The Chickamauga creek empties into the Tennessee River on the western side of the Chickamauga dam and 8 or 10 miles up that creek was my stomping grounds. It was where the creek splintered into a strange kind of delta with small sand bars everywhere. The small branches of the creek in this area were in most places only 4 or 5 feet wide. You could jump from sand bar to sand bar without getting wet. This was where I hunted a lot as a teenager in the 1980s. The tree cover is so dense in this area that it was always dark. Even in late fall and winter, the evergreen canopy blocked out the light and kept the woods in shadow. It was here that I first learned how important good camouflage was.
In the mid-1980s the selection of camouflage hunting clothing was dreadful. Most of what was available were goofy splotches meant to ape military woodland camouflage. The problem was that it had colors that were too light or too bright for where I was hunting. Light green and tan stood out like a sore thumb in my delta. This all changed when my father brought home a pair of camouflage coveralls in a brand-new pattern called Mossy Oak Bottomland. They looked like nothing I had ever seen. The darker colors that mimicked the soil and tree bark were perfect for my secret hunting spot. The problem was that the coveralls weren’t for me. My dad had bought them for himself. In those days my dad worked 6 or 7 days a week so “borrowing” his new coveralls was fairly easy.
The Bottomland Camouflage made a big difference. Its funny that I had never really given camouflage much thought. The first trip out with the Bottomland coveralls a doe walked right under my stand. That fall I hunted almost exclusively in the Bottomland coveralls. The deer that were cautious before didn’t see me at all now. Hunting got a bit easier that fall until my dad demanded his coveralls back. Under his strong suggestion, I purchased my own Bottomland camouflage coveralls.
My secret hunting spot was mine for a couple more years until I grew up moved out on my own. I’ll never forget the feeling of being able to virtually disappear in my tree stand on a small knoll overlooking my delta. Every day there was a good day. I had everything I needed. It was me with my bow and the power of invisibility.
This year we are excited that Mossy Oak is re-releasing Bottomland Camouflage. Bottomland Camouflage has been a time-tested pattern for over 30 years and has been used with great success. This pattern is perfect for those who are seeking a more subdued pattern for blending in to darker environments. Using a mixture of varying shades of brown to mimic dirt and bark, it is perfect for any hunter who prefers to lay and wait for his prey.
– Andy Merciers