Hunting Gear For the Winter Months

shutterstock_166867142If you’re a serious hunter, you know that there’s quite a bit of difference between hunting in warm weather and hunting during the winter. When temperatures drop below freezing, the environment can pose just as much of a challenge as your prey. Below are some winter hunting tips.

Protect yourself from the elements With the right hunting gear.

When temperatures drop, it’s important that body heat is reflected and absorbed to conserve energy. Misjudging the amount of time you will be spending outdoors is a common mistake. Gore-tex, down-filled and Thinsulate apparel are solid bets to take on the icy temperatures and arctic winds of winter, particularly if you hunt from downwind, as hunters do when they target deer. An extra pair of wool socks and dry, waterproof boots with rubber overshoes are a hunter’s best friends in inclement weather. Getting your feet wet in snow can be a recipe for absolute misery no matter the success of your hunt.

The last thing you want is to be isolated or possibly injured in an environment where hypothermia is a constant threat and civilization may be miles away. The number one place where body heat is lost is through the head, so an extra warm fur, fleece or insulated hat or hood is critical for winter weather. The second place where heat is lost is through the extremities, so your feet and hands should be particularly well-protected.

Wear the proper hunting gear for the environment you are hunting in.

Winter snow and bare trees mean that camouflage patterns for winter are often different than those used in the spring and summer. In snow, white and bare tree branch camo gear is a popular choice for traversing snowy terrain.

Beyond taking common sense precautions such as letting people know where you plan on being in advance and what your schedule will be, it makes sense to have navigational aids such as a compass, GPS and/or mapping tools and a way to communicate with the world at large in case of trouble.

If your prey can pose a threat to you or your party, you should plan for worst-case scenarios in case you or any member of your party is injured and/or immobile. Tools to start a fire, emergency rations and signaling devices in case your electronic gear is out-of-range or its batteries die are essentials that one should bring along in any isolated and cold-weather environment. A supply of drinking water and a healthy reserve of ammunition and materials for weapons are obvious next bets. So are chemical or electronic pocket warmers for gloves and boots. Most chemical pocket warmers are good for eight or nine hours; bring plenty of spares in case you end up spending more time outside than you planned.

Because winter is coming!

Top Five “Must Have” Items in Your Deer Hunting Gear

shutterstock_171912791It’s that time of year. The bucks are out and it’s open season. But before you go running off to the woods without a second thought, make sure you’re prepared. Whether you hunt for sport or food, a lack of preparedness could make or break your season.

When it comes to deer hunting gear, there are a few obvious things you need – like a weapon and camouflage. But what about the not-so-obvious things? Those items that not everyone thinks about, that could up your game a good bit. Here are five must-have hunting gear items that will get you that trophy buck.

Scent Control

Deer have a keen sense of smell. If they smell humans, they’re likely to avoid the area. Fortunately, the hunting gear market is full of scent control products.

Whether you want to kill your own scent or cover it up with a natural woodsy smell, there’s a product to do the job. Here are some of the types of products you can buy with scent blockers:

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Soap
  • Antiperspirant
  • Laundry detergent
  • Fabric softener
  • Clothing spray

If you’re looking for an extra push, you can purchase something like doe urine to draw bucks in.


Every experienced hunter knows the importance of including the right calls in their hunting gear. Instead of simply waiting for a deer to come wandering by, use a call to lure your prey. You can even purchase one call that has the ability to produce a few different sounds.

Trail Cameras

Before you head into the woods, give yourself an edge by knowing exactly where the deer are hanging out. How do you accomplish this? With a trail camera.

Set up one, or space a few out to get the best idea of where you should spend your hunting time. Not only does a trail camera let you know where the deer are, but it also tells you what time they’re coming around.


Rope is beneficial in any nature situation, and hunting is no different. You may not ever use it when you have it, but the second you leave it behind, you’ll desperately need it.

One way you may not have considered using rope is for securing your gun to your body while getting situated in your harness. This prevents you from needing to climb with one hand, and makes things more convenient overall.

A Knife

This undervalued utility tool serves more than one purpose when hunting. Sure, it can be used to gut that deer you get, but it can also be used for so much more than that – like cutting rope, for instance.

