Persistent bowhunters know that battling the cold weather conditions associated with the late season allows ample opportunities to fill their freezer and punch any unfilled tags. However, you need to spend lots of hours on stand in near-freezing conditions to reap the rewards of late-season bowhunting. These tips will help you stay warm and spend plenty of time in your stand so you’ll be waiting comfortably when a big buck finally walks within shooting range.
Pack Your Clothes
Cold-weather bibs and parkas aren’t designed for use during periods of high activity. Instead of wearing them on a long walk to your treestand or blind, transport them in a backpack and change into your insulating layers once you reach your destination. Not only will you find it’s easier to walk without your thick outerwear, you’ll also avoid breaking a heavy sweat right before you sit for a long time in the cold. Sweat will make your base layers damp, which will lower your core body temperature and make you cold and uncomfortable while you’re sitting still for extended periods of time.
Draw Your Bow
We’ve all heard stories of bowhunters who were unable to draw their bow when the moment of truth finally presented itself. Unfortunately, muscles get cold and stiff when you sit in a stationary position for an extended time. Avoid letting your muscles lock up by doing one practice draw for every hour you spend hunting in below-freezing temperatures. This will keep your muscles fresh and also help you practice reaching full draw in bulky clothing.
Practice Before You Hunt
There’s no substitute for practice when it comes to shooting your bow while wearing heavy clothing. Because things like facemasks, thick sleeves and gloves will change how your bow feels in your hand at full draw, the best way to assure your arrow will hit its mark is by replicating your hunting scenario. To do this, set up a treestand, put on your cold-weather clothing and take a few practice shots. Sometimes bowhunters need to adjust their draw weight or length to draw their bow effectively with bulky clothing during late-season hunts, so do some shooting beforehand to find out if you need to make adjustments.
Having a fully charged cell phone is helpful if you’re hunting alone, need a mobile map to navigate your hunting area, and to communicate with others, especially in emergency situations. Cell phone batteries die in cold weather, and even the best phones are useless with a dead battery. You’ll never encounter this problem if you have a portable charger. Charge the portable charger using a wall plug-in before your hunt, and rest assured you’ll have plenty of battery life in the field.
Pack A Thermos
It might sound ridiculous, but sometimes a warm cup of coffee or hot chocolate is all it takes to keep your spirits high and mind sharp when the weather becomes unbearable. The most important aspect of bowhunting that factors into late-season success is time spent on stand, so do what you can to make those hours enjoyable. Plus, warm cups will keep your hands warm and hot water is a luxury to rinse your hands with after field dressing a deer in cold weather.
The late season is arguably the best time of year for bowhunters to fill their tags because deer are unpressured and become predictable as they frequent food sources. Battling cold weather during this time isn’t as intimidating as it sounds when you’re outfitted with the proper tools and knowledge. Make sure you’re prepared to spend as much time as you can on your stand and you might be rewarded with an exciting late-season hunt and a big deer to fill your freezer.