Editor’s Note: Matt Morrett of Pennsylvania has realized every young man’s dream. In 1987, when he was 16-years old, he won the World Turkey Calling Championship in the Friction Call Division, which included slate calls, glass calls, box calls and any type of turkey-calling device that wasn’t used in your mouth. In 1987, Morrett began to work with Hunter’s Specialties. He appeared in 30 to 40 of the company’s videos and many of their TV shows. He started on TV with Tom Miranda on ESPN and has appeared on television for 15-20 years. He recently joined the PSE and the Mossy Oak Pro Staffs.
The coldest day I ever hunted deer was in Canada with weather 30-degrees-below zero. When the weather is that cold, you have a tendency to want to stay inside and be warm. However, if you plan to hunt in that type of weather, you need to go outside and get accustomed to the weather before you hunt. When I’ve been to Wisconsin in February, the guys who live up there are playing outside in sweatshirts, while I’m wearing all the warm clothes I own. The better you can acclimate to cold weather before you have to hunt, the less cold you will feel. So, if you’re planning on hunting in extremely-cold weather, try to stay outside as much as you can, and become accustomed to the weather, before you have to sit in it all day. One time when I went to Canada, the first 2 days I was as cold as I ever had been in my life. The next 2 days, I wasn’t nearly as cold. You might consider getting to camp a day or two before you plan to hunt and scout your area. This way, you’ll be conditioned for the cold, have a better idea of where to set-up your stand or blind and will feel much warmer than if you’ve been sitting next to the fire until your first hunt starts.
When the weather is super, super cold, I prefer to hunt from a ground blind. Not only does the ground blind give me protection from the elements, but I can carry plenty of hand and body warmers with me and use them inside the blind. I can take a thermos of hot chocolate or coffee, and I even can carry additional clothing to put on or take off without the deer seeing me. The one thing that you don’t want to happen is to not be able to take a shot, because your muscles are too cold, and you’re shivering and can’t hold your bow steady, or you can’t hold it in the shooting position long enough to deliver an effective shot.
I know many people take portable heaters into ground blinds in the late season. I’ve never used a heater in the late season while bowhunting, but if I’m gun hunting, and the weather is extremely cold, I’ve used a heater. I was hunting with my dad in Oklahoma several weeks ago in late 2012. The weather got really cold, so we went into a shooting house on the property. There was a heater in that shooting house, and I turned the heater on, because I didn’t want my dad to get cold. I have to admit it felt pretty good to me, too. I have an 11-year-old daughter I take with me sometimes during Pennsylvania’s late season bowhunt for deer, and I don’t hesitate to take a heater to make sure she’s warm and comfortable and has a good time on the hunt. If you’re hunting with the wind in your favor, then using a heater shouldn’t have a negative effect on the deer. If you take children or older folks hunting with you in the late season, I strongly recommend having a ground blind and a heater. The worst thing that can happen is for those young folks or older folks to get uncomfortable and not want to hunt with you the next year.
My best buck ever scored 150 on Boone & Crockett in the winter. I was hunting in Ohio in mid-January. There was snow on the ground, and we were hunting over a food plot containing turnips. Every evening and every night, deer were pouring into that food plot. We had been hunting 5 days, and I didn’t see this buck until the last afternoon. I had seen many-other bucks and plenty of does. Every night, I watched the deer dig through the snow and eat the turnip leaves and the turnip roots. That 150 buck stepped out of the woodline at 80 yards. I was shooting an inline muzzleloader and had no problem making the shot. The buck went about 50 yards and piled-up. When we got back to camp that night, we had venison backstraps and gravy for dinner. From this hunt, I learned that I will definitely plant the BioLogic Winter Bulbs and Sugar Beets product that contains turnips on my own properties, because I saw the deer coming to those turnips and digging down through the snow to get to them and eat them.
Tomorrow: Matt Morrett: Why I Plant Mossy Oak Food Plots for Late Season Buck Deer