The Art of Invisibility: A Hunter’s Guide to Ghillie Suits

Ghillie suits disguise hunters by perfectly mimicking natural landscapes. Learn how the military camo works, make your own custom ghillie, and leverage its unfair advantages.

Ghillie Suit Guide
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Hunters and the military have used ghillie suits for years to blend into nature and conceal movement. A ghillie suit is camouflage clothing designed to resemble heavy foliage and blend in with the natural landscape. Hunters use ghillie suits to get closer to their target without being seen.

Ghillie Suit Guide – Happy Hunting

In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about ghillie suits for hunting purposes – from what they’re made of, why they work so well, how to make your own, and tips for using them effectively while hunting.

What is a Ghillie Suit?

A ghillie suit is a full-body outfit covered in irregular vegetation like twigs, leaves, burlap strips, and netting. This camouflage breaks up the outline of the human body against natural backdrops like grass, brush, or forests.

Snipers and hunters have used homemade ghillie suits for decades to remain hidden while waiting patiently for a target. Manufacturers have recently begun producing and selling premade ghillie suits in various camouflage patterns optimised for different terrains and environments.

For hunters, ghillie suits serve an essential purpose – reducing movement and blending into the surroundings. Deer, elk, turkey and other game animals have extremely sharp senses of hearing, sight and smell.

A ghillie suit disguises the human silhouette and sound while allowing complete freedom of movement for aiming a bow, handling calls or equipment, and drawing a bead for the perfect shot.

How Do Ghillie Suits Work?

Ghillie suits create visual confusion and break up the outline of the human body through strategic camouflage. The foliage strips, irregular patterns, 3D depth and shadows make it extremely difficult to distinguish a ghillie-clad hunter from the naturally bushy or grassy landscape.

The fundamental principles that allow ghillie suits to be so effective include:

Disruption: The patterns and foliage break up clean lines and alter the characteristic shape of a human body.

Depth & Dimension: The layered strips, twigs, and netting add crucial depth and dimension to disguise the wearer.

Shadows: All the nooks and crannies between the camouflage create shadows to blend with the natural surroundings.

Motionlessness: For best results, ghillie suits work best when the wearer moves slowly and deliberately to avoid attention. The abrupt movement would make the suit more visible.

How to Make Your Own Ghillie Suit

You can purchase high-quality, premade ghillie suits online or from hunting outfitters. But for many hunters, half the fun is making your unique ghillie explicitly suited for the environment you’ll be hunting in.

Constructing an effective DIY ghillie suit is easier than it seems. Here’s what you’ll need to make your own:

  • Base Layer: Start with a hooded jacket and pants in a matching camo pattern like Realtree or Mossy Oak. Opt for lightweight, breathable material.
  • Burlap Strips: Tear or cut burlap into long, narrow strips to mimic grasses and attach to your base layer.
  • Twine/Yarn: Gather twine, jute, raffia, jute, or burlap yarn to create depth and knots amongst the burlap strips.
  • Veiling Netting: Drape netting over your suit and fasten it to the base layer to help hold everything in place.
  • Foliage: Collect dead grasses, leaves, twigs, ferns or whatever matches your specific hunting environment.
  • Landscape Staples/Zip Ties: Use these adhesives to firmly attach camouflaging elements to the base layer so nothing shakes loose.

Attach all your foliage, netting and additional camouflaging materials by stapling, tying or glueing every few inches.

Layer the strips, netting and adhesives for maximum depth and dimension.

Customise the patterns and colours to mimic the specific terrain you’ll be hunting for optimal camouflage.

Tips for Hunting with a Ghillie Suit

Once you’ve acquired or constructed an effective ghillie suit, a few key strategies will help maximise its concealment advantages:

Match Terrain Pattern: Tailor or tweak your ghillie with the appropriate textures, colours and materials to disguise yourself in grassland, woodland, cropland or whatever landscape you’re hunting.

Scout Locations: Identify potential spots offering concealment, good sight lines, downwind positioning from animals, and proximity to game trails ahead of time when scouting without your ghillie suit.

Use Stealth: Resist the urge for abrupt movements. Move slowly, pause frequently, and remain as silent and motionless as possible once in your hunting spot.

Play the Wind: Always set up downwind from where you expect animals to approach so they don’t detect your scent and spot the deception.

