Camouflage garb for herping?

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Hans Breuer (twoton)
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Camouflage garb for herping?

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » January 15th, 2012, 9:11 pm

I used to think the birders in Taiwan are a fanatic bunch, but they have nothing on their Malaysian/Singaporean brethren. I've yet to meet anyone NOT decked out from head to toe like a LRRP sniper. So far, I haven't run into wearers of Ghillie suits, but I guess that's just a matter of time.

I've been wondering about the benefits of camo gear for herping. True, here in Sarawak we spend most of our herping time in forests, and we don't just look for herps, but for small mammals and the occasional bird, too, so camo stuff would make sense, I guess. But what about the effect on herps? Is their eyesight actually so keen that camo designs would really pay off? (It's a highly academic question, as I've already ordered three tees in Mossy Oak, but please discuss anyway :-))

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Re: Camouflage garb for herping?

Post by salamanderhunter » January 15th, 2012, 9:59 pm

my 2 cents... herps don't recognize a human. (like alot of wildlife). What they do see is movement. Stalking is the best camo for herps. Move slow enough and a person can get right on top of a snake or turtle. interesting topic... love to see more replies... :beer: :beer:

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Joseph S.
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Re: Camouflage garb for herping?

Post by Joseph S. » January 15th, 2012, 10:30 pm

I can totally see the use of Gillie suits for birding.

For stalking herps such as lizards one of the most important things to do is avoid eye contact. This allows you to approach much closer. I think wearing somber colored clothes is plenty good enough of camouflage for herps.

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Re: Camouflage garb for herping?

Post by jonathan » January 15th, 2012, 11:40 pm

Hans Breuer (twoton) wrote:So far, I haven't run into wearers of Ghillie suits, but I guess that's just a matter of time.
Just because you couldn't see them, doesn't mean they weren't there....

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Hans Breuer (twoton)
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Re: Camouflage garb for herping?

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » January 15th, 2012, 11:43 pm

jonathan wrote:
Hans Breuer (twoton) wrote:So far, I haven't run into wearers of Ghillie suits, but I guess that's just a matter of time.
Just because you couldn't see them, doesn't mean they weren't there....
ROFL!!
Joseph S. wrote:For stalking herps such as lizards one of the most important things to do is avoid eye contact.
I should have known that before this happened...I guess I'm not used to being around large lizards yet...

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Re: Camouflage garb for herping?

Post by chrish » January 16th, 2012, 4:26 am

Like it or not, camouflage does make a big difference with birds and mammals, although being able to move slowly and quietly makes more difference. That is particularly true of herps.

Wearing camouflage in the US is no big deal, but in some areas of the world it is looked upon less favorably for its military/paramilitary implications. In many areas of the world, an American wandering around in camouflage in the woods is not perceived well. I had some difficulty years back when I traveled to East Kalimantan (eastern Indonesian Borneo) carrying some camo gear in my suitcase for birding. The military police at the Balikpapan airport were very suspicious of my need for camo gear. (Of course, the fact that I had packed my hooks/tongs in a gun case didn't help :lol: ).

I now try to avoid any "military-looking" gear.

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Re: Camouflage garb for herping?

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » January 16th, 2012, 4:32 am

Interesting, Chris. But that fits in with my view of Indonesia... Not that I've ever been there, although it's only 30 klicks away :-)

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Re: Camouflage garb for herping?

Post by Josh Holbrook » January 16th, 2012, 5:02 am

You could give a HECS suit a try. Don't know if it's legitimate or voodoo yet, but my dad got me one for Christmas after his success hunting with them. http://www.shop.hecsllc.com/HECS-Suit-C ... IT0001.htm

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Re: Camouflage garb for herping?

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » January 16th, 2012, 5:14 am

Long sleeves are out, though...

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Re: Camouflage garb for herping?

Post by reptilist » January 16th, 2012, 5:46 am

Concurring with ChrisH.

That's from listening to an African safari guide who relayed that camo clothes will get a person in a jam.

I used to wear camo until it became a political statement. Now I wear earth tones.

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Re: Camouflage garb for herping?

