To those who know me — both inside and outside of the hunting industry — I’d be considered a bit of a traditionalist. In fact, I think a complete traditionalist might be more accurate. To be frank, I don’t like change when there’s already something in place that I’m completely comfortable with. As a member of the outdoor media, that can sometimes present a problem when new products come across my desk for testing. It’s not that I won’t give them a fair shake — I certainly will — but I prefer to put new products through a true in-the-field test before designating them as the next best thing.
With that in mind, I was very excited when a box from Mossy Oak arrived at the office with my name on it in early-April. I had happily accepted an Oklahoma turkey-hunting invitation from the company earlier in the year and already knew exactly what the contents of the box were.
Bottomland camouflage — having originated in 1986 when Mossy Oak was born — is anything but new. But if you’ve really paid attention in recent years, the pattern is re-emerging in a big, big way. Why? Well, it’s honestly for no other reason than Mossy Oak’s large and loyal following keeping the pattern alive for all these years. Simply put, they’ve never stopped wearing it, and now they won’t have to with the company’s most recent push to keep Bottomland on clothing, guns, bows and pretty much anything else you’d like to have it on. So, what you essentially have is an old-school turkey pattern combined with the hunting tools of 2019.
Count me in!
And now for the million-dollar question — is it effective in the field, or do the more modern patterns have a distinct advantage? Well, that question was answered for me on the second evening of our hunt in the Sooner State. Myself and another outdoor writer were teamed up not far from where we expected a flock of turkeys to roost that evening. We’d backed in to a downed tree with a pair of Avian-X decoys out in the field in front of us — a perfect ambush scenario as the hours would begin to drift toward evening. The only problem was that we would be a bit exposed until the sun started getting lower on the horizon — and sure enough, a trio of hens showed up headed directly for us. Knowing we were sitting ducks against the keen eyesight of Rio Grande turkeys, there was nothing for us to do but freeze and hope for the best. Unbelievably, the lead hen didn’t retreat until she was six yards from me — and did so casually even then. To me, there will never be a better test performed on a camouflage pattern than the one I’d just witnessed first-hand.
Mossy Oak claims Bottomland is designed to help you blend in naturally with dark environments in part by obscuring your outline. In the aforementioned scenario, it did exactly that. And for a guy that needs a product to prove its worth before I feel comfortable endorsing it, this is just what the doctor ordered!