Stay Warm and Stay Longer

I remember many years ago in my youth hunting in Nebraska in late November. My best friend and I were full of desire but short on supplies.

A few miss-matched leaky floater decoys, a cheap call, some cheap shells and an old car were about all the gear we had. 
Being cold was a big part of our early winter hunting adventures.

Back in the day of cotton long-johns, blue jeans and three pairs of socks in a leather boot, we would build a fire in a coffee can and huddle up to stay warm.

Although we tried to always maintain a “superior mental attitude” (pronounced “denial”) I learned that not admitting your cold is a long way from being warm.

As your jeans froze so solid that it became difficult to walk and your toes hurt with a deep sharp pain like a nail was being hammered through them eventually you had to go home. Usually, the going home was way too early in our hunting day.

Albeit our desire was impressive; retreat was a life assuring necessity.

In the end perhaps the only thing that kept us alive was a good heater in the old car.

Today, I have under-armor, gortex, fleece lined, insolated everything. Charcoal activated hand and feet warmers and 5mm neoprene reinforced waders. Everything is top notch and camo coordinated.

As I spent some time in a layout blind this past winter in -4 degree weather to shoot one goose, I reminisced about how much easier hunting has gotten for me and how much of the experience of pain has been removed. Yes, I still get cold; but not cold-cold. 

When hunting takes me to the extreme ~ below freezing with high winds ~ I know how to fight it and I have secured the tools which allow me to actually enjoy the hunt.

Layering your clothing should be the rule for the Waterfowler.  Moisture displaces air which is the source of insulation.  Materials used when I was younger absorb moisture and became much less effective on the wet cold days which I learned to hunt in.

Today we have many providers of top rate layering clothes which keep moisture away from the skin and hold the insulation properties. Keeping these materials close to the skin is the first priority. New light form fitting materials, (like Muddy Water) are a great place to start. 

A second layer of fleece lined pants and shirt is another good choice. This layer should hold in the body heat.

The next layer should be a good quality outer garment which keeps the cold out. Make sure it is wind and water resistant. Overalls and a coat of good quality is in order.

Now here is a tip, wear a tight fitting vest, like that sold by Under Armor on top of your first layer. On extremely cold days, use several heat packets like HEAT or GRABB. Place them in front pant and shirt pockets, and in that tight fitting vest. Place some in those pockets on the coat as well. This action has allowed me to be down right comfortable in conditions that ran my buddies back to the truck. 

Want to win the long time hunter game of “surrender”; also known as ~ who will say they “want to go home,” first?

The “looser” is the guy who admits the elements are too much.

It is a game that most the guys I know might not want to win … but they sure don’t want to loose!

Dress for the weather and you will not only be comfortable, you will be able to poke fun at your lesser prepared buddies.

In till I see you in the field, be safe, be good, and be LUCKY!Type your paragraph here.