Lightweight Ghillie Extreme Series
Ive discovered the Cloak of
Invisibility! Thats not what the Cabelas catalog calls it, but the name works
for me. Id tried on a military-style ghillie suit several years ago. Wearing the
suit, I could merge into my surroundings simply by sitting down. Generations of U.S. Army
and Marine snipers have relied on these suits to keep hidden from sharp-eyed
countersnipers. The suits really work I cant imagine more effective
Unfortunately, garments made of multilayered
burlap are too heavy, bulky and hot to wear in most hunting situations. Burlap strips
hanging before your eyes also limit sideways vision. I gave up on ghillie suits as a bad
A few months ago I was invited to hunt
black-buck antelope on a Texas ranch. These animals are extremely wary, I was
told. Theyre far more difficult to approach than western pronghorn. Be
prepared for long-distance shooting.
Ive never considered pronghorn terribly
difficult to hunt. Ive killed several at ranges well shy of 200 yards, and two were
barely 35 yards away. Black-buck antelope may be harder to stalk, but I still wanted to
get as close as possible before shooting. Question was, how to do it without
belly-crawling across a quarter-mile or more of open, prickly pear-studded terrain. Been
there, done that, and didnt need another T-shirt.
By pure chance, I was thumbing through
Cabelas catalog and came across Cabelas Lightweight Ghillie Extreme Series
camouflage. Unlike the ghillie suit Id once briefly tried, this suit is made of
lightweight, breathable polyester mesh. A scent-absorbing Scent-Lok lining was optional.
This series is dramatically lighter than
traditional ghillie clothing, the catalog promised, adding that the fit is
similar to standard hunting garments, and the suit wont weigh you
down or trap unwanted heat. The suits were available in Mossy Oak New Break-Up or
The outfit I ordered consisted of a pair of
pants with long zippers in each leg to allow the pants to be put on over heavy boots, a
zip-front jacket, a boonie hood to fully cover the head and the back of the neck, and a
face mask in matching Mossy Oak New Break-Up camo. Chest-high bib overalls were also
I tried the new ghillie suit on as soon as it
arrived and found it to be just as advertised lightweight and easy to wear. It went
with me to Texas.
Before daylight the first morning, the guide
dropped me off on the edge of a huge field virtually barren of cover. As the sun rose
behind me, I spotted two different bands of black-buck feeding 600 yards away. I sat tight
and hoped they would wander closer. An hour later this hadnt happened, so I decided
to give my ghillie suit the acid test. The antelope had bedded down for a midmorning nap
500 yards away in the middle of the field. Aside from the ghillie suit, my only cover was
a thin screen of bare-branched trees. I could see the animals clearly through the trees. I
was equally visible to them.
Standing erect, I slouched toward the resting
antelope, pausing every 20 yards or so, pretending to be just another bush. To my growing
astonishment, the black-buck paid me absolutely no attention. Apparently a wandering
bush didnt worry them. Lacking a bipedal man-shaped appearance, I was able to
shamble up to the skeletal cluster of trees to within 100 yards of the antelope. It was
like trying to hide behind a pair of soda straws. Essentially, Id been in plain view
throughout my stalk, which was really more of a stroll. Whats more, I
didnt even work up a sweat in the lightweight suit.
Lowering myself to a sitting position, I
scooted sideways until the trees no longer screened me. I was seated on bare ground not 90
yards from the bedded buck, who didnt give me a single curious glance. I sat there a
good 10 minutes, raising the binocular, lowering it, then unlimbering the Steady-Stix
bipod to rest the rifle on. Even these movements didnt alarm them. When I decided to
rouse the herd to its feet, it took three long, drawn-out whistles to do the job. I
didnt shoot the lone immature buck I could see, but the ghillie suit had done a
remarkable job of getting me within virtually point-blank rifle range.
The following day I plopped myself down on
open ground 40 yards from a feeder. Within an hour a half-dozen whitetail showed up,
including a gorgeous 8-point buck. Lacking a deer license, I was forced to hold my fire.
No black-buck put in an appearance, but I had deer saunter past not 20 yards away. After
all, I was wearing the Cloak of Invisibility.
Lightweight Ghillie Extreme Series camouflage
(my complete outfit cost just under $200) is available from Cabelas, Dept. SH, 400
E. Avenue A, Oshkosh NE 69190; telephone toll-free: 1-800-237-4444; or visit online: www.cabelas.com.