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Thread: Boat Color: Relevant to float hunting?

  1. #1
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    Default Boat Color: Relevant to float hunting?

    This may come off as silly or trivial, but I'm curious if the color of the boat you use for a float hunt is relevant to chance of success?

    I'm planning a hunt this year from a Sq. Stern Grumman, but the boat is blue (like royal blue), and I'm concerned about that. However, I really don't want to go through the expense and time and work of stripping it and painting it. I'm wondering how much a non-natural color (say tan or green or camo, etc.) will impact my trip. From a duck hunting perspective, it's obvious, but do moose care what color my boat is? (Can moose even see color?)

  2. #2

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    I don't think the specific color really does much to moose, but likely a bright reflection might. I don't think your blue color would be any kind of issue, but if it was the normal silver aluminum coloring that might cause a bright reflection in the sun, then it might do something. I don't think moose see color, but they do pick out movement and large forms tend to stand out.

    Personally, I have not done much in the way of true "float hunting", but in my experience of floating rivers while hunting, only a small portion of game encounters actually happened while on the river itself. Usually it was when I got out of the boat to spot from a high point along the short. Usually, the animals would never see the boat unless I was packing their quarters to it.

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    [QUOTE=FL2AK-Old Town;1389514 (Can moose even see color?)[/QUOTE]

    Moose are not color blind they just do see the same color we do. I remember reading blue is a very bright color if your a moose.

    BTW, Mosquitoes are drawn to blue more than any other color.

    Anchskiek: Gave you some very good advice.

  4. #4

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    Again just my thoughts - I use black, dark green, or grey for my float hunting. Have guided float hunts for 35 years in Alaska and Siberia. A long time ago working on the my favorite arctic river, I was the first boat down in a black SOTAR, beached her and climbed a big hill to look for caribou and bear. Nothing seen, but when my partner came up in a yellow one a big grizzly saw it and took off. He had been asleep on the other bank, until the yellow one showed up. Know for sure my Chesy sees color from training him and feel sure bear do too. All of my personal rafts and pac-rafts are black. There is a reason that the Navy SEALS and other special ops boats are black.
    Goo
    Goo

  5. #5

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    I forgot to say -- with a black or grey boat you can put urethane spray paint, green, brown, black, ect. and make it camo. I did this with my old jeep and burlap bags over the windows to make a portable deer hunting blind and made a rack on top for my chair-- could see over the bamboo for deer hunting in Louisiana when I was a boy. Worked great!! Just clean your raft spray area with MEK before painting her.
    Good luck,
    Goo

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Couple of thoughts on yellow (it's the only color I have issues with). Looks great in photos, but it really stands out on the water. Because of the brightness in contrast with the gravel bar / vegetation, I think you're more easily spotted by game when you walk between the boat and a critter. Of course in the fall willows are yellow too... The second is that it seems to be a bug magnet. At least it seemed that way on my float hunts involving yellow boats.

    Another consideration is visibility from the air in a rescue situation. Lighter blue probably tops the list there, with purple and red close behind. Something to think about anyway.

    Mike
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    I am with Mike-- yellow does make great photos-- but also from some reason the bugs love it? Have had several colors blown up in my yard and they always go to the yellow? As for a lo-profile colors and air taxi pick up- I always have a blue costco tarp along any way. easy to spot.
    Safe boating,
    Goo

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    Quote Originally Posted by goeaux View Post
    I am with Mike-- yellow does make great photos-- but also from some reason the bugs love it? Have had several colors blown up in my yard and they always go to the yellow? As for a lo-profile colors and air taxi pick up- I always have a blue costco tarp along any way. easy to spot.
    Safe boating,
    Goo
    Ever wonder why so many flowering plants and veggies have yellow blossoms? It's to attract the bugs and the bees for pollination purposes.! I don't have any scientific fact to spout, jut MHO

  9. #9

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    Makes a lot of sense to me!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    Another consideration is visibility from the air in a rescue situation. Lighter blue probably tops the list there, with purple and red close behind. Something to think about anyway.

    Mike
    I had already decided, last winter, that if/when I painted it, I was going to paint the hull international safety orange, or at least a 1=2 ft wide strip down the center. At least they'll find the boat. (Or, if I'm still ambulatory after an accident, I can set off the PLB, flip the boat over on the beach, and wait.

