It used to be that “fashionable sportsman” was an oxymoron. The idea that a hunter or shooter could be comfortable and look good didn’t seem possible. Thankfully, those days are gone and, to the credit of modern designers working with technical fabrics and the best natural materials, outdoor clothing has become both functional and stylish.
Of course, performance remains key. If you’re cold, wet or in pain, you’re not going to tough it out in the field. If you’re uncomfortable, you’re likely to miss a shot when it’s presented. But is it unreasonable to want to wear your hunting clothes in public and not stand out like a sore thumb?
The current crop of outdoor gear—both clothing and accessories—should suit every wingshooter’s needs. Whether you’re hunting, shooting or traveling, the items on the following pages will allow you to not only perform better but also look good doing it.
Long live the fashionable sportsman.
The Early-Season Grouse Hunter
Few things are more challenging than early season grouse. Whether you’re in the North Woods or on the prairie, warm temperatures and lots of walking can test even the most hardcore hunter. Lightweight, breathable fabrics are the order of the day, but they also need to offer protection from briers and other stickers. And don’t forget to carry plenty of water . . . .
The Clay Shooter
The last thing you want to do is miss a target because you’re uncomfortable. That’s why range wear needs to fit right and offer freedom of movement. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with looking good either. If you’re judged by appearances, you might as well psych out the competition.
The Late-Season Pheasant Shooter
By the time the temperature drops and the snow falls, pheasants have advanced degrees in survival. Hunters need to prepare for long days, many miles and battling the elements. Those who keep at it are often rewarded with heavy game bags—and the satisfaction of having beaten roosters on their terms.
When traveling, you never know what the day is going to bring. Delays, missed flights, surprise upgrades to first class (yeah, right) . . . . Being prepared, comfortable and organized can only help your trip go more smoothly.
The Driven Shooter
Driven shooting is steeped in tradition. Read: There are certain ways of doing things. This includes dressing. The outfit may feel awkward at first, but there is logic behind it. And even if you can’t hit the high ones, at least you can look good trying.