Some specific cold weather hunting tips can make winter hunting trips just as rewarding as warm weather ones; sometimes the results are even better. Your success will come down to preparation and understanding what aspects must be adjusted.
5 Tips to Help you Prepare for Cold Weather Hunts
- The Right Gear. Proper clothing is absolutely essential. You need to remain warm while waiting but still have enough freedom of movement to handle your bow or gun and track an animal. Layering is the key to staying warm in cold weather hunting. Start with an insulating base layer. Then add long underwear and, if it’s really frigid, a wool layer on top of that. Finally, top it all with your camo parka, hat, and insulated coveralls. Be sure to invest in good quality gloves or mittens. Wool mittens with flip-open fingertips are a great choice. These can be covered with a more insulating, thicker glove when you’re not shooting. Warm footwear is also essential when cold weather hunting. Liner socks, wool socks and thickly insulated, waterproof boots are a must.
- Stay Limber. To stay warm during cold weather hunting you need to keep the blood flowing; remaining motionless is the worst choice. Standing is better for you than sitting. Slowly bend and flex your joints and release muscles while you wait. You’ll generate warmth and keep your brain focused on the hunt, not the cold. If you’re bow hunting, stretch and hold the bow every 20-30 minutes to keep both you and the bow limber.
- Test Your Equipment. It’s much harder to shoot accurately with bulky gloves, face masks and thick coats. Practice shooting in full gear to get a feel for the bow or rifle so you can adjust your technique accordingly. Thermal heat pads can help keep your fingers warm while you wait.
- Eat and Hydrate. You burn more calories in cold weather hunting because your body is working harder to keep you warm. Pack high-energy snacks like jerky, nuts and dried fruits and take the time to eat them during your wait. Reward yourself during a long wait with a hot thermos of coffee, hot chocolate, or soup.
- Understand Your Limitations. You need to understand what your limitations are and respect them. Pushing yourself beyond your stamina or cold tolerance can lead to errors in judgment and poor shot placement. Identify your limits and develop strategies to cope with the cold, and know when to head back to basecamp.
Perseverance and Preparation Pay Off
Just because you’re geared up doesn’t mean it won’t be cold or you won’t be uncomfortable. Although cold weather hunting requires determination and perseverance, the payoff is a huge sense of accomplishment and results in possibly the shot of a lifetime.