Thursday, November 17, 2022

Dress for Success- Hunting the Cold

My wife and me.  South Dakota.

 I don't mind hunting in the cold....too much.  This year (2022), the day a I arrived in South Dakota, in early November, it was 80 degrees!  Two days later, the high was 45 degrees with gusts to 45 mph.  The next week, the lows were in the low 20's, the wind was consistently stiff, and the hunting was awesome. After a week of bird dogs and fraternization I checked the weather for the next week. The weather app showed a strong blast of rain, ice, snow (6.5") and blasting winds on the way.  I pulled out the day before it arrived.  

Blue, me, Chicken

3 SD Roosters

Prairie Chicken

Hunting in cold weather is usually rewarding.  It localizes the birds, for the most part, and the wind can keep them from hearing the dog's approach from the downwind.  But, there is a limit to what I will tolerate.  Blizzard hunting is out for this septuagenarian.  

The top picture is of my wife and me.  It was below 30 degrees that day, and breezy, but the bright sun helped keep our faces warm.  You can't see it, but, I have 4 layers below the orange, windproof jacket.  Marino wool under-layer, cotton long sleeve t-shirt, wool long-sleeved shirt,  and a long-sleeved, gortex-lined Marino wool zip-up sweater.  My wife was similarly attired- mostly in Orvis products, since they have a great women's line of hunting clothing. 

I don't wear "long johns", but my wife does.  On really cold days, I suppose they would add comfort.  I find they seem heavy and restricting.  They are just not for me. 

The gloves are wind-proof and water-proof.  Good gloves are mandatory!  Wool socks in good boots with good tread, and hats, wool and doubled up, are critical, too.  An adage says, "If your feet are cold, put on a hat."  Truth.  

One piece of cold weather gear in the picture is relatively new to me.  It is the neck gator.  It keeps the neck, front and back, and ears and mouth warm and out of the wind.  I have several of them now.  Mandatory cold weather gear for me! 

With the right gear, cold weather hunting can be fruitful and very enjoyable.  Without the proper gear, it will be a miserable experience.  As a side note, I've been married to this woman for a long time.  I will testify to the truth of the adage, "If momma ain't happy, ain't no one happy."  Trust me when I say, if momma wants a certain piece of clothing to go hunting with you, buy it.  Your day will be so much more enjoyable with a warm, happy significant other alongside.  

Don't forget to mount the gun a few times to get used to the extra thickness of you clothing.  Many a time I've raised the gun to my shoulder, counting on "muscle memory", only to have the gun butt hang up on my hunting coat with no shot at the bird!

Good luck and have some fun this winter.  Most states and seasons close around the New Year, but South Dakota extended pheasant season until the end of January.  (ONLY pheasant season, I might add.  Not Sharps, chickens, or Huns!). If you decide to hunt late season, you'll most likely be pleasantly alone.  Shoot straight! 

I've listed some links below for a few pieces of gear to get you started.  Note: Buying a product off the links helps support the BLOG, at no cost to you.  Thank you! 

Marino Wool Neck Gator:

Gamehide hunting jacket:

Orange Wool Watch Cap: