Turkey and Duck Hunting Camo Tips | Waterfowl Patterns


Choosing the best duck hunting camo is much different than picking out a deer hunting camo. Most big game animals lack depth perception and are color blind to an extent, but waterfowl and turkeys have excellent eyesight, which makes camouflage an essential part of a successful hunt. In this guide, we’ll give you a bird’s-eye view on how to choose a duck hunting and turkey hunting camo and give you tips on how to stay concealed while bagging waterfowl.

Do You Need to Wear Camo for Duck and Turkey Hunting?

You technically don’t need to wear waterfowl hunting camo in the same way you don’t technically need a spoon to eat soup, but it’s a lot more helpful than using a fork. In less confusing words, turkey and duck hunting camo is important if you want an easier and more successful outcome on a hunt. For the most part, birds have better vision than humans, and they can see every minute detail, reflection, and movement in their view.

Turkey and waterfowl can distinguish colors better than humans can, and their eyes are extra sensitive to UV light. That means shiny reflections, even off your face, can give away your position and scare away your prey. Camouflaging your hunting blind, boat, and yourself give you the best opportunities to make mallard stew.

Do You Need to Wear Blaze Orange Hunting Camo?

duck hunter wearing blaze orange safety vest

Blaze orange vests and hunting apparel help other hunters see you and create a safer environment. This is perfectly fine when hunting deer and elk that can’t properly see the color orange. However, birds can easily spot the out-of-place bright orange color.

Safety is a priority, so you should always look up your local and state laws about blaze orange hunting requirements.

Thankfully, most states don’t require blaze orange hunting gear for waterfowl. If yours does, you may need to rely more on camouflaging your hunting blinds and boats to maintain stealth by the water. Blaze orange is sometimes a requirement for turkey hunting. Some hunters choose to only wear their blaze orange colors while moving to their next site. Safety always comes first, so you should wear blaze orange when necessary. If you remove your blaze orange apparel while stationary at your hunting spot, make sure to keep it nearby so that you can hold it up to alert nearby hunters of your presence.

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How to Choose a Duck Hunting Camo Pattern

turkey hunter wearing mimicry camo

There are two main types of hunting camo patterns: breakup (digital) and mimicry. Breakup camouflage uses abstract shapes and colors to conceal your outline. On the other hand, mimicry camouflage uses imagery of nature to help you blend in with your surroundings. Break up camo is good for hunting deer and other big game because they can’t see well, and blending your outline into the background is the best way to stay hidden.

For ducks, turkey, and other waterfowl, you want to use mimicry camo patterns. Since birds have good vision, they can make out small details and see a vast range of colors. Mimicry camouflage is more effective at fooling fowl, as long as you pick one that best matches your environment.

Waterfowl Hunting Camo Patterns

marsh hunting camo pattern

Marsh and waterfowl camo patterns are your best bet for hunting ducks. These camouflage patterns feature tall grass, reeds, and cattails you’d find near a marsh or swamp. When you pick your next hunting location, make sure to research the area beforehand. Duck hunting season is around fall for most folks, but a marsh up north is going to look a bit different than a southern swamp. Compare images of the hunting grounds with camo patterns while shopping for hunting clothes to properly match the vegetation and colors of the area.

Other Duck Hunting Camo Tips

As we mentioned earlier, ducks are sensitive to UV light, which means shiny reflections will raise all their red flags and scare the flock away. With deer hunting, you can get away with just wearing camouflage hunting clothes, but with duck hunting, you need to camouflage everything, not just your clothes. That means your face, hands, and any shelter you are using should be camouflaged or painted to match your surroundings. Grab a pair of camo gloves and some face paint to blend in as much as possible. Also, try to only use weapons with a non-reflective matte finish. You can perfect every aspect of your camo game, but one shiny gun can ruin all of your hard work.

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Hunting blinds are your best bet to stay concealed while hunting waterfowl. However, they aren’t necessary if your hunting spot has the right natural cover. Again, researching the area beforehand will help you pick the best duck hunting camouflage possible.

The last piece of advice is to minimize your movement as much as possible. Patience is a virtue for a reason. It’s not easy, but it will greatly improve your efficiency on any type of hunt, especially waterfowl.

How to Choose a Turkey Hunting Camo Pattern

Picking a turkey camo pattern is very similar to choosing a duck camo pattern in that both are birds with excellent vision. Mimicry camo will suit you best when it comes to hunting gobblers, and reducing reflectivity is a must. The main difference between the two is the location and time of year.

Turkeys can roost near water, trees, or open areas. If you plan on stalking your prey, wear a camo pattern that best matches the overall environment. If you’re lucky enough to nail down specific spots, you can grab some mimicry camouflage that suits that specific location.

Turkey Hunting Camo Patterns

Turkey hunting starts around spring, and this fickle season will have different results depending on your location. Remember, vegetation and color schemes change from region to region, so make sure your hunting camo matches that. At the start of spring turkey season, the trees and plants may still be brown or waiting to bloom. As time progresses, plants and trees will flourish and lush greens take over the scenery.

woodland hunting camo pattern with brown leaves woodland hunting camo pattern with lush greens

Marsh camo patterns can certainly work when hunting turkeys by water, but you’ll want to check out Woodland camouflage patterns for other roosting spots. That means brown colors and imagery of sticks and bark usually suit early spring turkey hunters best, but as the season goes on, you’ll want to swap out for some Woodland camo patterns that have elements of green and maybe some imagery of leaves and grass.

Other Turkey Hunting Camo Tips

turkey hunting headnet

Like duck hunting, you’ll want to properly camouflage from head to toe when hunting toms. Your hunting pants, vest, and other apparel are all equally important. Skimping on one part of your hunting camouflage can jeopardize the success of your entire hunt. You’ll also want to wear hunting gloves to conceal movement and face paint or a headnet to minimize reflections.

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The last turkey tip is to avoid red, white, and blue colors, especially near your head. There are plenty of other occasions to be patriotic, but turkey hunting season isn’t one of them. Those colors can easily resemble a turkey, and wearing them increases your risk of not being properly identified by other hunters.

All Duck Or No Dinner

Hunting waterfowl and turkeys requires more detail to camouflage than hunting deer or elk. It’s all or nothing. Covering your head, face, hands, body, legs, and feet are critical to a fruitful hunting season, and with the right camo patterns, you’ll see immense success in the wild.

Just make sure to buy mimicry camouflage – marsh and waterfowl patterns for ducks and marsh or woodland patterns for toms, depending on the location and time of year. Make an effort to reduce your reflectivity with matte gun finishes and face masks, nets, or paint. Adhere to your local and state laws regarding blaze orange to stay safe this hunting season. And finally, exercise patience on a hunt to see your best results yet.

Hopefully, you now know how to choose the best duck hunting camo and turkey hunting camo for your clothing and blinds. Prepare for your next outing with OpticsPlanet’s huge selection of high-quality hunting gear including game calls, ground blinds, and so much more. As always, have a safe and happy hunting season!

Camouflageduck huntinghuntinghunting tripturkeywaterfowl

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>