My thirteen year old son and his friends have been playing the all popular outdoor Manhunt Game for a couple of years now. Manhunt is the teenage version of hide-n-seek or kick-the-can (for those of you who can remember) with teams of players. One team protects the base and the other team attempts to get back to base without getting caught. They have developed complex strategies. They prefer to play in the evening and sometimes they use flashlights. Well we have watched our weekly Man-Hunt game evolve from 6 to sometimes 30 players. The yard plus the adjacent neighbors is no longer sufficient. They have moved to the local Recreation Center that offers a small woodsy area with Florida natural terrain in which to hide. Oak and Saw Palmetto bushes abundant.
Well now it is time to take this Man-Hunt to the next level. My son decided that he wanted a Ghillie Suit for the next match. We drive down to the army-navy surplus store to pick up some netting that is used for camouflaging in the army. We had two panels cut. One is the under layer with a hole for his head. This drape around his shoulder and covers his arms. The other panel was the outer panel in which the art of camouflage was needed. We picked up some Jute to add that all natural color and some brown and green string at a local craft store. The string had the thickness and the consistency of a shoelace. Because we are in Florida, we felt that Spanish moss was a must. We also supplemented with some green and brown died mossed that we interspersed throughout the netting. Lastly we needed some natural foliage. I told my son to go find something out back. He needs to think this through. He knows the terrain in which he is trying to hide and he should make the Ghillie suit mimic the natural surroundings in which he plans to hide. He made me proud! He came back with two saw palmetto branches. One was dead and one was green. Perfect..those are EVERYWHERE in Florida and the imperfect branches made it more natural. We randomly attached our moss and palmetto leaves with the natural looking Jute string until the net was sufficiently covered. It is recommended that you roll around in the dirt and leaves to give it that natural rugged look. It is also more effective if you wearbrown, green, or camouflage clothing underneath the suit
Now we are satisfied with the Ghillie suit and it is time to put it to the test. “Momma, I am going to hide you need to come and find me.” Off into the woods he went. A few minutes later I went looking for him. I may have over looked him the first two times..but the red shorts caught my eye eventually! “I see you honey. That looks really good!”
The whole project may have cost just under $40 and two hours to create it. Money and time well spent to satisfy the imagination of a child! If the Ghille suit lasts, you may even be able to use it as a Halloween Costume. Wouldn’t you have FUN wearing that to the office!
History: The Scottish game keepers were the first to create the Ghillie suit to allow them to hunt blind (hunting with a cover device so as not to be detected). Their nickname was the Ghillies: hence the name Ghillie suit. They originally used strips of burlap tied to their clothing to hide them. Lovat Scouts, a Scottish Highland regiment formed by the British Army during the Second Boer War, is the first known military unit to use ghillie suits. In 1916, this allowed the beginnings of the first sniper unit. Now Ghillie suits are a standard part of the army camouflage tactics.