Innovator creates new camouflage

Tuesday May 17, 2011

BENNINGTON -- Since he was young, Lee Dufresne wished he had better camouflage while hunting. His grandfather told him that for the time being he would have to settle for hiding in bushes.

About a month ago, Dufresne, 40, launched his business, Elusion Camo (as in, to elude, not an illusion), which he hopes will take the world of hunting by storm. Already his marketing through Facebook and the company's Website has generated a lot of interest, he said.

He said his business partner, Stephanie A. Calabro, owner of Turcotte Designs, helped him create an idea for a camouflage system he'd had for some time. Dufresne said the process is basically taking photos of things like trees, bushes and cornfields, then layering them into a linear pattern that doesn't repeat. He said most camouflage patterns repeated a number of times are simply printed onto fabric.

The fabric is made by the A. Rifkin Co., a Pennsylvania company, which uses a process that vaporizes the pattern after printing it on paper, then transfers it to the fabric.

Dufresne said his product reacts to light in a more natural way, and is intentionally baggy to make use of shadows. He said the pattern is as hard to see at all times during the day and has worked well in field trials by himself and other hunters.

He said he's made a point to have everything done by American companies, going so far as to boycott anything made outside the country. The suits, he said, are a thin material meant to go over normal clothing. The pockets are designed with the hunter in mind, and are accessible. He said even the Velcro is of a variety that's quieter than most others.

The basic package is a full body suit with a hood and baseball cap. Each comes with a five-year warranty and cost around $125 to $135, Dufresne said. One of the more popular patterns was designed for use in cornfields to hunt geese, but like many of his designs intended for a specific locale, it works well in a variety of backdrops.

Dufresne said he's done marketing through famous hunters he's known and spoken to outdoor publications. Dufresne said he considers himself a professional hunter and is working with another well-known hunting enthusiast, Kevin Hoyt, to film demonstrations of the camouflage in use.

He said he'd considered simply licensing his patterns to others, but the financial structure of that didn't work for him. He said larger camouflage manufacturers have also been known to buy up people's products so they don't compete.

Dufresne said he's working on making the patterns available to be put on bows and firearms as well.

He said he decided to finally go forward with his business idea in February. His typical line of work is being a contractor, which lately hasn't been very lucrative. If the business takes off he would like to work with getting needy or sick children the opportunity to hunt, as well as getting archery equipment and instruction into schools.


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