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  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jock Scot View Post
    I am not sure when the boffins came up with the information that deer cannot see red/orange, but as far as I am aware its a fairly recent discovery. I am pretty sure it was not general knowledge two/three hundred years ago, so it was an obvious thought by those deer stalking and so on, to blend into the countryside and of course breaking up the silhouette was part of that thought process.

    Thankfully our shooting sports are run in a different way in the UK and we do not encourage todays sportsmen to wear red or orange, actually its actively discouraged. In fact I was grouse shooting in a glen the other day where the game keepers were having seizures over a couple of visiting guns(shooters) wearing green! Green, particularly dark green and black are unusual colours on a grouse moor at this time of year and a combination of standing out, even in a grouse butt and movement would steer the grouse elsewhere.
    While deer, and most mammals other than primates, have poor color perception, birds have exceptional color perception, including part of the UV spectrum invisible to humans. You have pointed out before that highlanders tend to not own a huge number of outfits for a given task so I imagine that a tweed or tartan garment for hunting that works well for both grouse (which can see color well) and deer (which do not) would be ideal.

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  3. #62
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    I know my hawks recognise bright colours, or at least react to them. They also react to movement, no matter the colour. My experience with deer and elk in North America, red deer in the UK and rabbits in Ireland is that they don't respond to colour blotches, but definitely to movement and sound. I assume that the knowledge of colour perception of different species is new and directly related to health-and-safety issues in NA and not to animal recognition. Certainly the preferred tartans of old were brighter, so if camouflage was intended it had nothing to do with stalking larger game. Some of the lads I know (in Scotland) choose dun colours so that other humans will have difficulty seeing them
    Last edited by ThistleDown; 11th October 17 at 07:31 PM.

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  5. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by LKM View Post
    The claim of tartan as camouflage goes back a lot further then the kilt. It has been debated if the Britons used tartan as camouflage or just fashion when fighting Rome. Those debates can be fun to listen to at times. I have spoken with some re-enactment groups that have tested it and found that most muted or hunting tartans do work as camouflage.

    I think this leaves the question of did they use it as camouflage?
    Unlikely, they also used crested helmets and bright gold and silver jewellery. Their shields were painted with bold patterns and they typically called challenges before a fight.

    The only instance I can think of is an ancient German tribe called the Harii who painted their shields black, dyed their skin some dark colour and attacked at night. Harii is possibly related to the word Heer so may have been a group of warriors at the time rather than an actual tribe.

    The problem with our speculating on camouflage is that we understand the concept, our modern weapons make it vitally important to do so. Much of the time our forebears engaged in warfare with barely any scouting undertaken, let alone deliberate attempts at camouflage. Overawing the enemy with bright colours and sound back when the average person couldn't afford such was a form of psychological warfare.
    Soldiers wore tall hats with plumes all the way into the second half of the 19th century to make themselves look taller and more fearsome. Totally different mindset back then, much more animalistic like the duck I saw on the drive this morning puffing its feathers out to make itself look larger to warn off other ducks.

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  7. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThistleDown View Post
    I know my hawks recognise bright colours, or at least react to them. They also react to movement, no matter the colour. My experience with deer and elk in North America, red deer in the UK and rabbits in Ireland is that they don't respond to colour blotches, but definitely to movement and sound. I assume that the knowledge of colour perception of different species is new and directly related to health-and-safety issues in NA and not to animal recognition. Certainly the preferred tartans of old were brighter, so if camouflage was intended it had nothing to do with stalking larger game. Some of the lads I know (in Scotland) choose dun colours so that other humans will have difficulty seeing them
    Not all animals see in color, at least not like we do. I know that deer sense movement and look for change in that way. Smell is probably a bigger deal. Paying attention to the wind direction vis a vis where the game is or thought to be is important. Once they get your scent, they are usually gone, especially if the woods/area has been stunk up by us after the season starts. As far as the blaze orange goes, it's about safety from other hunters. I used to hunt deer in NY and hunt mulies and elk in CO, but I gave it up. Just don't care so much about the kill. I like being out and about, but it's an expensive way to do if you don't care if you get something. the tags are ridiculously expensive, at least for my wallet. When I lived in NY, it wasn't lottery and it was cheap.
    American by birth, human by coincidence and earthling by mistake.