When planning out your hunting gear this season, don’t neglect the five things mentioned here. And as an added bonus, please use a harness. Good luck, and happy hunting!

Guidelines For Storing Your Hunting Gear

shutterstock_280416131Correctly storing your hunting gear between seasons is essential if you do not want to be replacing the majority of your kit every year. Incorrect storage can lead to everything from mold and mildew to rust and insect infestation. None of these will make for a pleasant start to the next hunting season and could take away from precious hunting time while you get it fixed or replaced.

Caring for Clothing

Your clothing is an essential part of your hunting gear. Not only does it keep you warm and dry, but it is also a crucial part of your camouflage. Before you pack it away, inspect every piece carefully and replace anything that is beyond use or repair. Wash the remaining pieces in baking soda and a detergent that eliminates odors. Ideally, line-dry everything to ensure it doesn’t pick up any unnatural smells. Once dry, fold and place the clothing in scent free bags; vacuum storage bags are the best option. Place the bags in a storage container with a tight-fitting lid and, if possible, add some bags of cedar chips for extra odor protection.

Bringing the Best out in Your Boots

Your boots are just as important as your clothing in terms of looking after yourself while you are out hunting. At the end of the season, inspect them carefully for wear. Remember to check the insides, including thermal liners, as well as the outsides and the soles. Brush off loose mud, dirt, and debris and then wipe them down with water to remove any remaining dirt. Once dry, apply a conditioner to the boots to stop them drying out; don’t over apply the conditioner, though, particularly to leather boots as it will soften them and cause them to lose support. Apply a waterproofing treatment as well and store the boots in a cool, dry place where they are unlikely to experience major temperature fluctuations.

Looking after the Rest

Your other hunting gear should be treated in much the same way as boots and clothing. Make sure everything is thoroughly cleaned and dried before storing in large bags or boxes. Check that bottles and aerosol cans are not stored next to anything sharp that could cause punctures and take batteries out of all devices that are to be stored. Take extra care with any calls that you have and place them in pouches to prevent any damage during the closed season. Follow any specific instructions on individual pieces of equipment, but most things need to be kept dry and at as constant a temperature as possible.

Also, keep everything together to make getting ready for next season easier. However, make sure to keep any gas powered equipment you may own away from your hunting gear; if it picks up the gas smell, all your careful preparation will be for nothing.

Well looked after hunting gear will last for years to come and provide you with the safety, comfort, and camouflage you need to enjoy a successful hunt.

Essential Cold Weather Gear

shutterstock_68945503Early in deer hunting season, summer is still petering out and many places around the country remain warm, but as the season progresses, the days get shorter and the air chills. As the seasons change, proper cold weather gear can greatly enhance the hunting experience. There are many varieties of cold weather clothing and ways to stay warm, but here are some essential items to consider when planning the next cold-weather hunt.

Layer up!

The key to staying warm in cold weather is layering up, and the base layer (the layer closest to the body) is an important consideration. Many companies make base layers, but the best options are those that are able to wick moisture away from the body. Cooling sweat does not help one warm up! Many outdoor companies sell solid options for base layers, including both tops and long underwear.

After the base layer, a wool sweater or fleece is a good option. Wool is a time-tested material that is partially water resistant and will keep you warm in cold conditions, but there are a lot of newer, lightweight options that will also get the job done.

Depending on the conditions during the day of the hunt, the outer layer should provide wind and/or rain protection. Unfortunately, rain pants can be pretty noisy when walking, but there are a number of quick-dry fabrics available that are fairly water resistant. The choice will really come down to the conditions on any given day, however. Explore Products offers a variety of outerwear designed for cold-weather hunting.

Feet and hands

Gloves or mittens are a crucial component of cold weather gear. Wool mittens provide a lot of warmth, and there are many brands that make the flip-open fingertips. Dexterity of the fingers is critically important during the hunt, so hand coverage that either flips open or lets you maintain dexterity is probably the best option.

While gloves are critical to have, hands can at least be sat on or tucked into armpits to warm up. Not so with feet. A thick wool sock will be hugely beneficial during cold weather and may be the difference between misery and comfort. You can scale up the thickness depending on how cold the weather is. It can also be nice to wear a liner sock under the wool to provide an extra layer against the cold and help keep the socks from slipping when they get wet.

