GORE Optifade Concealment Success for NYBowHunter.com
New York – -(Ammoland.com)- In mid-November I was invited down to Newark, DE for the GORE Labs2Woods Blogger Summit. I had a chance to meet the people at GORE and came away from the experience extremely impressed with GORE as a company and how they stand behind their products.
You see, GORE isn't like most companies. There isn't some hierarchical ladder that prevents employees from the bottom from being heard at the top. That might not seem like a big deal at first, but because everyone at GORE is an Associate it means their opinion counts, their voice can be heard, and their ideas can be explored.
Almost everyone has heard of GORE-TEX and Windstopper, two of GORE's most noted products, but the company makes everything from fabrics that protect our firemen and astronauts to guitar strings, fishing line, and medical devices that can plug a hole in your heart. All of these products were developed because GORE gives it's employees the chance to be different and think outside the box.
And that's the problem GORE set out to solve: How can a hunter get close to an ungulate without being detected at typical engagement distances?
What I really like about GORE is their scientific approach to solving problems. The Company didn't just decide to enter the camouflage market, they knew hunters wanted to get close to game without being detected and nothing on the market had been designed specifically for hunting ungulates, or hoofed animals.
The problem with traditional mimicry patterns on the market is that they block up into a mass of gray at close range – the range you need to be at for a successful hunt. So while your new HD camo might look amazing on the rack at the store, when you're in the woods the real concern becomes how is the animal going to react when it sees you at close range? And that's the problem GORE set out to solve: How can a hunter get close to an ungulate without being detected at typical engagement distances?
To help answer these questions and develop a scientific solution GORE brought in a panel of experts including:
- Dr. Jay Neitz, an animal vision expert at the University of Washington Medical School in Seattle.
- Retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Tim O'Neill, Ph.D., widely regarded as the “Father of Digital Camouflage.”
- Guy Cramer, founder and CEO of HyperStealth® Biotechnology Corp., designers of digital camouflage patterns.
In 2009, GORE released Optifade Open County, a pattern scientifically designed for engagement ranges of 35 yards and beyond at ground level. The larger neutral areas of the pattern, or the macro-pattern, are more critical to concealment at these engagement ranges, in a landscape of rocks, brush and scattered trees.
This year GORE released Optifade Forest, a pattern scientifically designed for close engagement ranges of under 20 yards and for elevated angles of attack – typically 15 feet up in a tree stand. At that proximity, the micro-pattern becomes more critical: it compensates for the contrasted, highly detailed background perceived by the prey.
I live in the world of the treestand hunter and spend 95% of my time hunting from a treestand. When you're 20 feet up in a tree like I am you have bright sky, dark leaves and branches and the vertical lines of trees all around you. It's these lines that make it easier for a whitetail to pick you out of the tree on that cold November morning. Even if you're wearing mimicry camo you will blob out with every movement you make because most of the mimicry camo patterns don't have the contrast to break you up.
With help from their panel of experts, GORE figured out that ungulates suffer from red-green color blindness and have a larger field of view than humans. Using this knowledge they were able to test patterns with different colors, macro patterns and micro patterns on live animals and see how they reacted to each pattern. After a long test period, GORE was able to determine which colors worked best for treestand hunters and how to arrange the macro and micro patterns of the camoflague to help the hunter appear as nothing to the eyes of the ungulate.
To help understand the difference between a macro pattern and a micro pattern think about a tiger and a leopard. A tiger is a stalking predator with a macro pattern to help break up it's outline as it chases it's prey. Leopard's, on the other hand, are ambush predators and have a micro pattern that helps them blend into the background as they prepare for their attack.
Optifade incorporates a macro pattern of large fragmented shapes – mathematically configured to match those of the animal kingdom – that breaks up your body symmetry and outline. Additionally, Optifade also incorporates a micro pattern of small fragmented shapes – matching the fine texture that defines our world – which makes you fade into the background.
This is the science behind the Optifade pattern that makes it so effective.
I'll admit, I was hesitant to put on my green looking Optifade Forest and head out to the dead brown woods, but I've been successful using Optifade and I've watched whitetails look up at me and right through me as if I wasn't even there. When a deer picks it's head up, looks in your direction, and goes back to feeding, that's the ultimate rush as a predator. You're out there up in your tree and you have your desired game well within bow range without a clue you are there.
Personally, I've been extremely impressed with the Optifade pattern and I think GORE hit a home run with this one.
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