Back in 1960 when I began hunting whitetails with a bow, few hunting aids were available to help keep archers from being identified by deer short distances away (within accurate no-sight bow range). Portable tree stands were unknown then, camo clothing could only be found in war surplus stores and about the only thing available for covering the bright skin of our faces was burnt cork—applied by rubbing the burnt end of a cork on our faces (yes, more than anyone back then, us archers knew we needed to do this). Being an avid brook trout angler, it finally occurred to me that the olive-colored mosquito net I was forced to wear while threading my way through the alders bordering my favorite trout stream would make a great head covering for deer hunting. Right from the outset I was astonished by how well it worked. Time after time, nearby whitetails (and black bears) as close as 10 feet away glanced directly at me without showing the least bit of recognition or alarm.
Today while hunting whitetails, fall or winter, I carry two camo head nets, one with a horizontal eye-hole and one with no eye-hole. I personally prefer them over camo face masks because they also cover my neck and on a frigid November morning with no wind, they seem to keep much of my body heat inside, eliminating the need for ear coverings. I wear the one with the eyehole most of the time, rolled up beneath my hat or cap brim while hiking and pulled down over my face and neck the moment I sit down to begin stand hunting. While my head net is down in cold weather, my breath sometimes steams up my glasses. To halt this, I pull the lower edge of my eye-hole down beneath the tip of my nose. This does not seem to change its effectiveness. Whenever I find myself facing bright sunlight (not having a dark shadow cast by a tree across my face), to keep my glasses from reflecting sunlight toward deer out in front of me, I wear my no eye-hole head net. The dark netting does not hamper my sighting with a rifle or bow. Inside both head nets is an elastic band, which keeps them tight enough against my face to keep them from accidently tangling with my bowstring when releasing an arrow. That’s a comfort.
Like I said above, my head nets are pure magic. Because they cover the one part of my body most likely to be spotted and identified by a nearby deer (sticking up above the dense natural cover that normally hides the rest of my body while seated on my stool, they’ve improved my stand hunting success (and whitetail, bear and wolf studies) so much that I wouldn’t dream of heading afield without them.