BITTER COLD REQUIRES BETTER GEARFrom downright miserable to almost intolerable, those final, bitter cold days of the hunting season can be difficult if the weather takes a turn for the worse, which it often does. Yet this time of year can offer some of your best bowhunting action, especially for big bucks back on feeding patterns after the rut. Here are some tips and gear to keep you in the field longer when the temperature plummets.
1. HoMocs are by far the number one item on my list of apparel accessories. Each garment features patented pocket placement for optimum utilization of those air activated heat packs. From Balaclavas, Neck Gators, Scarves, Beanies and Boot Covers, the HotMocs brand of products make the most of the heat source. It is hard for me to choose a favorite piece in the line-up. How many times have you placed a Hot Hand or similar product on the back of your neck only to have it slip out of position whenever you move? HotMocs solve this problem by keeping the heat right where you want it. The over-the-boot design of the boot covers help focus heat on your toe area which is the first portion of your feet to get cold. The added warmth aids with circulation, helping keep your feet warmer.
2. For the hunting females in our audience, the SHE C4 System is unbeatable in my opinion. Start with the pants and vest that feature a patented zipper attachment system that joins the two into a super set of bibs. You can unzip the pants from the vest without ever taking off your jacket, and re-zip them back together again easily in the field. They can be worn separately as a pant and vest or zipped together to form the bibs. The jacket has many features conducive to bowhunting, including a small opening in the back for the safety harness strap. It is warm, waterproof, windproof, quiet and fitted for the female form without the bulk.
3. Hunter’s Specialties entered the scent control garment industry with an excellent product called Scent-A-Way Tek 4. It uses state-of-the-art silver technology to permanently control odor caused by bacteria. Human odor is actually the smell emitting from the waste excreted by bacteria living on your body. In cold weather, you may make the mistake of dressing too warmly for walking into and out of your stand, thereby getting sweaty, a condition in which bacteria thrive. Even though you are bundled up under layers of clothing unwanted scent can still escape, which is why winter time odor control is important. Tek 4 garments are engineered to provide permanent moisture management incorporating “catch, move and release” technology, which traps moisture and moves it away from your body. It can then be treated by the silver and evaporated away. This has the added benefit of keeping the hunter dry and comfortable in various weather conditions. Silver is also one of the most thermally conductive elements on the planet, optimizing body temperature control.
4. Here’s a secret for buying apparel, sleeping bags etc. Look at the seams. You do not want the stitching on the outside and the inside to meet, creating a cold spot. Garments without baffled seams are sewn through the layers, which can allow cold air to enter. It may not seem like much, but in bitter cold it can make a huge difference.
5. Any uncovered area will lose body heat in cold weather. It is important to wear a hat in cold weather to prevent loss of body heat. Your body will act to protect your brain, withdrawing blood from extremities in the event that you are without a hat in cold weather. A wool blend hat with itch-free fleece lining that completely covers the head and ears, combined with a jacket with a hood are among your best options. But this combo does tend to muffle our hearing and field of view, therefore perpetuating many a bowhunter’s notorious habit for lack of proper head gear. Use your head, literally, to stay warm.