Hunting Migratory Birds: Our Best Tips For Dressing Well

Hunting migratory birds is a unique discipline that is attracting more and more enthusiasts in Quebec. In order to get started in a practical and efficient way, eric Martineau, manager of the hunting and fishing departments at the SAIL store in Laval, gives you his best advice on how to dress and camouflage yourself properly.

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about what equipment to wear when hunting migratory birds.

  • Why camouflage well when hunting migratory birds?
  • What type of camouflage to adopt for hunting migratory birds?
  • What clothes to choose for hunting migratory birds?
    • Undergarments
    • coat and pants
    • Gloves, tuque, balaclava
    • Socks
    • Boots

1. Why camouflage well when hunting migratory birds?

Ducks, Canada geese and especially snow geese are very suspicious species. Éric Martineau points out that these birds are now said to be “educated” and that they have learned to spot hunters. Hence the importance of perfect staging and thoughtful camouflage to lure your prey.

Despite their two-dimensional sight, the three species mentioned above possess a keen sense of observation. Most of the time, these birds make several reconnaissance turns before feeling confident enough to land near callers. In order to avoid being spotted when they approach, it is important to avoid exposing your skin and eyes to the gaze of birds as much as possible. Skin color stands out tremendously in a natural and/or camouflage environment. This is why it is recommended to cover your head with a balaclava and apply makeup designed for hunting migratory birds to your face. Note that the sense of smell has no impact for this type of hunting.

On the other hand, speaking of hearing, birds are endowed with extremely sensitive ears. When they are approaching, it is essential to remain silent… while enjoying the show!

Older birds will be the hardest to outsmart, as they have gained a lot of experience over the years. They will prevent the youngest from making mistakes and coming to rest if the slightest danger is detected.

2. What type of camouflage to adopt for hunting migratory birds?

For hunting migratory birds, only one type of camouflage is recommended. From the beginning to the end of the season, expert Éric Martineau recommends the Realtree Max-5 pattern.

What type of camouflage to adopt for hunting migratory birds?

It is also possible to go hunting using natural colors like khaki, brown and dark green. It is simply necessary to avoid artificial colors not present in nature such as blue or red.

In winter, if you hunt in the open, it is very important to wear white to confuse you in the snow. The ideal is then to opt for a protective suit of the Tyvek® type.

3. What clothes to choose for hunting migratory birds?

As with all outdoor activities, the multi-layer system is preferred. This one consists of good breathable underwear in a material that wicks away sweat while preventing you from getting cold when you are resting or waiting for the birds. Merino wool is particularly recommended for this. On top of that, you can add an intermediate layer which will give you more warmth if needed.


coat and pants

Choose a versatile jacket and pant set that can protect you from the elements (rain, wind, snow) throughout the hunting season. Éric Martineau recommends equipping yourself with a 3-in-1 coat consisting of a waterproof-breathable shell and an insulated lining that can be worn separately or together for maximum warmth.

coat and pants

For the pants, it is important to choose a waterproof and comfortable model, in a material that does not make too much noise so as not to be detected when you are in motion.

coat and pants

The brands Connec as well as Browning and our house brand SAIL offer interesting models of versatile coats and trousers.

Gloves, tuque, balaclava

As mentioned above, it is very important not to leave your skin exposed so as not to arouse the suspicions of birds when spotting them. To do this, cover your hands with gloves and your head with a camouflage toque or balaclava such as Realtree Max-5 or natural colors. Some hunters like mitten type gloves (without the fingertips) to increase their dexterity.


As with underwear, the preferred material for socks is merino wool, which wicks away perspiration while remaining very warm.


Eric Martineau is particularly fond of neoprene water boots. They offer excellent thermal insulation while guaranteeing to keep your feet dry (and therefore warm) during rainy or muddy outings.


The brands Baffin, LaCrosse or even Bogs have several interesting models of neoprene boots. Try several to choose the ones you are most comfortable in. Gaiters can also add warmth and waterproofing to your legs and feet.

Pro tips

  • Hunting migratory birds involves being stationary for a certain amount of time (several minutes to a few hours). Bet on the heat to get dressed.
  • Note that it is not necessary to wear an orange bib for hunting migratory birds, because most of the time you are hiding in a cache.
  • Choose clothes with lots of pockets to store all your essentials, but avoid noisy velcro closures that could get you spotted.

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