When the wind turns bone-chilling cold, the need to stay warm can become an overpowering mental obstacle to success for late-season deer hunters.
Taking youngsters out for a late-season adventure can be challenging to maintain comfort, keep spirits high and leave the hunt with happy smiles.
According to some experienced women hunters, who are experts in their field, it is not impossible to create an enjoyable late-season hunt for yourself and your kiddos.
They share some of their tips and tricks to help keep faces cheerful and toes warm while waiting on that wary buck.
Karin Holder, of Raised Hunting, has had a lot of experience in the late-season cold and offered some tips for battling the elements.
“We used to live in Montana where the winters were long; we experienced wind and sub-zero degrees the majority of the time,” Holder said.
“We used the Primos Double Bull blind to block the wind and offer some protection from the elements.”
This allowed them to get out and hunt without being miserable. The Holders would position the blind and surround it on three sides with hay bales to provide “a ton of warmth and insulation,” Holder said.
They would finish the setup by lining the bottom of the blind with a blanket to provide a soft place to sit and help block the cold from coming through the ground.
“The blind is also portable, so if that location was not successful, we had the ability to move elsewhere. The kids could nap and get away with a little more movement, so everyone was happy!”
David and Karin Holder, with their sons, Warren and Easton, share a lighthearted family moment in the late-season cold. (Photo courtesy of Karin Holder)
When it comes to the kids, keeping them warm and entertained is an even harder challenge. A little snack can go a long way in boosting spirits.
“When the kids are with us, we always make a trip to the local store and get hot chocolate or a big cookie,” Holder said.
And that’s some good advice for creating favorable experiences for kids and getting them more involved in the hunting lifestyle.
Kandi Kisky, co-host of Whitetail Freaks, offered some great ideas for combating the cold of the late season.
“I have been hunting 20-some years now,” Kisky admitted. “We just now found a new trick. Cabela’s came out with a battery-operated vest to keep your core warm, and that is a big thing.”
Indeed it is; keeping your core temperature in check is key. In addition to jackets and vest to maintain core body heat, having something around the neck area will pay huge dividends towards comfort level.
“I like putting hand warmers behind my neck, under my neck gaiter. When you don’t get that wind and cold on your neck, boy, it is a great way to help you stay warm,” Kisky said.
Kisky offered a wise word of caution to hunters making long hikes to hunting areas. She warned overdressing for the walk can cause perspiration, leading to a rapid cool-down once exposed to cold wind. She recommends carrying cold-weather outerwear gear and then putting everything on once the final destination is reached.
Kandi Kisky and her son, Kaleb, share massive whitetail success during late shotgun season. (Photo courtesy of Kandi Kisky)
Kisky shared the story of her daughter’s first successful deer hunt at only six years old. During the hunt, she wiggled around even though it was warm outside.
“We had everything. She had her iPad, her iPod, and we brought snacks. We couldn’t believe we even killed a deer that night,” Kisky said. “She is now a lot better and a lot more patient; you (sometimes) have to take the whole kitchen sink when you take the kids, to keep their minds busy and not thinking, ‘Hey, where’s the deer?’”
As a final tip, Kisky expressed the advantages of a ground blind when taking kids hunting.
“They need the freedom to move and squirm and eat a snack. You don’t want kids to have a bad experience.”
Indeed we do not. Though most of us try to pull kids out of the house and away from electronics, sometimes a compromise is necessary to help boost morale.
There are some other ways to help keep spirits and morale high. Like any other professional, Tiffany Lakosky, of Outdoor Channel’s Crush, has a few tips of her own for adverse weather during the late season.
Despite the cold, Tiffany Lakosky has found ways to remain warm for late-season success. (Photo courtesy of Tiffany Lakosky)
“For us, that's easy (to keep morale high). When it's super cold in Iowa, the deer are on their feet, so it's always fun to hunt … you know you will see a bunch of deer,” Lakosky said.
Hunting when the possibilities of notching a tag are greater can foster an increased ability to withstand some discomfort.
Lakosky considers Therma Cell heated insoles and Under Armour’s Gunpowder outerwear series – featuring kidney-warmer pockets in the jacket – as her go-to cold-weather apparel.
“Sometimes, I bring a fleece blanket out just to cover my legs and that helps immensely.”
Though the Lakosky’s son, Cameron Lee, is too young to hunt, he already bundles up with his parents to check trail cameras and spend time outdoors. Lakosky shared the sentiment of Kandi Kisky when she stated, “If I have a child out hunting when it's cold, I most definitely (would) have a heater; you want it to be a positive experience for them and no one wants to be cold!”
When heading out this late season with, or without, the kids, following these simple tips will help ensure a little more comfort and hopefully produce extra determination for success.