I’am by no means “bashing” Sitka in any way shape or form. I own several systems and I love them. The functionality, the design and overall package is perfect.
Now, with that said. Hunting in hardwood environments (western MD) or any other hardwood set. Have you experienced being “picked out” more times while wearing Elevated II as opposed to Realtreee patterns, Mossy oak, etc...
Just seeems as more and more I’m getting nailed for little to no movement in situations.
My rule of thumb for any treestand clothing.....bright day - light colored camo. Dark day - dark faded, camo. I've looked at vids/pics of myself on cloudy days and my bright camo was screaming "look at me". Likewise if it is sunny, the darker camo stands out in the tree.
I have not noticed. Here I am normally 25’ up in a 18”-24” fir tree and don’t get busted. But then again blacktails don’t look up too often. Think I have been looked up at three times in 15 years. I also stay up against the tree when possible.
I must add though. I don’t wear matching Camo “systems”. What’s clean and fits the weather I am in is what’s on. Got some Sitka but I do not discriminate against the lesser brands... deer/elk don’t get any deader when wearing $1000 in pants and coat.
Seems to me, the deer you're hunting are educated over many generations that danger comes from the trees.
Earlier this month while hunting (undisturbed deer) a private farm in Iowa, using ladder stands, had several deer very close and never were spooked. Even looked at me and went on their business. Does and bucks.
I was wearing tan Carhart bibbers and ASAT fleece jacket. Sometimes it was a brown vest.
I'm not sure people are understanding the design of the Elevated pattern. It is meant for late season hunting, and for a backdrop with the sky mixed in. The Fanatic line (and other warm lines) are designed for late season hunting without foliage to help you conceal. If you are hunting in pines or big and thick forest with the Elevated pattern, it probably isn't going to be the ideal camouflage. However, it is probably pretty ideal for hunting late season timber edges, tree lines, or relatively open woods in the Midwest. It is fairly specialized, just like most things the expensive clothing brands make. I think it would be a no-brainer that a pattern with the name "Elevated" would also not be ideal from the ground, but some people think that if something is expensive it should work in all scenarios, which is sadly not the case.
I think that you get busted for moving, stand position, and not having your shape broken up more than any camo pattern. Dark camo that turns into a blob at twenty yards is the only camo that I stay away from.
I believe its a combination of a couple variables that make you either successful or get you "picked off" In my opinion general woodsmanship is the #1 factor - knowledge of deer movement patterns, stand location, thermals, predominant wind, when to move and draw your bow, etc... #2 factor is then camo pattern. Combine woodsmanship and camo pattern and you become consistent in killing deer. Whether you spend $1,500 on your camo or $150 it's a personal choice. Use what works for you.
A great camo pattern will help mitigate a lack of general woodsmanship but it cannot overcome it completely.
No doubt, MOVEMENT is the main reason one will get picked off. Pat stated, SHEEN of some of the synthetic fabric can cause one to be picked off as they reflect the sun light/day light, and not absorb it.. I agree. Natural fabrics like cotton and wool/fleece can make a big difference on how a deer can see you or not, through out the day or season. Also, a tree stand without any back up foliage/limbs/large truck will cause one to stand out.
My Sitka Mt pants I use for elk hunting are too light in color and do have a SHEEN look in contrast to the surrounding forest. One reason I only use the pants (at $220 I can not afford not to use them) and then top off with a fleece jacket or ASAS leafy wear.
I only care about camo for whitetails and mulies the few times I've hunted them. Elk and moose I could care less. JL if someone takes a pic of you in the tree that doesn't matter because it's not the way "a deer sees you." ;)
All kidding aside, I agree with most things stated above. I've taken to hanging my sets differently than I used to. If it's the perfect tree in a spot that's too open I am not going high.
For me, the clothing I wear is more about comfort now than anything! I have been slowly shifting to Sitka due to the fact that it is not bulky and the design is well thought out and superior to anything else I have used. I feel that this has led to less movement in the stand and a better range of motion when I need it to draw! Sitka may be costly, but comfort and belief in your gear is "priceless"!
I don't care for it and that's coming from a guy that wears solid grey and plaids in the tree. I just think it is way too "bright" and has a blueish hue. Heck my rain pants are black and I had lots of deer in tight wearing those. I don't think I was visually busted a single time this year.
A solid tan deer standing still in the bush or even something as huge as black moose can just disappear. Until they move.
