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Hunting during the late season can be extremely productive. From the lack of leaves on trees making roosted turkeys easier to spot to coyotes being more susceptible to calling, there are many benefits to hunting during the colder months. However, chillier temperatures require more preparation.
Adding a space heater to your blind and wearing thermally insulated base layers are great ways to keep your core warm when the temps drop, but your feet are one area of your body that tends to suffer the most during a cold weather hunt. This guide details how to keep your feet warm while hunting, ensuring a comfortable and safe hunt that will guarantee you a catch.
Insulated Hunting Boots
Insulated hunting boots prevent your feet from freezing during hunts and allow you to persevere in even the roughest of terrains. Enhancing your comfort in these uncomfortable conditions allows you to hunt in deep snow and wade through swamps easily. They even allow you to stand in a stationary position in sub-zero temperatures while waiting for your prey to approach.
There are several features you should look out for in insulated hunting boots, depending on the terrains and environments, including:
If you are trekking through sludgy swamps or standing in the cold snow, having waterproof boots will keep out the moisture while you hunt.
This is a reflective lining resembling a metallic dot pattern that reflects heat onto your feet.
If you’re an avid hunter, you’re going to need a pair of boots that can withstand all weather conditions without experiencing wear and tear.
Warming pads are portable heat devices that keep the body warm and relieve pain during cold and freezing temperatures. Depending on the warming pad you choose, they apply heat directly to the location you are wearing it, restoring and balancing your temperature to a safe and healthy level.
Two warming pads are most common amongst hunters during the winter season. These are:
These warming pads are not only great for the feet but the whole body, too. They keep your feet warm during cold hunting sessions and alleviate the pain and fatigue caused by extreme temperatures.
Look out for thermal insoles containing insulating layers, or have extra-thick naturally thermal materials such as wool. This provides therapeutic warmth and allows you to carry on hunting in even the coldest of environments.
Heat pads are also great devices for relieving the pain and fatigue caused by cold temperatures. Most portable pads feature a sodium acetate core that you snap to catalyze the heating process, but you can find battery- or electric-powered heat pads for feet as well if you have an outlet in your tree stand or hunting blind.
Other Warming Gear and Tips
For the ultimate defense against the cold, you’ll need to choose the best pair of socks for your hunt. It all comes down to material, and there are some you should actively avoid, including cotton. This is because cotton absorbs sweat and keeps it against your skin. When your socks get wet, they strip your body heat due to evaporation.
The best fabrics to look out for are synthetic material or Merino wool. Many socks designed for cold temperatures are typically made from a blend of synthetic material and wool. Wool is especially great for hunting socks, as not only is it a breathable material, but it wicks away moisture from your body and acts as an insulator.
Be sure to always come prepared, too, and carry an extra pair of comfy socks in case the pair you wear get wet.
There may be times during your hunt that you need to stay in one position. Whether it’s to finally take your shot or if you’re taking a small break to snack or rest, packing a blanket provides your whole body with warmth.
As well as traditional blankets, space blankets are extremely useful in cold conditions. They work by trapping 90% of a person’s radiated body heat that would normally spread into the environment.
Weatherproof Boot Covers
Weatherproof boot covers are an essential part of your winter hunting attire, especially if your environment is wet, sludgy, and snowy. As well as your insulated boots, moisture-wicking socks, and warming pads, these boot covers provide an extra layer of coverage that keeps the weather out and the heat in.
Most boot covers typically have ties at the top to seal yourself from the elements. They secure your feet and ankles and prevent moisture and debris from entering your clothing.
If you’re planning on a long hunt in the cold, chances are, there’ll be times where you’ll be standing around for long periods. Insulated mats are a great way to maintain feet warmth, especially when in a stationary position. They act as a physical barrier between the cold ground, your feet, and the wet weather. Insulated mats allow you to stand on the ground for longer periods without feeling the effects of the cold and maintain your feet’s temperature.
Move Your Feet to Keep Circulation Going
While you may be standing on your insulated mat or wearing high-quality boots, staying in a stationary position for too long can affect your circulation.
Moving your toes and feet while you sit and wait for your prey to approach will circulate your blood while adding friction in your shoes; both these movements will add warmth to your feet and body.
There are certain exercises you can perform that not only help pass time but regulate your body heat, too. One of the best exercises is to curl your toes back and forth and shift your weight from each foot while flexing your leg muscles. Try performing these tricks roughly every half an hour to 45 minutes.
Use Foot Powder
Your feet have more sweat glands per inch than anywhere else on your body, so to manage perspiration that can cool your feet down, use foot powder on your feet and toes before you head out hunting.
The best food powders that reduce perspiration contain highly absorbent materials that work to soak up excess moisture. When searching for foot powder, look out for types that contain baking soda, zinc oxide, arrowroot, and kaolin clay.
Keep Your Head Warm
The more heat lost through your head, the more your body will draw heat from your extremities to compensate, causing your feet to cool down.
Like socks, certain materials work best for headwear, including wool, synthetic fabrics, and sheepskin. Merino wool is a great choice if you are an active hunter, as its moisture-repelling properties will reduce perspiration and ensure you are well insulated.
When choosing an insulated hunting hat, ensure the type you choose doesn’t obscure your visibility. Beanies are great for keeping the heat in while maintaining great peripheral vision. Caps are also great as they block extreme sunlight and glare from the snow from your eyes, allowing you to see better.
Drink Hot Beverages
A flask with a hot beverage inside can warm your core, diverting heat to your extremities. However, it’s important to exercise caution when eating and drinking during a hunt, as anything too aromatic could give your location away to your prey. This is especially vital if you are hunting deer, elk, or hogs, as these animals have an exceptional sense of smell.
One of the best hot beverages to consume is tea. The scent is minimal, and it contains a small amount of caffeine that can keep you going without inducing the anxiety and shakiness of coffee.
From wearing the right attire to performing circulation boosting exercises, these tips on how to keep warm while hunting will enable you to embark on successful hunting trips that are comfortable and safe. Keeping your feet warm on a hunting expedition will ensure that your whole body regulates a healthy temperature, keeping you focused and enabling you to concentrate on taking your shot.