Winter hunting means cold weather for many. Here's how to prepare for a late-season deer hunt.
Northern deer hunters who are used to garnering their venison in October or even November are in for a surprise when they enter the woods in December or January.
In some places, temperatures can be below freezing for days on end with cold winds and stormy conditions only adding additional spice to the equation.
Hunters planning on spending the day in the woods are advised to dress in warm layers starting with wool blend socks, insulated underwear and fleece or wool outer layers. Hats and gloves are a must along with a warm face mask and a windbreaker to ward off bitterly cold breezes at dawn and dusk.
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Smart hunters will carry a good supply of chemical hand warmers as well as toe warmers, especially when sitting for long periods and when temperatures begin to plummet in late afternoon. Most of these products promise "12 hours of warmth" but the wise hunter will double up on both just in case.
The best advice is to start a new warmer before the old one goes cold because it takes 30 minutes or more for these products to begin producing usable heat.
The late-season hunter's pack should also contain plenty of water or hot drinks, sandwiches and energy snacks.
Eat or drink something every two hours to ward off cold and hunger. Pre-pack snacks and food in re-sealable pouches to avoid making noise while opening standard foil or paper packaging.
Late-season deer can hear such noises from considerable distances once snow is on the ground and the leaf cover is gone.
One good tip is to pack a small gas stove and a tin cup so that coffee, tea or hot cocoa can be brewed in the woods. Pick a period when natural noises are highest and deer activity is lowest, and then fire up the stove for a quick, hot drink.