Not being reflective and not being a human shaped blob are my concerns. Nothing in the wild is vertical like humans. If possible I’ll wear mismatched pants, jacket and vest. Probably my favourite pattern is the old mothwing open country, I think it’s called.
Below is part of a larger, recent article. I thought it was pretty good and helps explain how and what a deer is capable of seeing. That is one reason why I suggest getting a pic of yourself in the stand. The goal is to try and reduce the blob effect the article mentions. Like many, I've been picked off while glued to the tree not moving. I wear a full face mask and the only things I could think of was the shade/brightness of camo and/or sky-lining emphasized the blob that was in the tree. In my case...being 6'2" doesn't help hide the blob.
Scientific Facts About How Deer See and Hear
We know deer have a great sense of smell. But what about their sight and hearing? Knowing how a buck sees and hears you can help you stay hidden.
Darren Warner — June 16, 2017
What Deer See
When it comes to whitetail vision, everything about deer eyes is uniquely designed to help the animals detect and escape from predators. Start with how the eyes are positioned. A whitetail’s eyes are found on the sides of its head, enabling the deer to have a field of view (FOV) of about 310 degrees. This means a deer’s blind spot is only about 50 degrees — less than a third the size of our own. In comparison, humans with two healthy eyes have a field of view of 180 degrees.
To understand the physical components of deer vision and how they are different from ours, let’s harken back to high-school anatomy class, where most of us learned about eye anatomy. The retina contains two types of photoreceptors, called cones and rods. Rods are most sensitive to light changes, shape and movement, and they contain only one type of light-sensitive pigment. Rods allow us to see in low light, such as at dawn and dusk, while cones contain millions of photopigments, giving animals and humans color vision.
Humans have trichromatic color vision, meaning our eyes contain three types of photopigments. The photopigments enable us to see short, moderate and long wavelengths of light, corresponding to blue, green and red colors. In contrast, whitetail eyes only have two photopigment types, giving them dichromatic color vision. Scientists believe that deer can primarily see short-wavelength blue light, and moderate-wavelength light that they probably perceive as something between red and green.
Related: Do Whitetail Bucks Really Use Seven Scent Glands
“We believe that deer see green as shades of grays to yellow; reds as yellow tones; and blues are much more intense for deer than they are for us,” said George Gallagher, professor of animal science at Berry College.
Unlike humans, deer don’t have an ultraviolet (UV) filter in their lens, making their eyes far more susceptible to the sun’s damaging UV rays. The trade-off is that researchers surmise deer can see UV light — something humans can’t detect.
By studying the physical characteristics of deer eyes, scientists estimate deer have 20/100 vision. This means that the level of detail whitetails see at 20 feet is what normal human vision can see back to 100 feet.
“If you’re a deer, you don’t have to be able to count the whiskers on a mountain lion to know that it’s a threat,” added Gallagher.
Researchers also discovered that deer have a higher ratio of rods to cones and a pupil 10 times larger than humans. These factors, and the lack of a UV filter, give deer far superior vision in low light.
Unlike in human eyes, the cones in a deer’s eye are distributed across the back of the eye on a horizontal plane. The lens in a deer’s eye also can’t adjust to objects at varying distances. These factors give deer less visual clarity than humans have. An object a deer is looking at straight on is equally in focus as something out to the side — so don’t assume that because a deer isn’t looking directly at you that it can’t see you.
Bradly Cohen, Ph.D., a research scientist at the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, trained seven whitetail does to associate light wavelengths with a food reward to test how well deer can see. Deer were given a choice of two empty food troughs, but would only receive a food reward when they chose to try feeding from the trough where an LED light stimulus was illuminated. After being trained, deer were tested on six different light wavelengths and a variety of light intensities to determine which colors of light they can see.
Cohen found that deer saw colors in the blue spectrum best, and those in the red spectrum the worst. He also confirmed anatomical studies that have found deer can see greens, yellows and UV light, but that they don’t perceive the different color shades to the extent that humans do. Cohen noted that a deer’s visual capabilities perfectly fit their lifestyle.
“It’s no coincidence that during dawn and dusk, when the greatest amount of light is in the blue spectrum, is also when deer are most active,” said Cohen. “They’re most adapted to the wavelength of light that is most available when they move around the most.”
Because deer can’t distinguish color shades as well as we can, wearing camouflage clothing containing similar colors actually makes you appear like one big blob to deer.