Post by klawnskale » January 16th, 2012, 12:22 pm

http://store.gomed-tech.com/sweatsuits- ... googlebase

A gal can wear camouflage out in the field and be very fashionista. Granted, she maybe stopped for different reasons...

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Re: Camouflage garb for herping?

Post by kyle loucks » January 16th, 2012, 12:31 pm

In my neck of the woods and I'm sure in others, I believe it is prudent to also be safe while herping. I herp in areas that can also be occupied by hunters. I also do a lot of road cruising where being seen is the smart thing to do. Cammies could be dangerous. So, I wear bright colors.


Sexy stuff...
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Re: Camouflage garb for herping?

Post by M Wolverton » January 16th, 2012, 1:43 pm

chrish wrote:Like it or not, camouflage does make a big difference with birds and mammals, although being able to move slowly and quietly makes more difference. That is particularly true of herps.

Wearing camouflage in the US is no big deal, but in some areas of the world it is looked upon less favorably for its military/paramilitary implications. In many areas of the world, an American wandering around in camouflage in the woods is not perceived well. I had some difficulty years back when I traveled to East Kalimantan (eastern Indonesian Borneo) carrying some camo gear in my suitcase for birding. The military police at the Balikpapan airport were very suspicious of my need for camo gear. (Of course, the fact that I had packed my hooks/tongs in a gun case didn't help :lol: ).

I now try to avoid any "military-looking" gear.
When clothes are outlawed, only outlaws will wear clothes.

Wash 'em all, let mom sort 'em out.

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Re: Camouflage garb for herping?

Post by Gyri » January 16th, 2012, 4:57 pm

Depending on the species I worry more about the liklihood of scent alerting some snakes to my presence. If there's a breeze and it crosses my mind I'll approach hot spots for flighty species from the downwind side.

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Re: Camouflage garb for herping?

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » January 16th, 2012, 6:23 pm

When clothes are outlawed, only outlaws will wear clothes.

Wash 'em all, let mom sort 'em out.
LOLLLLLL

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Re: Camouflage garb for herping?

Post by BillMcGighan » January 17th, 2012, 6:16 am

For stalking herps such as lizards one of the most important things to do is avoid eye contact. This allows you to approach much closer. I think wearing somber colored clothes is plenty good enough of camouflage for herps.
Good one.

You can experiment yourself, Hans, with this one on common lizards. Compare:
- avoiding the “predator stare” and moving slowly at a tangent to the lizard’s position – see how close you can get, on average.

- staring right at them without sun glasses and still moving slowly – see how close you can get, on average.

:lol: :lol: Of course, all bets are off with varanids and velociraptors!!! :lol: :lol:

Now I wear earth tones.
We see a big, positive difference in wearing earth tones when stalking game fish when water is shallow and clear.

I now try to avoid any "military-looking" gear.
Chris is right on.
In many “unstable” countries around the world, if your features are obviously and ethnically western European, you can have less trouble by not even giving the impression of someone on a political mission.

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Camouflage garb for herping?

Post by joconnor » January 19th, 2012, 9:56 pm

I concur with Kyle 100% . I wear bright colors due to large # of hunters . The hunting season in NJ ( a small state ) is now 9 mos .Sept - End of May .Also , i'm not certain , but many herps
( as i understand it ) see few if any colors , especially snakes ? I usually try to wear @ least 1 article of clothing in red , orange or yellow .
Joe

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Re: Camouflage garb for herping?

Post by VICtort » January 20th, 2012, 2:02 pm

All good points, to address your original query, I don't think most herps recognize us no matter what our colors except by movement or perhaps scent. I have always been amused as an avid waterfowler and hunter of birds to see the birders in purple and spandex clothes...visible to me from afar, and I would bet wary birds as well. I found real advantages in camo, and perhaps the greatest value is in not advertising your presence to other humans...who tend to notice movement and unnatural colors. I agree with the do not stare at them in the eyes advice, and that is an important point when approaching fish as a diver also, it may well apply to herps also. It makes us less likely to be perceived as a predator in hunting mode if we avoid direct eye contact. Many of us feel camo wet suits are very effective in approaching reef dwelling fish, whether herps notice I can not say.

