December is here and the temperatures will continue to drop. For most states the rut has come and gone. Bucks and does have lost weight in November and will start pounding food sources to prepare for winter. Late season can be very productive for the persistant hunter. Spending more time in the stand overlooking a late season food plot will increase your chances of tagging a big buck. Being comfortable will increase your odds tremendously and here are a few simple tips that will keep you warmer while deer hunting. picture source
Build From the Base
A good base layer is the foundation of staying warm. I was pulled in by Under Armour's marketing and I love the compression gear. As a bowhunter I don't want bulky clothes and the UA base compression gear is just what I am looking for.
Layer It On
Take the layered approach for added comfort. Adding several thin layers will help insulate and hold body heat in. Dressing in layers will also allow you to shed clothes as the day or activity changes. Consider using multiple layers of insulated long underwear to improve heat retention and also minimize bulkiness.
Layering also works great for those hunters that have long walks to the deer stand. Getting sweaty is the last thing you want to do on a cold morning. Pack up your outer layers and put them on when you have reached the stand. It may be a little aggrevating to pack in the clothes and then get dressed in the stand but it can make a huge difference.
For the really cold midwest environments don't overlook electric sportsman wear. I take this opportunity to spotlight a North Carolina company that is well known for keeping deer hunters warm. Gerbing is a NC that is well known for electric Microwire clothing. Snow mobilers, Harley Davidson riders, deer hunters and snow skiers have all benefitted from this technology. In fact many of the Cabelas brand of heated clothing is actually Gerbing powered.
Hand, Toe and Body Warmers
Not ready to spend the money on electric clothes? Check out the warming packs from Graebber. I will take several hand warmers and have them in my coat. Gun hunters and bowhunters need warm trigger fingers with no gloves or finger gloves and the hand warmers make this possible. I also use the toe warmers to keep my feet from freezing.
The best tip I can give deer hunters are the body warmers. It is basically a large warming pack that can be placed on the lower back. Some come with adhesive that will hold it in place on the shirt or directly to the skin on your back. These packs keep your back and kidneys warm and do wonders to maintain the rest of your body's temperature.
Quick Tips To Consider
- Don't over dress because being sweaty means being cold later. This is especially true for feet.
- Wear a good hat to keep heat from escaping.
- Try a scarf or neck gaitor to keep heat from sneaking out around your collar
- Wear a mitten on off hand because mittens are warmer than gloves.
- Buy quality cold weather clothing because this is no time to be cheap.
- A body warmer over the lower back and kidneys will make a big difference.
- Cotton absorbs moisture like sweat and should be avoided espcially as base layer.
Late winter deer season can be really tough. It can also be really productive. Start with a good base layer and build from there. Electric clothing has come along way and the prices are a little lighter on the wallet. For me the Grabber body warmers have been a life saver. I would still go hunting without them but it is a lot more enjoyable being comfortable.