Thompson Ridge, California

Transforming Into An Animal – The Art of Camouflage and Stalking

Whether you are a wildlife enthusiast wishing to closely observe and touch animals or a hunter eager for a close kill, you’ll know how hard it is to approach an animal without being detected. Animals have very sharp senses and quick fleeing instincts, and these are primarily to protect them from predators. No matter how skilled you are in target-shooting or stalking animals, rest assured that you’ll still experience frustrations in your efforts to get closer to your subject.

The 2 Things You’ll Ever Need To Know

What, then, should you really prepare for in order to have a successful hunt or animal observation? Are your camo clothes enough? Will your shooting classes adequately train you? Will smudging mud on your face work to hide you?

Preparing for a day out in the wild without being seen is surprisingly simple. In order for you to be successful, you must embody the physical appearance and the smooth, fluid movements of animals. As a wildlife enthusiast or a hunter, you need to master two things: (1) body camouflage and (2) stalking movements.

Body Camouflage – Is A Camo Outfit Enough?

In order to go undetected in an animal habitat, it’s not enough to try looking like a shrub–you need to BE the animal habitat. It may come as a surprise to you that birds and tree creatures are already trained to move away from a human figure by seeing the pink parts of our body. Your face, neck, hands, and feet are either pink or white, and animals know this. Once they see patches of pink move around and about, expect them to run the other direction.

What should you do to cover yourself up and blend in? Here are some ways you can try out:

1. Do you want to observe animals from a considerable distance, without really wanting to touch them? A camouflage outfit will do the job for this purpose. Make sure to dress up to cover your entire body, including your hands and feet.

2. Want to go all the way in order to touch your target subject? Then commit to it and do the following:

a. Take a bath and de-scent yourself. Use odiferous plants that comprise the vegetation of the area where you plan to hide. You must smell like the plants and shrubs that live in the area where you intend to hide.

b. Rub your entire body with ash from previously burnt wood. This process, called “blending,” involves fully applying the ash all over your body to cover every inch–including the palms of your hands and soles of your feet. However, make sure that you’re not rubbing wet ash as this will burn your skin. Include your face and hair in this process. Use light-colored ash if you’re fair-skinned and darker ash if you’re dark-skinned.

c. Now, it’s time to transform your skin to mimic that of an animal by forming prints and patterns. This process is called “dappling,” and it involves “drawing” lines and curves on the ash covering your skin. Dab your fingers in water or mud and run them on your skin to break the monotonous ash pattern. A combination of spots and stripes is ideal in dappling.

d. Go to a dirt patch similar to the one where you intend to hide and roll all over it. Cover your entire body with dirt in order to ruff up the outline of your body. This is called “fuzzing.”

After doing these four steps, you are now ready to go to your preferred hiding area. Pretend that you are a rock or shrub and fully commit to acting like you really are part of that environment. Keep still but breathe normally without restriction, and await the first animal you want to touch. Make sure there are no obstructions in front of you should you try to reach out and touch an animal.

Stalking Secret – Move Like An Animal

Moving like an animal doesn’t just mean moving slowly. Human beings are not trained to move in slow, fluid motions. Our abrupt shift in actions, plus the sounds we make while walking past dried leaves and twigs, are what usually gives us away.

Remember these tips as you go off to stalking wildlife creatures:

1. Don’t wear bright colors. No matter how slowly you move, a neon orange sock will still scare a squirrel away.

2. Imagine that you’re walking on the surface of the moon. Remember how those astronauts seem like they’re floating? That’s how you should move, too. That means being extra careful in resting your weight on possible twigs and dried leaves that snap and crunch beneath your shoes. You can also try to imagine a wolf’s movement as it goes in for the kill–no abrupt movements, very calculated and slow steps forward, and lightweight paws.

3. Don’t talk to your companion, if you have one. Foreign noises such as human talking or slamming shut of a car door serve as warnings to your potential subjects to flee the area.

To summarize, you need to look, smell, and move like an animal in order to have a successful time out in the wild. As you continue to practice, you’ll eventually master the art of outdoor camouflage and movement.

Take note of the tips listed above and repeatedly do them every time you go outdoors and in no time at all, you’ll easily blend in with the rest of nature and finally touch–or shoot–your target animals.

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Transforming Into An Animal – The Art of Camouflage and Stalking”

  1. Thank you, this is a great article! However I am a bit concerned about dappling on top of the ash, will this not create a lye solution?

    1. The production of lye is a very slow process (3 weeks). So you have to be sure to not use ashes collected from a fireplace exposed to the rain, as it will produce lye and may burn the skin

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