The archery range is a great hangout. Not only do I go there to sharpen accuracy, but the guys that hang around an archery shop on a regular basis are usually well versed on what is going on in the industry as well.
The main topic of conversation was how the industry has seen a sharp shift to cater to the western hunter with gear that is designed more towards high exertion activity and breathability rather than warmth. Granted, I do not think that this would have been the same topic of conversation if I had been standing in an archery shop in Colorado or Montana, but I found it interesting that two hunters, who as far as I could tell were exclusively whitetail hunters, did not favor the market shift towards extreme western wear. So I figured it was a good time to gain a bit of consumer knowledge.
My first question to them was whether they favored breathability or windproof-ness in the apparel they wore. As whitetail hunters, both responded that they preferred gear that was windproof. Logically, my next question was, why? A whitetail hunter does not have the same physical exertion as an individual on a pack in elk hunt or goat hunt. The whitetail hunter needs to limit perspiration to and from the stand but outside of that requires outerwear that is warm and windproof. He went on to say that being cold was probably the single greatest reason that he would end a hunt early.
Now, this conversation does not represent the whitetail hunting community as a whole, but I did find it interesting, and to an extent, I agree. For me, the most important factor in outdoor apparel is its ability to manage moisture but also retain heat. Being predominantly a midwestern whitetail hunter, I know that wind has a significant influence on the length of time I spend in the stand. A 15 mph November wind has sent me packing (from the stand) more than any other condition I can remember. Being cold sucks, period.
We briefly touched on camo patterns and I found a split in opinion. At this point, 4 expert archers/hunting aficionados (yes this is a bit of a stretch) were bantering back and forth. Myself and expert #1 felt that break up patterns similar to Deadfall or ASAT had a greater impact on hunter concealment while expert #2 thought that photo realism patterns were more efficient. The shop owner (expert #4) felt that camo had little impact on concealment. His thoughts were that if you stay still and always play the wind, camouflage does not benefit the hunter all that much. Granted, he was a Canadian and through past conversations, I have concluded that Canadians, in general, have less faith in camo effectiveness. With that being said some of the best hunters I have ever met are in fact transplants from our neighbors to the north.
My manufacturing costs are 3-4 times higher than many of my big box competitors that manufacture in China, India or Mexico, but this is what a quality garment requires....Quality equipment at an affordable price.