by Shawn Skipper
For as long as man has hunted beast, strides have been taken to conceal the hunter from his prey. What began with stringing together local flora and fauna to better hide oneself in a natural setting has become a multi-million dollar business in modern times. Though each hunter has his or her own preferences—regarding style, brand and even necessity—there's no denying that camouflage is more synonymous with hunting than any other product in the industry. Not every firearm owner is a hunter, and not every bow finds itself pointed at a whitetail, but you can safely assume that the guy decked out in a grasslands camo pattern is probably a hunter. In these last three decades, the camouflage industry has undergone an evolution of sorts, as technological advancements have allowed for more advanced patterns and designs than ever before. In that time, a handful of companies have established themselves as titans of the camo industry—among them, Mississippi-based Mossy Oak.
In its 30 odd years of existence, Mossy Oak has become one of the most respected names in the hunting and outdoor business, and for good reason. The company's patterns have helped revolutionize hunting-specific camouflage as a whole, and recognized by hunters and huntresses throughout the world. Product lines like "Obsession," "Shadow Grass Blades," "Break-Up Country" and "Treestand" have become brand names in their own right, furthering Mossy Oak's hold on the American hunter.
Despite the company's successes, it didn't become a staple overnight. And the road to 2016—Mossy Oak's 30th Anniversary—is chock full of stories worth telling. That's where I come in. Here are 10 things you didn't know about Mossy Oak.
10. Mossy Oak has long claimed to have to started with a "fistful of dirt." That's because its founder, Toxey Haas—a lifetime hunter and outdoorsman—took his initial inspiration from the dirt, leaves and twigs in the woods of his native Mississippi. He quite literally used what nature surrounded him with to create a camouflage pattern, and sought to have it printed.
9. It's said that Toxey's very first pattern was created with, of course, the sharp eyes of the wild turkey in mind. Only the madness of spring turkey hunting could drive a guy to create his own camouflage line.
8. All of Mossy Oak's camouflage features a natural, blended coloration. One of the first examples Toxey called upon when crafting his product was the Bobwhite quail hen. As with any ground nesting bird, the mother hen has to remain hidden while on her nest. Toxey was impressed with how the quail hens he'd seen could adapt to their environment. He envisioned helping hunters do the very same. If only those quail knew what kind of trouble they started for their bird-brethren.
7. The first Mossy Oak garments were sold by telephone and mail order in 1986. The founder’s parents helped with logistics and fulfillment from their own home, a location that also pulled duty as the company’s warehouse. Toxey's first desk was an old window air conditioner on the floor with a piece of plywood on top.
Read 6 more things you didn't know about Mossy Oak at: https://www.americanhunter.org/articles/2016/4/12/10-things-you-didnt-know-about-mossy-oak/