Compound Bows photo
Dan Saelinger

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Photo by Dan Saelinger

With all due respect to today’s excellent camouflage patterns, you can’t beat a gillie suit for bowhunting whitetails and other game on ground level. It’s the next best thing to being invisible. Your biggest worry? A deer might step on your foot.

What a Gillie Suit is
A gillie suit is typically a strong mesh shell with hundreds of strips of burlap and differently colored materials sewn to it. Some suits are ponchos; others consist of a long jacket with pants or leggings. All of them include a head covering. You complete the vanishing act with camo gloves, boots, and a facemask.

How to customize your suit
Before you actually hunt, you need to customize the suit; specifically, use scissors to trim any loose strands that might catch on the bowstring. Put on the suit and shoot while standing, kneeling, and sitting, just as you would on a hunt. Draw the bow. A camo arm guard [1] helps keep some of the strands out of the way. Trim any material from the bow arm [2] and chest [3] that may interfere with a clean arrow release. Don’t forget to also check the head covering [4] to make sure no material obstructs your line of sight. You can’t kill a deer you can’t see. Since you trim material only from the underside of the arm and one side of the chest and head covering, this doesn’t hamper the overall effectiveness of the gillie suit.