Frequently Asked Questions
- About the pattern
- About the gear
About the pattern
How do you know how deer and other ungulates see?
W.L. Gore & Associates partnered with leading animal vision experts to develop the pattern. Researchers have been studying animal vision, including deer vision, for many years and have reached reliable scientific conclusions regarding how ungulates see both spatially and colorimetrically.
Can a deer really take a vision test?
Yes. Deer can take vision tests similar to those humans take. As deer can't verbalize what they see, researchers rely on behaviors to determine what the animal can and can't see. The animal is offered a food reward for correctly “seeing” a specific image and, for instance, traveling down the path marked with that image or touching that image on a computer screen. Researchers have also studied the biology and structure of the animals' eyes to reach their conclusions.
Why does the GORE™ OPTIFADE™ Concealment look so different from traditional camouflage patterns?
Most camouflage on the market today is mimicry camouflage. Mimicry patterns attempt to make the hunter resemble his environment. As you have no doubt noted, there are a variety of mimicry patterns designed to simulate various terrains and environments. GORE™ OPTIFADE™ Concealment represents an entirely new way of deceiving prey. It is a pattern based on the science of animal vision.
When trying to create a pattern to fool prey, concealment experts can manipulate the smallest elements of a computer-generated digital pattern, which can be as tiny as a few millimeters across, taking into account color and spatial frequency and forming micro and macro patterns that will successfully conceal the wearer.
In the case of GORE™ OPTIFADE™ Concealment, these factors were specifically optimized to fool the visual system of deer and other ungulates.
What do you mean by a micro pattern and a macro pattern? How will that make a difference for a hunter in the field?
In order to assess danger, an animal in the field essentially “asks” itself two questions—“Where is it?” and “What is it?”
With GORE™ OPTIFADE™ Concealment, the micro pattern considers the way a deer perceives color, the ratio of positive to negative space and other elements so that the hunter wearing the pattern blends in with his environment. The micro pattern makes it difficult for prey to answer the “where is it?” question.
A macro pattern—a larger pattern made up of clusters of smaller pixels—breaks up the symmetry of the human form, so that even if the animal locates the threat, it will not be able to identify the form as a hunter/predator. The macro pattern helps make it difficult for the prey to answer the "what is it?" question.
For a good example of how the combination of macro and micro pattern works, try to find the hunter in these photographs treated with deer vision.
Predators in the animal kingdom operate on the same macro and micro pattern principles. Stalking predators, like tigers, have a macro-pattern of stripes that break up their symmetry. Ambush predators, like leopards, have a micro-pattern of spots that allow them to blend with their environment as they await prey.
Humans both stalk and ambush when we hunt. And, unlike animals, we are not limited by our biology in creating concealment: we can use both macro and micro patterns to maximize our success. Interestingly, in nature, mimicry patterns like traditional camouflage are most often employed by prey—not by predators.
Is GORE™ OPTIFADE™ Concealment the same as military concealment patterns?
Like military camouflage, GORE™ OPTIFADE™ Concealment is a computer-generated digital pattern, consisting of a collection of colored pixels. However, GORE™ OPTIFADE™ Concealment has been optimized to fool ungulate vision, not human vision.
What scientists and experts were involved in the development of GORE™ OPTIFADE™ Concealment?
W.L. Gore & Associates believes in using the best possible scientific resources in our product development process. In addition to our experienced research and development team at W.L. Gore & Associates, the following experts contributed to the development of GORE™ OPTIFADE™ Concealment:
- Lt. Col. Tim O'Neill, Ph.D. is referenced by many as the “Father of Digital Camouflage.” His understanding of visual biophysics and human visual performance makes him the leading expert in the field of visual concealment. He currently serves as a consultant to the United States Army, Marine Corps, FBI, and Bureau of Land Management.
- Jay Neitz, Ph.D., is currently a vision scientist at the University of Washington Medical School in Seattle. He was previously with the Medical College of Wisconsin. In studies funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH), Neitz trained animals to participate in vision tests that replicated human tests in order to assess their vision. He used the resulting data on animal vision—including color vision, field of vision and acuity—to judge how effective concealment patterns would be when used in the field. In developing the final pattern, we employed decades of deer vision research from Dr. Neitz' work and similar studies at the University of Georgia.
- Guy Cramer, the President/CEO of HyperStealth® Biotechnology Corp., provides the technical expertise to digitally produce patterns based on scientific input. Collaborating with Tim O'Neill, the pair has developed more than 1,000 digital camouflage patterns. A number of cell phone companies have also worked with Cramer to conceal cell towers throughout the U.S. and Canada.
If GORE™ OPTIFADE™ Concealment is based on animal vision and all ungulates see alike, why are there different patterns?
Ungulate vision is consistent across many species – for instance, elk and whitetail deer have virtually the same visual acuity and color sense. All GORE™ OPTIFADE™ Concealment patterns are effective in concealing a hunter from ungulate prey. However, we further optimize the each pattern by considering the style of hunting and the physical environment of the hunt.
Open Country is optimized for spot-and-stalk hunting in western mountain or open terrain environments. The new Forest pattern is optimized for tree stand hunting in a wooded environment.
What’s the difference between the Forest pattern and the Open Country pattern?
While the original Open Country pattern is optimized for spot and stalk hunting in western mountain environments, the new Forest pattern takes into account circumstances unique to tree stand hunting including:
- The elevated angle of attack common in tree stand hunting
- The vertical effect of trees, which can make detection of a hunter easier for the prey
- Closer engagement distances than those in open country hunting
For the GORE™ OPTIFADE™ Concealment Forest pattern, Gore has manipulated the micro and macro patterns to account for these differences. Gore has optimized the pattern contrast through shading and colorization to account for how deer see when looking up in a wooded environment.
Why is Forest so dark in color?
The pattern may look very dark to us, but keep in mind that deer have a different color sense than we do. They see most of the color spectrum in shades of gray. The Forest pattern has been optimized to make hunters blend with a wooded environment as seen by whitetail deer,(micro pattern) and break their symmetry (macro pattern).
Can I wear Open Country pattern to hunt whitetail in a forest environment?
Can I wear Forest pattern to hunt mule deer or elk in a mountain environment?
Because both GORE™ OPTIFADE™ Concealment patterns are based on the study of ungulate vision, gear featuring patterns will be extraordinarily effective in hunting hoofed animals in any environment.
However, at W.L. Gore & Associates, our aim is always to maximize a hunter’s chances for success in the field. Because we want to give hunters every possible advantage, we created different patterns that take into account differences in the field in order to make them most effective in specific situations.
In addition to featuring different patterns, the gear of our partners is also optimized for ultimate performance and improving your chance of success. Tree stand hunting often requires hunters to endure long sedentary periods in adverse conditions. Open country spot-and-stalk hunting can require greater maneuverability and lighter weight gear.
What’s the future of GORE™ OPTIFADE™ Concealment? Are there more new patterns to come?
We believe that concealment based on animal vision is the most scientifically sound visual concealment system for improving outcomes in the field. Therefore, W.L. Gore & Associates intends to continue to produce patterns based on the science of animal vision.
Our researchers and development team continue to consider patterns optimized for hunting different animal species as well as specific terrains and hunting styles.
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