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6 Ways Stay Warm While Hunting in Cold Weather

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Photograph by Donald M Jones

Have you ever hunted in truly cold temperatures? And by “truly cold,” I mean ₋20 degrees Fahrenheit or below before factoring in the wind chill. There are many inexpensive yet effective ways to beat the cold. Here are some I’ve used to fend off plummeting temperatures and hunt comfortably all day.

1) Be Crazy About Cardboard
Placing a piece of cardboard underneath your feet will block out the cold and prevent it from burrowing through your boot sole. And I’ve learned through experience that even boots supposedly good down to ₋60 degrees Fahrenheit will let cold air in. You also can tear off strips of cardboard and stuff them in the cracks and holes of a box blind to keep frigid air from getting to you.

2) Bring Boot Blankets
Some hunters are just prone to cold feet no matter what the insulation factor of their boots. I’m one of those guys, and I find that an inexpensive pair of boot blankets works great as supplemental insulation on the coldest hunts. I slip them over my hunting boots, place heat packs between the boots and the blankets, and have toasty tootsies all day.

3) Invest in Heat Packs
Speaking of heat packs, buy a bunch of mega-size, disposable heat packs designed for large body parts. Place a couple around your midsection to keep your core warm and prevent your body from drawing precious heat away from your extremities.

4) Double Up on Hats
Remember how your mom used to tell you that 80 percent of heat loss happens through the head? While this pearl of maternal wisdom was designed to get you to wear a hat in winter, today we know it’s not true. But that doesn’t mean you should go hatless while hunting in cold weather. When I’m sitting for hours waiting for a behemoth buck to appear, I wear two winter hats: one made of wool and the other of fleece. They work well together to keep my noggin warm.

5) Eat the Right Food
Your goal is to avoid spikes in blood sugar, which can make you cold, so load up on complex carbohydrates with food like nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Consume protein-rich beans and unprocessed meats, and avoid things like bread, crackers, and candy, or anything high in saturated or trans fats.

6) Drink Hot Water
Consuming hot water throughout the day will help you stave off dehydration (which contributes to your getting cold), and will help warm you from the inside out.