If 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!