but only time will tell if this new technology will actually make noticeable differences in the way we conceal ourselves from deer in the wild.

While researching this topic, I found some great videos on Youtube that were produced by GORE to explain the science behind the development of OPTIFADE. Dubbed “The Science of Nothing,” this second episode of the three part series explains how the micro and macro patterns of the camouflage work to both break up the shape of humans, while also blending into the background. Although a little long, I found this video very interesting, check it out.

This next video, the last episode in “The Science of Nothing”, was especially interesting to me. In this clip, the science of how deer see their world is detailed, and I found this to be especially helpful. I think this video will prove helpful to anyone hoping to learn a little bit more about how this master of the woods sees it’s world.

Although these videos are obviously promotional videos developed by the manufacturer, but I was still very impressed with the depth of information provided and the science behind it. It has definitely peaked my interest, and I hope to give this gear a try in the near future. If any of you have a chance to wear GORE OPTIFADE in the wild, let me know how it works!

You can take a look at the original press release here.


7 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I studied under Lieutenant Colonel O’Neil at West Point in the late 1980’s. He is a brilliant guy who knows more about the science of camouflage and visual perception than anyone else I have ever met. If I can find some for sale, I am going to buy some Optifade before I go down to the family hunting camp in Georgia this year.

Comment by Bill in VA

How, this is cool!

Where can I buy and how much will it cost?

Comment by Dave

The Sitka gear featuring Gore Optifade pattern will be available to consumers mid-2009 in time for the 2009 hunting season. Purchase from Sitka dealers or directly from Sitka at http://www.sitkagear.com.

Comment by Sue

Hey Bill, it definitely sounds like Lieutenant Colonel O’Neil has done some great work, and it must have been a privilege to learn from him. If you do end up getting your hands on some Optifade please let me know what you think!

Looks like most of us won’t be able to try it til next year unfortunately.

Comment by wiredtohunt

CHeck out this book http://www.atsko.com/articles/hunting/how-game-animals-see-smell.html it goes into more detail on not only ungulate vision but other game animals as well. It is research done by Jay Neitz.

Comment by Martha

Will optifade be available from clothing manufactures besides Sitka?

Comment by jim samis

I am not sure, but I seem to remember hearing that it will eventually be available on other products.

Comment by wiredtohunt

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