Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you have to give up your love of hunting.
Winter is an excellent time for hunting small game species such as pheasants, squirrels and rabbits.
As with any other time of year, it’s important to stay comfortable and safe while you hunt. Knowing what to wear and what to bring will help you avoid cold-weather hazards like frostbite and hypothermia. It’ll also set you up for a more enjoyable and successful hunting experience, especially during late-season deer hunting.
Follow these three tips to make the most of your winter hunting adventure.
- Dress in Layers
- Protect Your Extremities
- Set Yourself Up for Winter Hunting Success
#1: Dress in Layers
The best way to stay safe and comfortable outside is to layer your cold weather clothing. Choose moisture-wicking fabrics that use capillary action to move moisture away from your skin and keep you dry. Avoid cotton, as it traps moisture and makes it harder to stay warm.
1: Base layer
2: Middle layer
3: Outer layer
#1: Base Layer
The main purpose of your base layer is to wick moisture away from your skin so your body stays warm and dry. Good fabrics include polyester, nylon and merino wool.
Depending on how cold it gets, some hunters opt to wear a heat therapy belt to maintain core body temperature and keep the waist and torso warm.
#2: Middle Layer
Your middle layer serves as insulation. It traps heat against your body to keep you warm. Choose a thick material such as polyester fleece, down or wool for best results.
#3: Outer Layer
Your outer layer protects you from the elements, including cold temperatures and precipitation. Choose a waterproof material that repels moisture to shield your body from wind, rain and snow.
Other good features include vents that allow proper air flow, along with adjustable hemlines and sleeves. A two-layer jacket gives you the best of both worlds: an inner layer for extra insulation and a waterproof outer layer for weather protection. A breathable shell helps your body avoid overheating. Look for a coat, rain slicker or bib in quality materials such as polyester or nylon.
#2: Protect Your Extremities
In addition to dressing in layers, you must also keep your head, hands and feet warm while hunting in cold weather. Your extremities lose heat more quickly and are at greater risk of frostbite when left uncovered. For hunters, it’s much harder to make accurate shots when your hands or feet are freezing cold.
Head & Neck
Cover your head with a quality stocking cap. Look for an insulated cap that covers your ears and forehead. For best results, choose one with a soft inner layer and a weatherproof outer layer. You may also choose to wear a face mask to protect your nose, cheeks and mouth from frigid temperatures. Some hunters also wear a neck gaiter to protect against cold winds. It also prevents heat from escaping through shirt or jacket collars.
A quality pair of gloves is a must for any prolonged outdoor activity. Gloves should have a moisture-wicking interior liner with a waterproof outer layer. You may also wear a hand muff around your waist for extra warmth.
Bring along a supply of hand warmers if you need even more cold weather protection. You can find single use and reusable brands available. Hand warmers are air-activated tools that give you up to 8 hours of extra heat, depending on the type and size you buy. They can be inserted in your gloves or under the cuff of your sleeve. If you attach them to your wrist, they will heat the blood flowing to your hands for prolonged comfort. For best results, activate your hand warmers before heading outside to let them warm up in advance.
Legs & Feet
Proper footwear is essential for navigating over any terrain and for keeping your feet toasty warm while you hunt. Look for winter boots with good insulation, quality tread, appropriate arch support and a toe box with plenty of room for warm socks.
Wear quick-drying, moisture wicking socks made from merino wool or similar quality material. You can also find footwarmers that work just like hand warmers – look for a brand that fits comfortably inside your shoes without feeling too tight. Another good cold-weather hack is to put handwarmers in your pants pockets, where they will radiate heat down your legs.
#3: Set Yourself Up for Winter Hunting Success
Now that you know what to wear, it’s just as important to know what to bring for cold weather hunting. It all starts with nutrition and hydration.
Eat Your Protein
For winter hunting trips, bring along healthy, protein-rich snacks to keep you energized and help your body stay warm. Good options include nuts and beef jerky. A traditional breakfast of bacon and eggs is another great choice before heading outside.
Drinking plenty of fluid is just as important in cold weather as it is during the dog days of summer. Use an insulated bottle or thermos to keep hot liquids hot and all liquids from freezing.
Movement helps your body stay warm and fight off cold temperatures. If you’re spending long periods of time in a blind or stand, there are several small movements you can make to generate heat. Even simple exercises like flexing and moving your fingers and toes, and squeezing your knees and elbows, are usually all you need.
Bring Fire Supplies
Knowing how to start a fire is an essential outdoor skill. It’s especially important in cold weather if you need to warm up fast or dry off after getting wet.
Fire-starting supplies should be weather proof and easy to carry. Look for environmentally friendly, biodegradable materials. Good examples include sawdust, recycled paper, textile waste, cotton balls or dryer lint. Other tools for a fire starter kit may include waterproof matches, lighter and fire starters such as ferrocerium rods or flint.
Prepare an Emergency Kit
Finally, be prepared for whatever Old Man Winter dishes out with a cold weather emergency kit in your vehicle. If you find yourself stuck outdoors or on the side of the road, be sure to have the following winter gear on hand at all times:
- Phone charger
- First aid supplies
- Jumper cables
- Snow tires or chains
- Healthy snacks and drinks
- Sand or cat litter
- Extra clothes, footwear and gloves
- Tow rope
- Ice scraper, brush and shovel
Book Your Next Hunting Adventure Today!
Whether you enjoy hunting in cold weather or during warmer times of year, Huunt makes it easy to book your next outing. You can browse our website for guided or self-guided hunts by game species and location. A free starter membership is all you need to purchase listings and get access to other members-only perks to boost your experience.
Join Huunt today and start planning your next hunting trip!