For both hands and feet, it’s always a good idea to carry some feet and hand warmers, you never know when they may come in handy.


Much of the body’s heat is lost through the head, so it is essential to have good head gear if you want to stay warm. Wool hats are fairly easy to find, but a tightly woven hat will obviously keep your head warmer than a loosely woven hat. In addition to a hat, consider keeping a balaclava handy. The balaclava covers both the top of the head and neck, and can be pulled up over the nose for particularly blustery days.

Everybody has different preferences for staying warm, but following these basic guidelines will help any hunter stay warm in cold weather. Much of this gear is available through Explore Products.

Bowhunting Offers a Traditional Experience

imgres-6Bow hunting is one of the most challenging types of hunting and it requires a great deal of patience and skill. Unlike a rifle, which must only be aimed and held properly, a bow necessitates knowing the appropriate amount of strength to use based on the distance the arrow must travel. Though the skill and knowledge of the hunter is the most important factor in bowhunting, the bow, arrows, and other gear are nearly as critical.


Bows come in a few different styles, sizes and shapes. The most simple bows only have one string, while the most powerful ones involve several strings that are wound around multiple gears. Known as compound or composite bows, these bows amplify the amount of force generated. In ordinary circumstances, the length of the bow determines how much force can be generated, but with a compound bow, even a short bow can generate an enormous amount of force. Because of this, they are ideal for hunting deer and other large game. Compound bows are also more adjustable, making them better for those who want to hunt various different types of game with the same bow.


Longbows are a more traditional type of bow, and they do have a certain appeal, since they look more like the classic bows that people typically associate with archery. While you can generate as much force with a longbow as you can with a compound bow, the amount of strength needed to generate that much power and speed is increased dramatically. The amount of strength needed to pull a bowstring back is measured in pounds, and the number of pounds needed increases with the power of the bow. Light bows meant for practice start as low as twenty-five pounds, but bows used for hunting are usually no less than fifty pounds. That being said, with compound bows, even a modest number of pounds can generate a lot of speed and force. Longbows are more traditional and authentic, but they require a strong and competent archer in order to be used effectively for hunting.

Much like with rifle hunting, there are a lot of accessories that can make your bowhunting experience more enjoyable.  Scopes are a common feature of compound bows to increase accuracy, but are not often found on longbows. In addition, all bow hunters require a Quiver to hold all your arrows.  Quivers vary in terms of size and material. Finally, you will also need a bow case, to transport your bow and keep it safe from debris, water and other harmful elements

Basic Gear for This Year’s Hunting Season

imgres-5While it is the skill of the hunter that makes the most difference, the hunting gear used is nearly as important. As with anything else, it is necessary to tailor your equipment to your game and the terrain in which you will be hunting. Every hunter knows that good hunting gear makes the experience so much more enjoyable, not to mention the fact that it increases your chances of snagging a nice trophy.

Gun cases are one of the most critical components of any hunter’s gear because they protect your firearm, keeping it safe from water and debris. There are many different options, but one of the most obvious ways in which guns cases are classified is hard and soft. Soft gun cases are great for travel, and they can be easily rolled up, folded and stored anywhere. On the other hand, if your gun is likely to to be banged around a lot over the course of your travels, then a hard case will provide more protection.

In addition to cases for all of your rifles and other firearms, you will need cases to carry your ammunition. Having ammunition handy is key to your ability to hunt big or small game successfully, which is why having an easily accessible ammunition case is always a good idea. Some ammunition cases can be attached to the stock of your rifle, to make it easier to access during hunting trips. Others can be attached to your belt or simply carried in a backpack, pocket or other receptacle.

One of the most important things to keep in mind while hunting is safety, which is why every hunter should be equipped with safety gear. Harnesses are one item that every deer hunter should have. Harnesses enable you to safely hunt large and small game from the vantage point of a tree. Also, wearing certified bright orange vests, hats and other accessories are key ways to make your presence known to other hunters. In some scenarios, though, it is necessary to blend into your surroundings. While this should never be done if there are other hunters in the area, camouflage is an effective way of sneaking up on certain types of game. Wild turkeys are one example.

There is no end to the amount of of new hunting gear you might need, but with these guidelines in mind it should be easier to figure out what you actually need. If you do end up with a little extra spending money there are always plenty of options.