Chris as usual makes excellent points, and the politics of camo clothes in 3rd world countries where you could be arrested as a "spy" witout due process is worthy of consideration. People/social standards here in the USA have loosened up on camo clothes since they became fashionable, I remember getting a lot of "visual insubordination" when my friends and I entered airports and restaurants dressed in camos in the past, enroute to hunting trips etc. In fact I would try to dress more "street fashionable" if possible, not wanting to get poor service from an overly sensitive vegan waitress... I don't notice it so much now, I don't think we are the novelty we once were or I am so old and cranky I just don't give a hoot... I think the best compromise are earth tones anywhere, maybe skip the camo patterns, avoid shiny buckles and snaps, etc, just try to blend and be neutral and keep a low profile when in military dictatorships etc. Some shad of khaki sand or light green will be reasonable.

Vic

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Re: Camouflage garb for herping?

Post by DavidG » January 21st, 2012, 1:06 am

Hi Hans,

Although camo stuff does not help fantastically, i would not wear extremely reflective or vividly coloured apparel either - particularly for the lizards/skinks/flying dragons that are extremely alert. MOREOVER, an extremely important technique is the I-D-C-U trick. I.E. The I Don't See You technique.... So, how does this work?

A number of herps, particularly the active diurnal skinks, flying dragons, and occasionally the lizards/agamids of the bornean rainforest will see you before you see them. So, when you are walking, and suddenly from the corner of your eye you notice a most spectacular looking beast - don't stop, just keep walking (I mean who cares lol). No seriously, keep walking, and the beast will think that you never even saw it, and will remain on say the trunk where it was at first. After walking 4 to 5 meters on, take out your camera, set everything up, prepare so that you can take pictures. Then slowly walk back - ankle first, then sides of the foot, and then the front portion - too make the least amount of noise (move your feet like waves on the ground). Take a record shot of the beast, move in 1 step, take another shot, and so on. You generally have around 1 minute to 2 minutes as long as you move very slowly and try to make it appear as if you are not looking at the animal.

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Re: Camouflage garb for herping?

Post by Reptiluvr » January 21st, 2012, 9:11 am

I agree that DavidG's I Don't See You technique is stupidly effective in approaching herps, down to the walking method. I have gotten many great in situ shots with my macro lens doing exactly what he posted. I've even had a couple lizards and frogs jump on me while taking pics. Works for inverts too.

I have always wanted a Ghillie suit for pure whimsy. I bet I could get much closer to birds and deer stalking in this. You could even get away with making it legal paraphernalia during hunting season by adding little strips of orange here and there to make up the minimum area of orange. Staying on topic, I don't see much need for camo on herps.
DavidG wrote:Hi Hans,

Although camo stuff does not help fantastically, i would not wear extremely reflective or vividly coloured apparel either - particularly for the lizards/skinks/flying dragons that are extremely alert. MOREOVER, an extremely important technique is the I-D-C-U trick. I.E. The I Don't See You technique.... So, how does this work?

A number of herps, particularly the active diurnal skinks, flying dragons, and occasionally the lizards/agamids of the bornean rainforest will see you before you see them. So, when you are walking, and suddenly from the corner of your eye you notice a most spectacular looking beast - don't stop, just keep walking (I mean who cares lol). No seriously, keep walking, and the beast will think that you never even saw it, and will remain on say the trunk where it was at first. After walking 4 to 5 meters on, take out your camera, set everything up, prepare so that you can take pictures. Then slowly walk back - ankle first, then sides of the foot, and then the front portion - too make the least amount of noise (move your feet like waves on the ground). Take a record shot of the beast, move in 1 step, take another shot, and so on. You generally have around 1 minute to 2 minutes as long as you move very slowly and try to make it appear as if you are not looking at the animal.

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Re: Camouflage garb for herping?

Post by bwaterherper » January 21st, 2012, 11:20 am

I'm just going to echo what kyle said, bright colors feel like a must in the North East, its not uncommon to go to a herping spot and find several pick ups parked in the lot with gun cases and what not in the beds. I would also wonder if its possible that a cop or warden/ranger would stop you if you were wearing camo in any sort of park? That being said hunters are super friendly :thumb: one stopped to look at a spotted salamander i was taking pictures of.

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