“While deer color vision is important, they key in more on movement,” added Cohen. “If you are a solid silhouette, movement is easier to pick up on than if you wear clothing containing colors that break up your outline.”
Thanks JL. Very informative. Quote that jumps out at me: “Because deer can’t distinguish color shades as well as we can, wearing camouflage clothing containing similar colors actually makes you appear like one big blob to deer”. That’s where predator and ASAT probably do the best job. Also agree with most here in that camo could be considered a last 5% type priority, your setup and movement being the first 95
Great points, I have little additional to contribute. So many spot on practices being done by all of you.
Agree with woodsmanship being most important, which includes stand location, being mobile so deer do not pattern us, wind etc.
Also agree with movement, it's what we focus on...an ear twitch, white on muzzle moving. Seldom do I see an entire deer first. Slight movement is what my eyes automatically today focus in on.
Camo, I typically use a different pattern for top and bottom. Only have one set of Sitka, and have never used it. Afraid I will tear it on the thorns and barbed wire I come across. Hope to take a picture with a dead animal someday so I will be taken seriously here;)
I agree with non-glare though and love the fleece stuff. But I have killed scores of whitetails in WM camo back when that was all I could afford.
Learning when to draw on an approaching animal is huge. To this day just about every deer that approaches me I still do this for practice unless I think another deer may be close by.
BTW, shot this doe Wednesday in WM camo sweats while hunting in our rural development within sight of my home. She was three yards away, I was 14' up, she turned her head to check on her trailing fawn. I drew instantly and within two seconds the arrow double lunged her.
I don't think it is necessary to purchase expensive camo, for the type of hunting I do...whitetail, turkey in farm woodlots near the KS/MO border. Obviously your situations may dictate something else.
"...Cohen found that deer saw colors in the blue spectrum best, and those in the red spectrum the worst...."
While I have no Sitka, I did get a Cabelas Wooltimate vest this year. I have worn it twice and have been seen twice. My perception is that the Wooltimate color and the Sitka is almost a blueish gray.
I am fortunate to have a fair # of deer where I hunt. I generally agree that deer see movement more than anything. I am perfectly fine in a dark green wool sweater or military surplus woodland or whatever dark color. I have tried the Predator with no ill effects. However the two times I have worn the Wooltimate and probably seen 15-20 deer over the two sits. I was very well concealed on both sits but was moving slightly on one but not what I would have expected to result in being seen. On the other hunt I was not moving whatsoever. Had been watching a trio of does for a few minutes when one of them picked me out. I had no intention of shooting them and was just sitting there watching when one was just looking around and then she gave me that "boresighted" look we have all experienced.
I see enough deer a year where, when something is different, it jumps out at me. I am going to continue to try this wooltimate to see how it does.
Most of my hunting is in pines with a dark background of the pine canopy or against the trunk of the tree.
I like improving things but when it comes to camo for hunting out of a stand, it is not that complicated. Dark colors, maybe some negative space but don't goof up something that is simple.
mat1739, Cut 3 or 4 branches with the leaves still on them (oak and ironwood work the best in my area as they can hold their leaves well into winter). Zip tie them behind you and under your stand to break up the human form.
This has worked for me even in “popple “ trees in situations where it is “the spot” for a stand but no oaks around.
All of my stands are hung at 20' to 21' (I have 1 ft increments marked on my sticks for consistency). I like to think I do real good at picking up the deer before they pick up me. Like I said above....I've been glued to the tree watching the deer come in. I'm staring at it while frozen to the tree. All of a sudden the deer would stop, maybe look around....maybe stick it's nose in the air and we would make eye contact. It's over....she/he would lock onto the blob and start the proverbial head bob and front foot stomping. It doesn't happen often but it's happened enough to know I stood out. That said....since I started using predator fall grey (cold) and some faded camo (warm to cool) AND paid attention to the camo selection for sunny/cloudy situations, the pick-offs have dropped alot. IMO the deer seen something in the tree that did not look natural and stood out (me). It's been a learning curve and some trial and error (and photos)....but that's how it has rolled for me. I'll also add I'm a little more careful how I hang my bow (or rifle) in the tree. I don't keep it out in front of me.....I try to keep it close to the tree to blend in better. I think an obvious bow will also get you picked off too.
