Dear Writing Huntress,
I just moved from a small town in Georgia to an even smaller town in Montana. We started duck hunting this year, and I wore my bibs, but by the time we were done setting up, I was sweating. Ten minutes later, I was frozen in my blind. Do you have any tricks to prevent this? Deer hunting is another issue; I get so cold in the stand that I end up going home early. I really like living here, but the cold is ruining my hunting! Help!
Wintry in Wolf Point
The day my husband and I left North Carolina to move here, it was 98 degrees. When we arrived in North Dakota, it was 32 degrees; I most definitely feel your pain.
Dealing with the cold, especially when hunting, can be tricky. Once you figure out what works for you, your hunting seasons will be far more pleasant.
Let me start by commending you for enjoying duck hunting up in the Great White North! The migration is positively stunning, and the abundant waterfowl makes for happy hunters and full freezers. However, many a hunter suffers from sweating when setting up the spread, only to transform into a frozen “huntersicle” when it’s time to wait on the birds. I, like you, swore by thick, quilt-like hunting gear until I learned of the wonders of layering.
Last year, conveniently, during a blizzard, my husband informed me that the mallards had officially arrived. He told me to ditch my usual quilted gear and layer the warmest clothes I owned.
The warmest garment I owned? A pair of camo dinosaur footie pajamas my mom got me for the previous Christmas. Sure, they were created for adolescent male children, but they kept me warm.
Here are my tips on layering clothing for hunting:
1. A long-sleeved shirt and thin pair of long johns, layered underneath the footie pajamas. Even in the coldest of conditions, I wear one pair of Browning’s Merino wool socks, but when things get to footie pajama weather, I make an exception.
2. In order to combat the wind and keep heat in, I choose my go-to pants, the Haley Vines All Terrain Rain Pants. Keep in mind, these pants are not insulated, but they layer extremely well and are waterproof to keep you dry when the ground is damp or the snow flies.
3. The next item I layered with is a hoodie. Over a hoodie, I sport the Haley Vines All Terrain Rain Jacket. I swear by the Girls with Guns Fur Hoodie because it is the warmest I’ve found.
4. When you’re choosing a good winter boot, you can’t go wrong with anything from The Original Muck Boot Company. I always wear the Arctic Pros in Mossy Oak Break-Up. They never fail to keep my feet warm, even in the coldest of conditions.
Discarding these layers while setting up your spread will help reduce sweating. Reducing sweating will keep your clothing dry for when you need to warm back up. This cycle makes layering the best option for your chilly Montana hunting needs.
If you’re able to use a ground blind while duck hunting, use it to your advantage. I’ve been known to bring along a sleeping bag to make my blind that much more warm while waiting for mallards.
For deer hunting, I invest in Hot Hands, thermoses of hot beverages and electric socks for lengthy stand sits. It’s also a good idea to stand up and dance a little to get the blood flowing every so often; just make sure your harness is tight and the deer aren’t watching!
Wintry, the hunting up here is difficult and cold, but the outcome is well worth the toil. Try your best to stay warm this season and, believe me, next year you’ll laugh about how you used to think 20 degrees was cold.
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