Be Patient: After so much careful effort to remain invisible, don’t blow your cover by losing patience. Settle in and utilise your ghillie suit edge to wait as long as needed for the ideal shot.

Adding a ghillie suit to your hunting arsenal requires some special considerations but pays off tremendously in terms of stealth and concealment.

The added confidence, effectiveness and success rates while bow hunting make a high-quality ghillie suit worth the investment for serious hunters.

Advantages of Ghillie Suits for Hunting Camouflage

For hunters hoping to remain unseen and undetected by sharp-eyed game, ghillie suits provide clear advantages over other camo options:

Invisibility: A ghillie suit’s depth, shadow and texture disguise human outlines even at close range.

Realism: Ghillie suits mimic vegetation and surroundings more convincingly than standard camo clothing.

Customisation: DIY ghillie suits can be modified for specialised terrain compared to mass-produced camo patterns.

Freedom: The loose-fitting layered foliage allows for a full range of motion while shooting, drawing or repositioning.

Portability: Ghillie suits are lightweight and easily packed into remote hunting areas despite their considerable bulk on the body.

Windproof: The density of the ghillie suit layers also protects the hunter from losing scent or body heat in breezy conditions.

Given these built-in advantages for concealment, a dedicated hunter appreciates every edge or innovation, helping transform into a genuinely invisible predator. The ghillie suit qualifies as perhaps the most lethal camouflage asset available.

Disadvantages & Challenges Wearing a Ghillie Suit Hunting

For all their cunning concealment advantages, ghillie suits also come with some distinct disadvantages and pose unique challenges, including:

Overheating: All those layers of thick, dense fabric tend to cause profuse sweating in warm weather.

Restricted Vision: Seeing clearly through the camouflaging veils and netting can prove challenging.

Noisy: Brushing foliage against branches or grass makes a noise that can attract animal attention.

Movement Limitations: Ghillie suits severely restrict running, crouching or other abrupt movements.

High Cost: Purchasing a premade ghillie suit constitutes a significant upfront investment for most hunters.

DIY Difficulty: Designing and producing your effective ghillie suit takes considerable skill, effort and time.

Frequent Repairs: Homemade ghillie suits require ongoing upkeep, reinforcements and enhancements.

Carrying extra water to avoid dehydration, creating viewing slots, practising smooth limited motion, and taking meticulous care of an expensive hunting asset help maximise ghillie effectiveness for the hunt while mitigating noticeable downsides.

Types of Terrain Where Ghillie Suits Excel

Savvy hunters select camouflage strategically based on terrain, season and conditions to disappear completely. Ghillie suits uniquely bridge the gap between clothing and environment for stealth across all types of landscape, including:

Woodlands & Forests: Fading seamlessly into timbered habitats is the quintessential ghillie suit sweet spot.

Grasslands: Whether meadows, prairies, marshland or cropland, ghillie suits take on grassy landscapes.

Hilly Areas: Jagged lines and studied dimensionality disguise movement in rolling foothills.

Deserts & Sand: Specialised ghillie suits with burlap, jute and netting blend into the desert.

Snowy Areas: White netting and burlap mimic snowy banks during winter months.

Low-Light Conditions: As light fades at dusk or dawn, ghillie camouflage outperforms bold camo patterns.

A ghillie suit proves worth its hefty price tag in any landscape, requiring meticulous concealment from sharp senses. Their ability to mimic nearly any environment makes ghillie suits almost unfair…almost.

Concluding our Ghillie Suit Guide

The handcrafted ghillie suit ranks as the pinnacle for hunters demanding the ultimate in stealthy camouflage and concealment. No other hunting garb rivals the ghillie’s capacity to transform a visible human form into a virtually invisible predator.

The foliage strips, netting, burlap and painstaking customisation permit seamless blending into landscapes from forests to fields. Although hot, awkward and high-maintenance – ghillie suits provide hunters with a cloak of invisibility for unmatched advantages in positioning, stealth and stalking.

For bow and firearm hunters alike, that edge often makes the sweat, money and maintenance worthwhile.

So, for unmatched camouflage and deadly stealth, break up those definitive human outlines and embrace your inner ghillie-suited predator. Your unwitting prey will never see you coming.

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