When getting a shot depends on stealth, the scent of your detergent, the sound of your movements or the sight of you could destroy any hope of bagging a trophy.
"(Camouflage) is a necessity in bow hunting to get as close as you need to get," said Becca Nielsen, co-owner of Rocky Mountain Bowstrings in Meeker.
Jim Simos, owner of Cashway Distributors in Craig, said camouflage isn't important when distance isn't an issue -- such as when hunters are using rifles and high-powered scopes -- but that doesn't mean hunters won't wear camouflage under their blaze-orange vests.
"You've got to have camo when you're a (bow) hunter," Simos said.
Rifle hunters want camouflage just to wear camouflage, he said. Archers, on the other hand, need it.
"It does make a difference in archery hunting because you have to get so close," Simos said.
Rifle or muzzleloader hunters generally are required to wear 250 square inches of blaze orange while in the field, but that doesn't apply to bow hunters, who aren't required to wear any.
Without the blaze-orange requirement, bow hunters are free to disguise themselves as they desire.
The word camouflage generally brings green and gray patterned clothing to mind, but today's hunter needs to disguise himself in a way that makes him invisible to all an animal's senses -- sight, smell and sound -- and there are a variety of products available to do that.
Hunters wear camouflage to blend with natural surroundings, so different patterns and colors are used depending on what part of the country a hunter is in.
Patterns with titles such as mossy oak, real tree, wetlands or sage are created with specific backgrounds in mind. There is even white camouflage that masks hunters in the snow.
Sports stores generally carry camouflage tailored toward the scenery in their area.
"We really try to match your camo to where you're going," Nielsen said.
Northwest Colorado is so diverse in its scenery that almost any pattern will work and blend, Nielsen said.
"It just depends on where you're going to hunt," she said.
Although Simos said jackets and pants are the most popular camouflage items, they are just a fraction of what's available in the world of camouflage. Hunters can find gun cases, bows, arrows, backpacks, gloves, boots, bow tape, gun tape and face masks to hide nearly all evidence that they are predators lying in wait.
"Be particularly careful with your face, not just your body," Nielsen said.
If an animal sees a hunter's eyes, they recognize danger, she said.
Big-game animals easily can identify odors. A hunter who carefully disguises his or her body can be discovered by scent, making masking odor the second step in "total camouflage."
Sweat, soap and laundry detergent are some of the scents that identify hunters as human, but there are ways to cover smells.
Products available to disguise smell include body soap and laundry detergent that kill all scents, scent-free deodorant, boot wafers, specialized carbon-filtration clothï¿½--ï¿½--ing and natural deer and elk scents.
Other options, Simos said, include elk urine, doe urine and buck-in-rut urine.
"We have all kinds," he said. "These elk hunters really go the extra mile."
Depending on the setting, hunting from an elevated position gives hunters additional advantages in making sure their smells don't reach the noses of their prey, but it's not foolproof.
Simos said some hunters will spray the base of a tree stand with urine to disguise their smells and attract animals.