Strafford Family Invents New Hunting Camouflage

  • Barrie North, left, and Peter North, right, a father-son duo from Strafford, Vt., talk in the woods behind their home on Thursday while sporting their new invention, See3D, a 3D leafy camouflage suit that incorporates a traditional pattern with blaze orange. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Barrie and Peter North, a father-son duo from Strafford, Vt., enter the woods behind their Strafford home on May 4, 2017. The pair is wearing their new invention, See3D, a 3D leafy camouflage suit that incorporates a traditional pattern with blaze orange. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News — Jennifer Hauck

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 5/6/2017 12:08:24 AM
Modified: 5/6/2017 1:23:33 PM

Strafford — Safety is the name of the game.

That’s why a father-son hunting duo from Strafford thought long and hard last November about the best way to stay visible to other hunters.

At the time, Barrie North and his son, Peter, were both suited up in 3-D camouflage suits — with leafy fabric — and wore blaze orange vests over them, a color that deer seemingly can’t see. The perfect combo, many think. But there’s more to it.

“Even though the deer are colorblind, the big blocks of orange don’t break up your outline very much,” said Barrie North, 47, who teaches biology at The Sharon Academy.

So, North and Peter, 14, went home and did some research. They figured they’d purchase some 3-D camouflage suits with orange integrated into them.

The search bar came back with zero results.

“No one had ever done it before,” Peter said.

“We were fully expecting, ‘Hey, you can buy 10 of these off Amazon,’ ” his father said.

Soon after, what they are calling “See3D” was born: a two-piece 3-D camouflage suit that combines a leafy camo pattern with blaze orange.

The idea? The suit makes hunters more visible to other people in the woods while making them less visible to deer, the best of both worlds, the Norths contend.

The pair have filed for a provisional patent on the product and hope to hit the manufacturing line later this month. They plan to order between 300 and 400 of the lightweight mesh suits, 100 of which already have buyers. They are planning on a $79 price tag, with an early bird special of $69.

“In Vermont, many people don’t wear (orange),” Barrie North said. “We are hoping (See3D) will encourage it.”

Being Seen

In the Norths’ home state of Vermont, wearing blaze orange is not required, but it is highly recommended, and the same goes for New Hampshire.

Wearing it is something that is taught in both states’ hunter education courses, a mandatory class for first-time hunters wishing to obtain a license.

“We preach that blaze orange is seven times safer for hunters to wear in the woods,” said Nicole Meier, a hunter education specialist in Vermont.

The Vermont Legislature made hunter education mandatory in 1975, and ever since, the state has seen a decrease in hunting-related shootings, Meier said.

In the 1940s and 1950s, she said, there were between 40 and 50 such incidents per year. In 1973, the state averaged 15 to 20 incidents, and then, in the year after the law took effect, the state saw only four hunting-related shootings.

Although there hasn’t been a hunting-related fatality in Vermont since 2011, there were seven hunting-related accidents last year, Meier said, most of them self-inflicted.

Although Vermont and New Hampshire don’t require hunters to wear blaze orange, other New England states do.

For example, hunters in Massachusetts are required to wear a minimum of 500 square inches of blaze orange. Barrie North’s calculation is that his suit, which is about 30 percent orange, is a total of 540 square inches, so it would fit the requirement in that state.

In Maine, however, it wouldn’t. Though it varies with the type of shot, Maine requires hunters using muzzleloaders, for example, to wear two articles of blaze orange: a solid-colored hat and another piece of clothing that covers a major portion of the torso, and it must be a minimum of 50 percent orange.

Blaze or hunter orange is often the color most talked about because deer are dichromatic, meaning “they have only two types of cones, lacking the cone that’s sensitive to longer wavelengths such as red and orange,” according to an article on the Outdoor Channel website.

“It doesn’t mean deer don’t see red and orange hues, only that they perceive the colors differently, likely the same way as a colorblind person,” the website says.

Matt Staser, a hunter and blogger from Illinois who reviews gear, said he has seen other 2-D camo patterns on the market that incorporate orange but nothing like the Norths’.

Though he hasn’t reviewed the Norths’ product, he is familiar with it.

“The concept is good,” Staser said.

Just how well it will stack up with a competitor’s product isn’t yet clear; the concept is very new.

“I believe it will work just as good as any other camo of the same build design as far as hiding from most wild game,” said Staser, who has conferred with the Norths about their product. “The orange, which is visible to humans, will help keep a hunter safer in the woods as well. ... I don’t know how far it can be seen compared to a solid orange vest or how noticeable it will be to others.”

A Learning Experience

Diving into something new isn’t exactly an unfamiliar concept to the North family.

Last year, Barrie North, who is from the United Kingdom, and his wife, Sarah, quit their day jobs, hopped into a 200-square-foot sailboat with their three boys and sailed around the Caribbean for a year.

Perhaps starting a business from the ground up seems relatively mild compared to that. Regardless, their children have been immersed in several types of learning. And Barrie North has made it a point to involve Peter in all aspects of See3D.

“A lot of Vermonters own small businesses and it is not something that is taught in schools,” the elder North said.

“It is interesting to see all of the components that go into this,” Peter North said.

One thing it has taught him, he said, is how complicated starting a business can be.

“There are all sorts of things that you have to do,” Peter North said, “and there is always going to be the bigger guy, and you have to be careful with that.”

Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at jcuddemi@vnews.com or 603-727-3248.






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