By Brandon Wikman
This time of year, archery hunters have much more to worry about than simply slicing an arrow into a deer. They need to face the outside elements of raw chill to make their luck in the deer stand.
The Midwest is blanketed in snow and temperatures have been flirting with single digits. There’s nothing chillier on a hunter than having to stand still with the wind in his face and ripping into layers of clothes. This, my friend, is late season bow hunting at its most enduring.
I’ve churned up a few tips that I’ve learned over the years to help hunters stay slightly warmer, a little bit longer. These strategies are among many tried and tested trials of frostbitten blunders. I hope you find them well worth your time and give them a whirl yourself.
Pack Light. This is by far the most critical aspect of staying warm in a deer stand. You must walk to and from your stand with as little as clothes possible. If you are bundled up like a snowmobile aficionado from Alaska, you have already put yourself in a bad position.
Your body will begin to overheat in only minutes and begin to sweat. Moisture is your enemy during late season hunting. The moisture build-up will only enhance your chill as time goes on. You should bring a backpack or even carry your outer layers into your hunting setup. This will allow your body temperature to stay cool when treading through the knee-high snow!
Warm your limbs. As we all know, your hands, feet and head are the first body parts to go raw. They are the furthest pieces of skin from your heart, which means it takes blood much longer to circulate.
I prefer wearing booties on my feet. There are several hunting and outdoor manufactures that make foot-specific warming gear. I will always sport a muff around my waist to put my hands in. Lastly, I always wear a mask around my face. This provides my head, neck and ears the extra warmth they deserve.
Lastly, you will find that hunting during the late season time period is dramatically different than hunting early season or the rut. Deer tend to move during the absolute last minutes of daylight, which means if you are hunting a trail that leads to the field, you can slip in there within the last two hours of light. The least time spent in the cold, the better.
Test and try these methods to help stay warmer in the deer stand… otherwise just say the heck with it and bring a portable heater!