Just saw this thread. Purchased some EV2 on Black Friday at a local shop. I've worn it twice and both times have been busted by deer, 30 & 40 yards. Both times I was up wind of the deer and it was definitely two different deer. Hunted this stand for two years in older Browning stuff and never been picked out. Sent a email to Sitka last evening seeing if there is anything that can be done. There stuff is incredible well made and very warm but if I'm gonna stick out like a sore thumb, I'll go back to my old gear.
I can’t believe how often I get picked off these days. Years ago deer seldom looked up. And yes I do know how to pick a tree with background cover. I used Predator for years & still feel it is the best pattern ever. In a tree or on the ground deer would “look right through you” but seldom spook. I have a whole bunch of Sitka & Core4 element camo in Mountain Mimicry. The pattern looks great to my eye but apparently not the deer.I’m always amazed what a bright glowing blob I look like on night time trail cam pics. Maybe that’s how the deer see us??? High quality clothing. Warm & comfortable for sure. I just got some Fanatic stuff this fall. Again top quality but getting picked off more than ever. I had a dark patterned pack sack I used for several years. Was convinced deer were picking me off because of it. Wish Predator clothing would get away from the new athletic cut that doesn’t fit this old fat guy well these days.
Handle “TD”, Is Tom Dougherty from Hawaii. You may consider a different handle to avoid confusion.
All Sitka, all the time. I hunt whities an average of 60 days a year and have exclusively worn Sitka gear for 11 years. It works great for me. Can’t explain why you’ve had trouble other than previous posters explanations above from 2018.
Was stupid the other day during gun season and got caught texting by a doe on the ground. I had an orange vest and hat on and she stood there at about 18-20 yards bobbing her head and stepping towards me then back then forward for what seemed like 5 minutes. I held motionless and she turned to walk away. If that happens with orange on I doubt Sitka is to blame. I’d say it was probably more your blob like outline more then the camo.
I’m guessing either you were skylighted because you don’t have enough background cover, and/or you moved. Background cover can change a lot in seasons and sun position. Can you send a picture from the deers location looking at the stand?
One time when I was fairly new to hunting, a buddy and I set up on edges of the same field, a couple hundred yards apart. It was a calm evening and despite his crappy camo, he was nearly invisible when he was still - but any bit of movement caught my eye - even when I wasn’t looking in that direction. The absolute worst parts were his face and hands. Like little white flags, his white privilege was very obvious. Ever since - I’ve always either worn paint or a thin mask and gloves. Sit as still as possible for as long as possible. You never know who is watching.
6 years ago I bought a sitka 90% jacket and pants... first night I wore it, a spike buck came walking out about a 100 yards. It was fairly open ground and I could see a long way at certain spots, but its was also early October and trees were still full foliage.. that spike was feeding and suddenly stopped and looked right at me.. At first, I thought no way he sees me, well after a stare down, he spooked and took off.. I wrote it off as maybe I moved and he saw me... Anyway, 30 minutes later, here comes another spike, maybe 75 yards.. Again, he stared right at me.... I don't get picked off often, it happens, but no way it was going to happen twice in the same night at 75-100 yards in early October.. Never wore that outfit again...
Guys there are no absolutes in this sport. I bow shot my 1st whitetail in 1975. In my experience deer look up much more now than back then. In all those years and 150 plus whitetail kills I think I’ve learned what I should & should not be able to get away with. Including movement, lighting, background cover, stand height & location and playing the wind. Some other states I hunt deer don’t seem nearly as wary. These days I can see a deer coming 100 yards away and carefully get in position for a shot. Generally that means standing, bow up, becoming part of the tree on the side of the tree I anticipate the shot. I’m a big believer in not letting them see your eyes. So generally bow is up, head tilted down, eyes squinting under my hat brim while peaking through the arrows on my quiver to conceal my face. Deer are still picking me off more than ever before. I really do believe the increase of pick offs coincided with my switching of camo patterns. I have lots of money invested in good clothing because it really does increase the comfort level of your sit. I wish I could find the quality of clothing I want/need in camo patterns I have confidence in. Confidence is huge. I often wonder how the hell did they spot me. Sometimes I win the stare down & they shake it off but more often than not they move away not offering a shot. This is my experience & opinion however I can respect another’s experiences & opinions.
Had a buck pick me out of my hemlock in early low light while wearing elevated 2. Came by at 10 yards and looked right up at me. Stared for a moment then walked off. There is a lot of white in that coat and bibs.