    Quote Originally Posted by goeaux View Post
    Just clean your raft spray area with MEK before painting her.
    Good luck,
    Goo
    MEK is great stuff, but I have a hard sided, aluminum canoe, so I'll be working with paint stripper down to bare metal and then repainting. I', also considering just sticking some of that adhesive camo pattern stuff to the sides, as the blue paint has adhered really well. But you can see why I don't want to dive in to a total repaint. Lot of expense (stripper, primer, paint) and a lot of work.

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    You might consider adding a few 1 strip of reflector tape to the canoe so you can find it at night.

    BTW, Search & Rescue will be using night vision at night looking for a heat source. Having a fire can save your life.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGyver View Post
    You might consider adding a few 1 strip of reflector tape to the canoe so you can find it at night.

    BTW, Search & Rescue will be using night vision at night looking for a heat source. Having a fire can save your life.
    Without really planning it, I did almost the same thing. I used reflective boat registration numbers. They look normal during the day, but glow like crazy when seen by a headlamp or flashlight in the dark.

  13. #13

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    I'm not as knowledgable as others about float hunting, but I have floated quite a few rivers and I have used rafts on a number of occasions for hunting. I will give my two cents, for what it's worth. Also, I have never seen, floated in, or floated in a party with another hunter or group of hunters that had a raft that was yellow. That being said, my general experience with rafts and big game animals in general is as follows. For whatever reason, big game (moose, caribou, and bears) don't seem too alarmed by a boat if at all. I have shot moose and bears while slowly drifting down a river. I have called moose right down to the river and they just stared at me in the boat. I have also drifted right past moose, caribou and bears while hunting and all they usually do is just stare and watch you float by. That is of course, unless you are talking or loading your rifle for a shot. Then they sometimes get spooky. But if you are just sitting still and watching them, they don't seem very alarmed in my opinion. Once my buddy stopped along the river while we were hunting to take a leak. I pulled over my boat just slightly downriver from his location. While he was taking a leak, a small herd of caribou came over a hill and started walking our way. They soon spotted him and ran downstream to cross the river. While I sat in full view right in my boat very still, they swam across the river not more than 10 feet away from me and my boat. I doubt they ever knew I was there, but if they did, they showed zero concern. Now, if the your wind is going downriver (which it tends to do in the morning and evening hours from my experience), then if they catch your wind, they will most likely spook. But, if the wind is going upriver (like it often does in the daytime), or if the wind is still, then it has been my experience they don't spook.

    On a side note, one good thing I would say about having a bright colored boat (say red or light blue) is that it is easier to spot when you are out of your boat and away from the river. Which can come in handy if you lose your bearings. I usually mark my location on my GPS whenever I stop and get out to explore or put on a stalk. But, it does come in handy to have a bright colored boat to quickly find your waypoint and go straight back to the boat sometimes, or just in case you lose your GPS or your batteries die on you.

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    I'd have thought Mike would have said the best raft color is "Purple".

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    I personally wouldn't be worried about it al all

  16. #16

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    Maybe in the summer a yellow boat attracts insects, especially bees...but in the fall check out the entire corridor along most rivers in Alaska. Yellow, orange, reds and brown dominate during fall periods when deciduous leaves turn. We have put the smack down on moose and caribou while using yellow rafts.

    Profiles and movement are more concerning than raft colors, IMO. Pull a yellow boat up next to a fall-pattern willow or dwarfed birch/aspen and it blends in better than a blue boat.

    Being concerned about boat color is like worrying about whether the hunters must wear camo clothing while hunting moose or caribou. It just doesn't matter as much as hunting skills.

    BUT...if you're duck hunting, a yellow boat would not be prudent unless you can conceal that bad boy under something camo.

    LB

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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Bartlett View Post
    Maybe in the summer a yellow boat attracts insects, especially bees...but in the fall check out the entire corridor along most rivers in Alaska. Yellow, orange, reds and brown dominate during fall periods when deciduous leaves turn. We have put the smack down on moose and caribou while using yellow rafts.

    Profiles and movement are more concerning than raft colors, IMO. Pull a yellow boat up next to a fall-pattern willow or dwarfed birch/aspen and it blends in better than a blue boat.

    Being concerned about boat color is like worrying about whether the hunters must wear camo clothing while hunting moose or caribou. It just doesn't matter as much as hunting skills.

    BUT...if you're duck hunting, a yellow boat would not be prudent unless you can conceal that bad boy under something camo.

    LB
    Duck hunting is one of the several activities I plan to use the boat for. (Others include dipnetting, fishing, camping) Because of that, I've decided to paint the boat, but I'm thinking of just painting it a solid flat tan, and then building a brush blind for it, rather than try to create some camo pattern for it. That would give me a solid color boat for moose hunting in the fall.

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