As December grows on us here in the south, along comes increasingly colder temperatures. As a deer hunter, the thought of cold weather always seems to excite us. However, every hunter at some point has probably left the woods earlier than they should on a mid 20's morning due to lack of deer movement and uncontrolled shivering. It's proven that colder temperatures increase daylight activity in whitetails, but sometimes a hunter's tactics need to change to increase success.
First and most importantly, a hunters wardrobe is critical for cold weather. A cold hunter is not going to make it long in the woods, and concentration levels will decline, making the time spent in the woods less productive. The best way to conserve body heat is through layers of clothing. Starting with the bottom layer, a moisture wicking material like the RedHead Enduraskin Cold Gear, http://www.basspro.com/RedHead-Enduraskin-Cold-Pants-for-Men/product/10206735/37674, will remove moisture from the skin and help body heat retention on the skin. Next, a moderately thick long sleeve Tshirt will add to the effectiveness of the base layer. On top of the long sleeve Tshirt, a sweatshirt with windstopping material will prevent that cold north wind from biting thru. Finally, a heavy dual layered overcoat like the RedHead Bone Dry CWS parka, http://www.basspro.com/RedHead-BONEDRY-C-W-S--Parka-with-ZipOut-Liner-Jacket/Vest-for-Men/product/94944/86795, will stop wind and keep the body heat within the under layers, where it needs to be to maintain warmth. Keep in mind that while the layers will increase warmth, they will also increase sweat. If the hunt involves a long and strenuous walk, carry in the top couple of layers and add them when your hunting location is reached. No matter how warm your clothing is, sweat is your worst enemy, and will cut a hunting trip short when it turns into what seems like ice on your skin.
Equally as important as your clothing is your footwear. Starting with socks, always wear a thin moisture wicking liner sock as the first layer. Then add a thick insulated sock like the RedHead Lifetime hunting sock, http://www.basspro.com/RedHead-Lifetime-Guarantee-Hunting-Socks-for-Men-1-Pair/product/34713/93735. With a lifetime guarantee, this sock will keep your feet warm and comfortable. Next, a well insulated boot with at least 800 grams of thinsulate will allow your feet to produce and keep body heat. Lastly, boot covers like the ArtcticShield covers, http://www.basspro.com/ArcticShield-Boot-Covers-for-Men/product/55198/235134, will keep your feet cozy in extremely cold weather. Carry these covers in with you and throw a toe warmer inside before putting them over your boots when you reach your hunting location and your feet will thank you.
Now that you have covered the most important part of keeping yourself warm and comfortable, selecting a productive hunting location is next. A whitetail in cold temperatures will always seek places in open sunlight. This makes cutover and CRP extremely productive. One of the very best places to hunt bucks in post rut cold weather is a funnel area between thickets or the downwind side of a cutover or CRP field. Does will pile into these thick areas with sunlight and bucks will pass downwind hoping to smell out a doe that still may be in heat. As hunters often feel that early morning and late evening hours are most productive for deer movement, in cold weather the late morning to midday hours will see more activity. It's not a bad idea on those extremely cold mornings to sleep a little later, eat a good breakfast, and get to the stand around 8am. When the sun hits the natural browse and thaws it out, deer will get out of the bed and feed. On cold, sunny days, you may see deer from mid morning all the way into early afternoon.
With cold weather on its way, get yourself prepared to stay warm with layers of good clothing and warm footwear. Think of places to hunt where deer can feel safe in thick areas, while at the same time benefit from sunlight and warmth. Spend as much time as you can in the stand and take lunch with you. When the warm sun shines in midday, be ready to catch a buck slipping through looking for love.
By: Jimmy Washam