Prime hunting season often takes place during the cold months of the year, but a fun hunting trip can quickly turn miserable if you aren’t outfitted for the chilly weather. If you aren’t able to function properly at a critical moment during a hunt, you may end up performing badly even if you have the best hunting gear money can buy. Develop a system for staying warm that works for you so that you can make the most of hunting season.
Fuel Your Body
The better your diet, the warmer you’ll be while you’re waiting in your blind or tree stand. Some nutritionists advise hunters to follow the “O-P-P” diet for outdoor activity in cold temperatures. This diet calls for oatmeal (O) at breakfast, a peanut butter sandwich (P) at lunch, and pasta (P) at dinner time. These complex carbohydrate rich foods break down slowly, giving you the fuel that you need to remain alert and active all day long.
Protect Your Core
One of the most affordable ways that you can keep your core toasty is with disposable hand warmers. Before you get cold, tuck a couple of them into your interior jacket pockets. Instead of wearing a single insulated jacket, opt for multiple thin layers. These layers will give you a better range of movement and allow you to shed or add layers as needed to stay comfortable.
Another great method for keeping your core warm is to put a couple of freshly baked potatoes wrapped in foil in your interior jacket pockets before heading out for the hunt. Over the course of a few hours, the potatoes will gradually release warmth. Once they’ve cooled down a bit, you can eat them, producing even more body heat and keeping you fueled for the duration of your hunting session.
Maintain Hand and Feet Comfort and Function
Once you’ve outfitted your core properly, cover your hands and feet. Taking a few extra steps to conceal your head and neck, such as wearing a turtleneck or scarf, will keep a lot of heat from escaping. Gloves, mittens, and hand warmers will keep your hands toasty for hours. Select a pair or gloves or mittens that doesn’t prohibit your movement, and make sure to pack an extra pair in case one pair gets wet while you’re out hunting.
Many hunters make the mistake of wearing the heaviest socks that they can find, leaving them susceptible to reduced circulation and limited moisture wicking. Once your feet get wet, they get cold, making your whole body even colder. Choose socks or boot liners intended to wick moisture, such as wool socks. When you shop for boots, look for a brand name product that boasts good insulation and waterproofing.
When it’s cold and you’re ready to hurry up and finish for the day, the last thing that you want is to have to slow down. Allow ample time for cold weather hunts so that you can pace yourself. When you rush on a cold day, you’ll end up sweating, which will make you colder as the sweat dries. Leave your head uncovered while you’re walking to decrease perspiration, and force yourself to stop every 50 paces or so, particularly if you’re going uphill.
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It’s always better to be safe than sorry. The last thing that you want to do is ruin a great hunting trip by not taking the necessary safety precautions or put yourself at risk for major health complications. Take the extra time to make sure that you’ll be warm and dry during your next hunt.