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  9. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThistleDown View Post
    I know my hawks recognise bright colours, or at least react to them. They also react to movement, no matter the colour. My experience with deer and elk in North America, red deer in the UK and rabbits in Ireland is that they don't respond to colour blotches, but definitely to movement and sound. I assume that the knowledge of colour perception of different species is new and directly related to health-and-safety issues in NA and not to animal recognition. Certainly the preferred tartans of old were brighter, so if camouflage was intended it had nothing to do with stalking larger game. Some of the lads I know (in Scotland) choose dun colours so that other humans will have difficulty seeing them :)
    I really need to find the study, but it turns out that beyond about 100 yards, breaking up the outline is much more important in concealment than muted or bright colors. "Loud" MacLeod tartan was actually superior to the US Army's digicam, because the digicam had low contrast in small blocks. So even though it is quite drab, the MacLeod which has sharper contract in larger block, breaking up the outline, was harder to spot. The human eye-brain combination is pre-programmed to recognize certain shapes. That's why two dots and an arc :) are seen as a face, and stick drawing of just a few lines is seen as a person.
    Geoff Withnell

    "My comrades, they did never yield, for courage knows no bounds."
    No longer subject to reveille US Marine.

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  11. #66
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    Tartan in general will disrupt the silhouette of a person and provide some camouflage if the color scheme matches the outdoor setting. Tartan has been used by New England hunters for a very long time with this purpose in mind. The classic example is the Mackinaw jacket. Bear in mind that for historical military tactics, the muted color scheme would be necessary, but for deer hunting, bright colors of almost any shade except blue would work. Deer can see blue and this color “pops” in their vision, but they can’t discriminate what for people are other very vivid shades in the woodlands: red, orange, saffron, and so on.

    Waterfowl are another matter entirely. They see very well and you need every tool at your disposal to remain undetected. This is why turkey hunters will frequently disappear into facial paint and ghillie suits whereas buck hunters will wear blaze orange hats and black/orange camouflage.

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  13. #67
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    Stalker to 19C Campbell of Islay. Certainly well camoflaged.

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  15. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThistleDown View Post
    Stalker to 19C Campbell of Islay. Certainly well camoflaged.
    Findlay the Deerstalker. Brilliant photograph.

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  17. #69
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    Regarding the matter of camo vs. bright colored uniforms on the battlefield:

    In the 1700s-early 1800s, the main infantry weapon was the musket. These were not very accurate, had a very short range, and gave you one shot before a slow reloading process. So the best way to kill a worthwhile number of enemy soldiers was to line up your men shoulder to shoulder and have them all fire at once, to send a "wall of lead" towards your opponents, who were lined up to do the same to you. Camouflage would serve little purpose under such conditions.

    Well-trained soldiers could manage to get off three shots a minute, most were slower. When the enemy line is barely out of shouting distance, the 20-30 seconds it takes to reload is enough time for charging foes to reach you for hand-to-hand fighting. This is why bayonets were so important and why "musketeers" were known for their sword skills. A great deal of the fighting was done by hand at close range. A "Highland charge" would be an effective tactic under these conditions.

    The US Civil War was a turning point for this style of fighting. As rifling became widespread for cannons and soldiers' guns, range was radically extended, making it suicidal to charge into enemy positions (see Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg). At the same time, the ability to fire more shots and reload more quickly added to this effect. By the last part of the War in Petersburg, troops were essentially rehearsing the sort of trench warfare we associate with the Western Front in World War I. Concealment became a valuable tool.

    The battles of the '45 and earlier would have been fought as much by sword, bayonet, and dirk as by guns. So battlefield camo would have been pointless. The famous painting of Culloden certainly shows the two sides to be brightly arrayed and making no attempt to hide in bushes or trenchwork of any kind.

    However, as noted above, a tartan could help a hunter hide from his prey, or a fugitive to conceal himself in the woods from his pursuers. I'm sure there were Scots who took advantage of this fact quite frequently, although I doubt it was a specific goal of the tartan-weving process.

    The stuff about ghillie suits and shepherd's cloaks is quite interesting. I really appreciate the pictures.

    Andrew

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