Late-season hunting isn’t popular for a lot of reasons. During the rut, wildlife is a lot more active and easy to hunt. It is at this period that most hunters spend hours slaving away on hunting fields to try and get a good shot. After this time, however, people would rather spend their days indoor to recuperate — much like the animals themselves.
But there are some hunters out there that bring out their rifles during these late months. With enough hunting experience, late-season hunts for these folks could be just as productive as in-season.
If you’re planning to join this group of hunters, then the first thing that you have to learn isn’t directly related to hunting. It’s how to stay warm. When the late seasons start, winter will already be right on top.
Today Kevin from DeerHuntingField, we’ll show you some tricks that you need to know to keep yourself from freezing your boots off during the hunt.
Come Dressed in Proper Attire
Coming to a late-season hunt with the proper winter attire is extremely crucial. Your clothings is going to be your first line of defence against the cold, so make sure that they’re sorted out before you head off.
Layering up your clothing is the best way to protect yourself from the biting cold.
Start first with a skin-hugging underlayer to lock in your perspiration. Your perspiration can make you even colder in the chilly weather. Additionally, it can give your position away to the animals, too. Many hunting underlayers have scent-locking features to minimize this problem.
After that, build up to a mid-layer, which is a light insulating layer. You can use something like a wool shirt for this part.
The outer layer’s job is to break up the wind and keep the cold out. Always, this layer comes in the form of a heavy-duty winter jacket.
You can balance these three layers depending on your needs and your budget. Never cheap out too much, though. Hypothermia is not to be trifled with. That expensive merino wool shirt could one day save your life.
Control Your Perspiration
Perspiration can turn into a huge problem if they’re not dealt with during a cold-weather hunt. Sweat will dampen your skin and chill you out very quickly, leading to crippling cold or — in worst cases — pave an express path toward hypothermia.
While you’re setting up your layering system, ensure that your inner layers are as light and breathable as possible. Choose materials that are moisture-wicking like merino wool or polyester. But whatever you do, never use cotton. Cotton is terrible at wicking moisture and takes a long time to dry, which can be dangerous in a cold-weather hunt.
Although it’s great to be warm, avoid overheating yourself. Your overheated body will produce a lot of sweat, which, once again, isn’t what you want when you’re still out in the cold.
Overall, balance and manage your layering system so that you’re warm and comfortable. Not too cold nor too hot.
Get a Cold Weather Backpack
You will be carrying a lot more gear during late-season hunts. Your coat, thermos, heating pads, muffs, and extra gloves can quickly use up all of the room in your prime-season backpack.
In that case, buy a new one with more room. Surely, these cold weather backpacks will be bulkier and heavier (plus the extra cold weather gear). Nevertheless, it’s better than freezing out in the wild. Just take more breaks during your hikes and hunting seasons to recuperate.
Bring A Lot of Heating Pads
Commercially, there are many kinds of heating pads available. There are oxygen-activated heating pads, electric heating pads, and even heating pads that consume lighter fluid. Whatever it is that you decide to go with, so long as they provide warmth, they will be an excellent addition to your hunting kit.
Keep Your Extremities Warm
Extremities like fingers and toes will be the first parts of your body to become frigid. Since it’s your fingers that are going to hold the rifle and pull the trigger, it’s critical that they be kept warm. One of the best ways to do so, short of an open fire, are heating pads.
Shove a heating pad into your glove. This will keep your hands warm while you’re sighting in and tracking targets.
If you have a couple of pads to spare, activate them and drop them into your coat pockets. When the winter gets too biting, put your hands into your pockets to warm them up.
As for your feet, there are certain kinds of heating pads that you can put into your boots. Some go into the toebox, some are put onto the insole. There are some heating pads out there that can adhere to your socks, too. All of them help greatly and will surely be welcomed when the cold sets in.
Treat Yourself to a Good Pair of Winter Hunting Boots
Protecting your feet from the cold is just as important as your gun-holding hands. As a matter of fact, it’s arguably even more important to pay attention to the feet. Your feet will be in direct contact with the ground, which could be filled with snow or puddled water. When your feet are wet, hypothermia is surely to follow if it’s not rectified.
You have a lot of options in this department. Many hunting boots are made specifically for winter hunting and come armed with thick insulation and waterproofing layers. They will give you better peace of mind while you’re on the hunting trail.
Bring a Thermos with You
Hunting in the frigid cold is miserable. That’s why you should take every opportunity possible to warm up, even if it means indulging in creature comforts like hot cocoa or hot tea.
Yes, bring along your thermos. Fill it with the warm version of whatever drink you like best: coffee, tea, cocoa, cider … so long as it excites you and warms up your core temperature, put it in and bring it with you.
You’re not limited to just beverages. Hot soup, broth, or even instant noodles can be extremely uplifting spiritually.
Put a Heater in the Blind
Some hunters prefer to hunker down in blinds to do their late-season hunts. It’s not a bad idea: you’re completely protected from the cold and, since you’re not moving around as much, animals will naturally come to you with the right baits thrown out.
You don’t have to suffer in silence there. Bring a space heater with you. With your blind all cozied up, you will be able to hunt for longer stretches of time before calling it quit.
Depending on the type of heater that you use, emission and ventilation could be a problem to take note of. Once you get that sorted out, it’s a perfect way to remain warm while still having your finger on the trigger.
Late-season hunting can be a productive and fun time so long as you know what to do. If you don’t, the cold could turn dangerous real quick. We hope this guide has given you a better idea of what you have to do to make the hunt a successful, satisfying one.
Next, if you’re looking to stock up gears, here is our best shooting tripod for hunting reviews! Worth checking out before you go, considering how a decent tripod is such an important part of a good hunting rifle set-up.