All-day sits during the heart of the rut are almost always a good idea. They are, also, almost always hard to pull off.
Coming off a week of all-day sits in Wisconsin, I can attest to that fact. I have no trouble staying in the woods all day—when the rut is rocking and deer are moving.
Thing is, the rut didn’t seem to exist and deer sightings were exceptionally sparse. What had seemed like a great idea at 5 a.m. didn’t seem so much fun by 5 p.m.
That said, I was able to stick it out and had a good buck shown itself, the reward would have been worth the effort. I’ve long advocated that you should spend as much time as possible on stand during this key period in November and it’s advice I practice. I’ve killed some pretty good bucks because of it and, along the way, I’ve adopted a few items that help make all-day outings more comfortable. Here are a few of my favorites:
I’ve been forced to abandon my plan to sit all day due to cold feet on more than one occasion. But those instances are far fewer once I started to implement this sytem.
It starts with the Aerohead Sport boot for LaCrosse. I’m a fan of tall rubber boots not just because they cut down on scent during the walk into my location but because they allow me to use any available standing water to really hide my tracks and ensure that I stay completely dry.
The key to keeping your feet warm is to keep them dry. These boots feature neoprene and AeroFoam uppers, making them incredibly light. The lower is comprised of injected polyurethane – which provides excellent insulating properties while maintaining the boot’s light weight.
Another tip: After settling into the stand before daylight, I slip the boots off and let my feet cool off and the boots to breathe. This makes a huge difference in keeping things dry and warm for the day.
November is a glorious month. It’s also a month of extremes. It’s not unusual to see daytime highs that are 20-30 degrees warmer than those seen in the morning and evening.
If you’re going to hunt all day, you need to regulate your body temperature and the best way to do that is with layers. I’ll wear just a vest like this one during my walk into the stand. This keeps me from overheating but still provides some protection from the cold. Being windproof is critical – wind robs body temperature in a hurry.
You can choose to hunt with the vest over a sweatshirt and add additional layers or keep it stowed in your pack until you need it.
We’re out to kill deer, not win fashion shows. While this setup may earn you a few smirks from your buddies, it will help make an all-day sit much more enjoyable.
The built-in facemask is excellent at keeping the wind off your face and the heavy fleece hat makes a big difference. Again, don’t wear it on the walk in. Keep it in your back for when you need it.
You’ll need two pairs of these. One for the walk in. And one to change into once you’re on stand.
Trust me, it makes a big-time difference. Again, staying dry means staying warm. If you walk any distance to your stand, your feet will sweat. And you will get cold eventually no matter how much insulation your boots have.
Change out your socks and you’ll sit all day more easily.
At $499.99, these things aren’t exactly cheap. But they make all-day hunts far more productive.
I’m a believer in the use of ozone to eliminate human scent. One of the biggest challenges during an all-day sit is the fact that wind direction will almost always change at least three times during the day—this is especially true in hilly terrain.
When the sun first rises and the air begins to warm, you’ll see a slight shift in wind direction along with upward-flowing thermals. As the temps stabilize, the wind direction will as well. Then the process works in reverse in the evening.
The Ozonics unit helps handle some of the scent and allows you to sit the same stand all day.
Look, hunting is supposed to be fun. Sitting a stand all day during the rut can be fun—but you need to enjoy the experience for that to be the case.
Sitting in one spot for 14 hours can be a chore. So take a break. I like to climb down out of the stand at about 1:30 p.m. That’s usually after any midday movement has happened and just before the evening action kicks in. Taking a short break makes a big difference and eating something more substantial than a sandwich makes the day a little better as well.
With one of these little stoves in your pack, you have options behind PB&J. Boil some water and you can prepare any of the freeze-dried camp meals like those from Mountain House. You might be surprised at this little break can make the day more enjoyable.