The ATV hunting market has always been most easily but superficially defined by camouflage equipment, and the numbers and types of camo quads and gear are soaring. Several ATV manufacturers are now using multiple camouflage patterns to meet differing geographic and seasonal needs.
For 2006, Kawasaki is offering two distinct camo patterns including the only one designed specifically for cold weather use. “We began our camouflaged product line some years ago with Advantage Classic,” explains ATV Product Manager Vincent Iorio, “then switched to Realtree Hardwoods Green HD™ for the entire line, then added Realtree Hardwoods Snow to our flagship ATV, the Brute Force 750 4X4i. The primary reason we added…Snow is to give hunters and others who want a camouflaged ATV a choice. There aren't that many new or unique camouflage patterns in the market and we feel Realtree Hardwoods Snow is a very unique pattern that looks great on a vehicle and is truly useful to a hunter. All big game hunting in the U.S. that takes place on public lands happens in the colder months of the year, often with ice and snow on the ground, and Realtree Hardwoods Snow fits in with that condition.”
“Hardwoods Snow has obvious application in white oak stands of the northeast, cottonwood bottoms of the midwest, flooded timber of the Central Flyway, or oak brush of the Rocky Mountain range,” Iorio said. “The pattern is extremely versatile. Many hunters find it unbeatable in rocky terrain. Realtree Hardwoods Snow also hides well in any snow covered terrain.”
Yamaha is also using multiple patterns, with Realtree Hardwoods camo as an option on its new Rhino Exploring Edition side-by-side two-seater, the new Kodiak 450 Outdoorsman Editions, and the new Grizzly 660 Outdoorsman and Hunting Editions. The Grizzly Hunting Edition is also available in a Ducks Unlimited Advantage Max-4 variant.
Arctic Cat offers a plethora of camo choices including Advantage Hardwoods, Wetlands, and Timber camo kits with fender and seat covers for most full-sized Cat quads. They also offer Advantage Max-4 HD camouflage that is directly immersed into the plastic for improved durability on their 400 and 500 models.
Suzuki has also chosen Advantage Max-4 HD camouflage, offering it as an option on their Eiger 4X4 gear and automatic, Vinson 4X4 gear, and now for 2006, on their flagship King Quad.
Advantage Max-4 HD camouflage is a very versatile pattern designed by Bill Jordan for maximum effectiveness in open terrain without geographic limitations. The pattern incorporates cattails, millet, milo, corn stalks, sunflowers, oak and maple leaves, cedar and oak timbers, and a variety of other plant life into the most diverse camo artwork available. This makes it suitable for everything from marshes to grasslands to crop lands, and even in desert conditions for western big game hunting.
Meanwhile, Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) has gone with Realtree Advantage Timber on its Outlander 400 H.O. and new-for-2006 Outlander 800 H.O. twin. Timber offers lifelike color reproduction, unmatched definition, exceptional contrast, and improved three-dimensional effects. Its wide range of leaf colors insures effectiveness across a great variety of habitats. It is recommended for deer and turkey hunting, duck hunting in flooded timber, and elk hunting in dark timber conditions.
Mossy Oak Break-Up camouflage continues to be very popular across the ATV industry, too. Polaris is using the new version of Break-Up on their Sportsman 500 EFI camo, a model aimed squarely at hunters. The camouflage artwork is bonded to the quad body to provide outstanding durability. This new version of Break-Up takes the concept of incorporating shadows into camouflage to a new level. An all-dark bark background is layered with what Mossy Oak calls ghost shadows to mimic the shading caused by branches and leaves. The new version then incorporates an array of elements that reproduce bark, limbs, and leaves more realistically than before. The result is a three-dimensional illusion that is very realistic and well suited to woodland or brush settings.
Of course, most accessories designed for hunting or shooting sports are also offered in camo. Many companies, including Arctic Cat, Suzuki, and Moose Utility Division (M.U.D.) of Parts Unlimited also continue to use Break-Up for carry bags and other accessories. Arctic is also using Realtree patterns on some soft bags and Hardwoods on a weather-resistant hard cargo box for their proprietary Speed Rack system. Their unique Speed Rack Rapid Blind is available in both Break-Up and Mossy Oak Shadow Grass variants.
If nothing else, the increasing number of camo quad models on the market, and new or more widely available patterns, are giving hunters a greater choice than ever before.
- Dave Wells