American Big Game Hunting: A Worthy Challenge

images-2Game birds can pose a challenge to any hunter, but many prefer the thrill of hunting big game. There are many different kinds of big game to hunt in the United States, with each region playing host to its own unique wildlife. Many of the most desirable types of big game are found in the Northern and Western portions of the United States, such as moose in the north and mountain goats in the Western highlands. Just as with smaller game, it is important to know the behavioral patterns and preferred habitat of the animal you are seeking. Equally important is the hunting gear needed to take home your trophy.


Moose are one of the largest animals found in North America, and they are a much sought-after trophy among avid hunters. While there are different species of moose, it is the Canadian moose that is among the largest and most iconic. While it is costly and difficult to obtain tags for Canadian moose in the United States, it is possible and definitely something every hunter should aspire to. Because of their gargantuan size, it is best to use a Magnum rifle when hunting moose, but it is not necessary to get carried away. Shooting accurately will make more of a difference than simply having a high-caliber gun.


One of the most iconic animals of the American West is the antelope, or pronghorn. Pronghorn are not as rare as moose, and the tags enabling you to hunt them are easier to obtain. That being said, the precise region in which you are going to hunt makes a difference in the cost of the tag and the number of tags available. Wyoming is the state to visit when it comes to antelope, and there are many different areas open to hunters. Many of the public areas are over-hunted, so it may be best to obtain permission to hunt on privately owned land. With antelope, you need a fairly long-range rifle with a medium sized cartridge. Many assume that antelope need to be hunted from a very long distance, but this is not necessary. Even a hundred yards is enough distance, and it will make them easier to hit.


Elk are another animal that exemplify the North American wilderness. Elk hunting is similar to moose hunting in many ways, but there are a few key differences. Because elk are more common than moose, it is much easier to obtain tags for them. Especially if you are in Idaho or other states in the American West, getting a tag is relatively easy and inexpensive. Like with moose, a high caliber rifle is best. Bow hunting is also a popular way to hunt elk, though a great deal of accuracy is required.


Use Strategy When Hunting Game Birds

imgres-1Hunting game birds is a sport with a lot of nuance, and it is important to hunt for each type of game bird the right way. The right strategy for hunting one type of game would be ineffective for another, which is why you need to come prepared with the right knowledge and hunting gear, whatever quarry you are after. Tailoring your strategy, gun parts and gear to the game you are seeking will help you focus your energies and get the results you want.


Quail is one of the most quintessential game birds, and it is one of the most popular types of game in the Southern United States, from California to Virginia. Hunting quail, like hunting many other game birds, requires patience, precision and skill. It also requires knowing what to bring and how to use it. There are a few different ways to hunt quail, and the best method depends upon the terrain and the species of quail you are hunting. Nevertheless, most quail hunts involve the use of a dog to help flush out the small game birds from hiding. Unlike deer, which require stalking you game, sometimes for miles, quail hunts involve arousing the birds from hiding and shooting from close-range. Needless to say, a shotgun is a prerequisite. A 20 or 12 gauge is best, preferably loaded with a smaller shot size. These are small birds, and it does not take much to take them down.


Pheasant are a bit different to hunt than quail, though many of the same principles apply. Pheasant hunting is all about timing, so it is important to know when and where to look for them. As with quail, pheasant hunting involves flushing the birds out of hiding, so they can be taken down with a shotgun, as soon as they leave the ground. To do this, though, you must be patient, quiet and clever. Not only do pheasants behave differently at different times of the day, their behavior is also affected by the weather. For instance, Phil Bourjaily of Field and Stream claims that hunting pheasant at their roosting grounds on frigid, still mornings is foolish because they wake up early to feed. On the other hand, if it is slightly warmer, yet wet and windy, their nesting grounds will likely be rich with hunkered down pheasants.


One of the most popular game birds that is unique to North America is the turkey. Turkeys are a fairly large game bird, which is why they should be hunted differently than smaller birds, like quail and doves. First and foremost, you need to know where to look for turkeys. Though they require trees for roosting, you do not need to be near the woods to find turkeys. They tend to prefer habitats with only sparsely distributed trees. Finally, when it comes to hunting turkeys, it pays to dress for the occasion. Wear camouflage in order to get close enough to shoot.

