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Hunting in the Cold: Tips For Sticking it Out

Bob Humphrey

Many things go into a successful hunt but one of the biggest is simply being there. The more time you spend in the woods the greater your chances of encountering the game you seek. Unfortunately, the best hunting often coincides with the worst weather. That’s why you need to pick apparel and equipment that will allow you to remain comfortable and thus remain in the field under even the worst conditions.

hunting in the cold snow

Dress for Success

Dress in Layers - You can always remove clothes you don't need but can't put them on if you don't have them. Start with a base layer and socks made of a synthetic material that draws moisture away from your body. Over this, add an insulating layer of fleece or wool, topped off with a protective layer of waterproof/windproof breathable laminate.

Protect Your Extremities - While it’s a myth that you lose 75 or 80 percent of your body heat through your head, cold head, hands or feet can be extremely uncomfortable, and bring a premature end to your day. Thin sock liners under synthetic wool or smart wool socks are the best option for your feet. Pick the proper size and material gloves that will keep your hands warm and dry; and bring a spare pair or two. The same goes for headwear. Pick something appropriate for the activity, whether it be sitting in a ground blind or a goose blind.

Give Em the Boot - Here again, pick the right footwear for your activity. That means hip boots or chest waders for waterfowlers, and waterproof rubber, neoprene or leather boots for anyone in wet conditions. If you’re exclusively on dry land you can skip the waterproofing. The colder it is, the more insulation you’ll want. Even then it might not be enough.


Feel the Heat - A heat-absorbing, cushioned seat pad will keep your assets warm and comfortable. Disposable or rechargeable hand and foot warmers are great for their namesake body areas but can also be used on the back of your neck or other heat sensitive areas like wrists. Some of the better cold-weather garments have pockets for heat packs.


Heat Factory hand warmer muff

Food and Drink - You’d be surprised how many calories you can burn simply sitting still in a cold stand or blind. Bring plenty to eat and drink, and bring the right stuff. A little sugar from candy provides a quick energy boost while carbs like peanuts give you a long, slow burn of sustained warmth. And there’s no need to wait for lunch time. Eat when you’re hungry, as often as you’re hungry. Water, juice or soup are great choices for liquids. Try to avoid diuretics like coffee.

Inside Out - And of course, you can always bring a little indoors to the out of door by using a ground blind or shooting house. You lose some visibility and hearing but you’ll be snug and secure inside. And if things get too bad you can even add a portable heater.  

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