Deciding to go hunting is a great way to get out of the comfort of your chambers and enjoy the best nature has to offer. It doesn't matter if you're chasing a Buck on his rut recovery or doing late season Doe management, there are a lot of reasons to go hunting. You should, however, know that hunting in the cold has its own challenges.
If you ever decide to go out to hunt, it is critical that you learn how to stay warm hunting in cold weather. You will do better out there if you're properly equipped for the weather as much as for the hunt. The blistering cold is a reality, so you better be prepared for it.
But, hey, no need to worry. The cold shouldn't deter you from enjoying a nice time out hunting alone or with friends. I've had time to put together a couple of things you should do in order to enjoy your time hunting. I hope they're helpful.
Tips On How To Stay Warm Hunting In Cold Weather
Dress For The Hunt
Staying warm while hunting in the cold is as important as the hunt itself. You most definitely cannot move around trying to hunt a game looking all frigid like an icicle and shaken from the terrible weather. Be on the safe side, gear up, and look the part. You should do the following:
This is the first part you should get right if you're going to stay warm throughout your hunting trip. I'm not talking about fancy clothes or whatnots. Start with thermal undergarments- they help whisk sweat away from your skin while retaining your precious body heat. It is important your undergarments are synthetic materials because it is easy for your body to produce sweat while you walk back to your stand. And sweat, when met with moisture, can produce bone-chilling colds that can cause hypothermia.
After you put on thermal undergarments, your next layer should be a lightweight set of long johns and sleeves that are loose enough to enable you to move freely. You don't want to burden yourself with too much weight on. Avoid cotton fabrics at all costs. You'd curse yourself if you're caught up in the cold wearing clothes made of cotton.
A hardshell jacket is a must-have, especially when the weather gets very unfriendly and really cold. Hunting vests are also a great addition which will help to keep your core warm. You shouldn't go hunting without one. Layering is a technique where you dress light, starting with underwear and progressing to thicker clothing. This allows you to easily take off the extra layers if it gets warm. The trick is knowing what clothes should come first.
I always carry the bulk of my outer layers while walking back to my hunting spot. This allows me to work up a sweat to keep my body warm. Try not to get too sweaty though, moisture on your skin out in the cold can have the opposite effect. Take slow walks back to your hunting spot, and if you get chilly, you can gradually add back your outer layers.
Warm Hands, Feet and Head
Cold escapes more from your hands and feet, so it is important they stay warm always. You probably cannot hold a bow or gun if your hands are numb, so yeah. The most probable way I have found is to wear a thin pair of gloves, a second thin glove on the hand holding your bow, and use a fleece-lined hand muffler. Hand mufflers can be attached around your waist so you can place your hands inside.
You definitely need disposable heat packs around you at all times. You can put these in little purses around your waist, and while you wait for your game, you can warm your hands regularly, so you're better prepared when your trophy arrives.
You need boots that will be able to keep your feet warm while you walk on damp grounds. Your boots need to fit loosely to allow your toes to move freely within and exercise themselves when they get cold. If your boots fit too tightly, it reduces blood flow to the feet, and cramp easily sets in.
Definitely no cotton allowed for socks. Cotton socks would hold moisture easily and damp feet will get cold. I prefer woollen socks- double layers for more insulation. Adding heat packs under each boot when your socks are dry can get extremely comfortable.
Head warmers are probably underrated. More of our body heat is lost through the head, so keeping your cranium warm is vital. In addition, by protecting your neck & face with coverings, you will not only save additional heat, but your warmth level will increase with a lesser chance for frostbite. A knit beanie and scarf will be perfect to keep your head warm. Some people prefer balaclava masks. The goal is to stay warm where it's most important, and finding what works for you is key.
Packing a bottle of warm water or beverages is advisable. Water actually makes the body function very well. Regular sips keep your body functioning properly while keeping your core warmed up, and allowing warmed blood circulate to your extremities.
You don't want to go hungry while hunting. Your body produces heat when it is digesting food. High calorie/high protein food should be what you go for. Always take extra snacks when you're down hunting as quick bites are important to keep you in the game.
A hunting trip, even in the cold, is meant to be fun, therapeutic, and for some, a means of survival. But what should be a positively memorable experience can go really bad without adequate preparations.
While you pack up your bow, gun, and other hunting supplies, remember that the most important asset is your body. That means you must bring with you, everything that would guarantee your comfort and safety.
So never forget to wear the appropriate clothing, eat the right food, and stock up on warm beverages.
Shoot straight, happy hunting!