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The Best Deer Hunting In Minnesota

imgresOne of the most crucial aspects of hunting is knowing where to go. Fortunately, for those in Minnesota, there are plenty of prime hunting spots, especially when it comes to deer. In fact, the state boasts over 10 million acres of public hunting ground, a large number for any state. Hunting is a multifaceted sport, so always coordinate your hunting gear with both the terrain and the game for which you are hunting.

Superior National Forest is one of the most deer-rich hunting areas in Minnesota. Located in the northern portion of the state, this huge wilderness boasts a massive deer population. Because there is so much area to work with, it is easy to get far away from any signs of human development. This makes it the perfect place to explore and scout for mature bucks. As for the guns to use, either a long-range rifle or a lighter stalking rifle is likely your best choice. The former has better accuracy at a distance, but the latter is easier to carry around for hours on end.

As rich in deer as Superior National Forest is, many claim that the deer are most concentrated in the center of the state. Here, the sparsely distributed human population is ideal for those who want an old-fashioned woodland hunting excursion. Itasca State Park, situated right in the thick of this amazing setting is one of the best places to hunt deer in the state. Because off-road vehicles are not allowed, Itasca State Park offers a more quiet and authentic hunting experience, without all of the distractions of many other hunting areas. Because you will undoubtedly be going on foot, you will likely prefer a lightweight rifle to a heavy long-range one.

No list of hunting areas in Minnesota would be complete without the Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest. This pristine forest, located in the southeastern portion of the state, has over 40,000 acres of public land. Perfect for hunting whitetail deer, this area would be an ideal place to try out a long-range rifle.

These are only a few of the many prime hunting areas in the great state of Minnesota. With such large swathes of natural and preserved forest, Minnesota is the perfect state to live in for any big game hunter who enjoys the challenge of hunting the old-fashioned way.

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Ways to Prepare for Hunting Season

imagesIt’s finally hunting season. Most states are gearing up for the first rifle season to begin in October. By now, you should have been acquiring necessary gear and reading up-to-date literature on the current season. Make the most of this hunting season by making sure you are prepared. Follow these steps to ensure you’re off to a great start:

  1. Make a list of items you need to take on every hunt

Nothing is worse and wastes more time than realizing that you forgot an important piece of hunting equipment or brought broken gear to a hunt. Give yourself plenty of time to make a checklist of every piece of hunting equipment you need. Inspect all of this gear to make sure that it works and allow time to make any minor repairs.

  1. Study the Regulations

Even if you are a seasoned hunter, rules and regulations are constantly changing. Make sure you know all dates for the upcoming season, what licenses and permits to acquire, bag limits, and other rules. Never assume the regulations will be the same as last season and give yourself plenty of time to go over current pamphlets that pertain the both the species and area you plan on hunting.

  1. Buy Licenses, Tags, and Stamps

Make sure you obtain the proper documents to hunt legally. Know whether you need big game or small game licenses.  It is important to make sure you get the proper tags for the animals you hunt. Deer, elk and other big game hunters need species tags. Waterfowl hunters need migratory bird stamps and state validation to hunt ducks and geese. ags can be obtained online or at a local license vendor.

  1. Go to the shooting range and gauge ranges

The more you practice shooting, the more prepared you will be to hunt. Spend as much time at the shooting range as possible during off months. Practice a wide range of shots. If you’re hunting in an area where you think you’ll be taking a 200 yard shot, practice shooting 200 yards. Practice with all types of firearms you will be using as many have different trajectories. If you are jogging or taking a walk, take a look around and guess the distance of landmarks around you. If you have time, pace to see how accurate your estimate was.

  1. Get into good physical shape

Endurance and the ability to cover a lot of range are qualities of the most successful hunters. Consider a training regimen that will help you build the strength and endurance to cover both a lot of flat land and steep slopes. This can include walking, running, climbing stairs, or a gym regimen of both cardio and strength training. If you are walking or hiking, take your boots out, as they will need to be broken in.

  1. Make a schedule

Once you’re familiar with the different hunting season dates, be sure to put them on your calendar. Pinpoint exact dates you want to hunt and make the proper arrangements.