Twenty years ago this fall, I had my first deer hunt. I dealt with the anticipation by reading, watching, and talking about everything that had to do with deer hunting. I was a real student of the game. I will never forget the morning of my first hunt. The young buck carelessly trotted into the field, which triggered my pounding heart. The 6-pointer immediately froze, stiffened up and took off like a brown bolt of lightning. My disappointment was intense. What did I do wrong? I was down wind. I was sitting still. I was camouflaged. I was silent. Most of all, I was baffled.
After talking to my dad, uncles, grandpa and hunting buddies, I came to the conclusion that sometimes animals have a keen “sixth sense” we cannot overcome. We all have stories about mysteriously getting busted for no apparent reason.
Recently, I was leafing through a catalog when a tiny photograph of a “human electromagnetic energy-blocking suit” caught my attention. A few questions popped into my head, and I had to learn more. After a brief search online and some fact checking, I was hooked. I had to learn more.
Every living animal generates electromagnetic energy. The heart and other muscles operate through a series of electrical impulses, and a magnetic “side current” is produced as a byproduct. Research suggests animals can sense the electromagnetic field (EMF) produced by other animals. In fact, there is no shortage of scientific evidence to back this up. The idea of animals sensing EMFs is not a “quack science” or a new idea. However, the idea of using special clothing to block EMFs is new to the hunting industry.
There is currently only one company, Human Energy Concealment Systems (HECS), selling energy-blocking suits. So, I contacted them. Owner Mike Slinkard spent a lot of time explaining how the product was developed. Through the HECS Web site (www.hecsllc.com), I was able to download a 2008 report by Theodore W. Netter from Oregon State University. Netter conducted various experiments on horses, cattle and wild mule deer using HECS suits. In a nutshell, his experiments showed that “using EMF blocking garments makes a human significantly less detectable to animals.”
An abundance of other research has been conducted regarding how animals react to EMFs. An article published in 2009 by the National Academy of Sciences showed that grazing deer and cattle generally align themselves with geomagnetic north and south. But when the animals encountered EMF created by high-tension power lines, their ability to align themselves was interrupted. “These findings constitute evidence for magnetic sensation in large mammals as well as evidence of an overt behavioral reaction to weak ELFs in vertebrates,” the study concluded.
Although it can be proven that mammals sense and react to EMFs, scientists aren’t sure exactly how. Sharks and some other fish have special organs specifically designed to pick up electromagnetic impulses, and many birds rely heavily on magnetic fields to guide their annual migrations. A corresponding mechanism has yet to be discovered in game animals such as deer and elk, but a popular theory is that some animals may perceive magnetic fields as visual patterns.
This could explain why there have been times when a shooter buck stepped out and my heart started pounding in my chest right as he wised up and made a memorable departure. I always thought those bucks had been spooked or joked they could hear my heart thumping. There is some truth to that. According to the research I read, it’s possible they sensed the increased EMF being given off from my body.
Much research has also been dedicated to blocking EMFs. The most popular way to block EMFs is by using a device called a Faraday cage — a precise grid made of conductive material that intercepts electromagnetic energy. The HECS suit is basically a carbon fiber Faraday cage sewn into clothing. The screenlike grid in the clothing captures your EMF and absorbs it. The grid works in the same manner as the grid on a microwave oven door.
In addition to blocking EMFs, HECS says its suit helps reduce human odors because it is 14-percent activated carbon. HECS garments also are soft, flexible and lightweight, making them ideal as an outer layer in the early season or under layer in colder conditions. The garments feature NEXT G-1 camo.
For years, hunters have heard about animals’ legendary sixth sense and how we’ll never be able to beat it. Maybe that’s no longer true. Could EMF-blocking clothing be the next big advancement in hunting apparel?