Winter is often considered to be a time when all you can hunt is wet feet and a lousy nose but that’s not entirely true. In fact, it is a perfect time to get some real thrills of the hunt, if provided, you do it the right way and are ready for a real challenge.
For many young hunters, wintertime is harsh and just not worth the effort but we are here to help you with this. We gathered some of the best tips and tricks one can deploy during a winter hunt. There’s a lot to cover too, so let’s not meddle and start right off.
Tip #1: Setting Up Shelter
Now one of the most important things you need to figure out is your shelter. This will be your HQ, this will be your safe zone, and most certainly this will be your home for the next couple of days. The most common one would be setting a tent but hear me out, not all tents are made equally. Some are made for the winter season, others are for summer, in no case one would fit all seasons. The best cold weather tents are those that have thick and sturdy clothing material. Often such tents are on the pricer side, but then again, you can’t expect to get a good tent for a bargain, right? Anyways, get a specific one for harsh weather conditions and you should be fairly ok.
When setting up your tent, it is best that you keep in mind these three key aspects, namely, keep the door zipper away from the wind, clear the pitching zone from snow until you see the ground, and bury the stake (under rocks, snow, etc). Doing so will ensure that your tent won’t be blown by the wind, you won’t be blown by the wind, and that your zone is insulated.
Tip #2: Keeping It Warm
Your hunt is dependent on your own personal warmth. If you are cold, you won’t be able to aim properly, as well as you won’t be able to think methodically. Fire is a necessity you cannot just ignore and the best way to solve this issue is to come armed with knowledge and a few items.
And the first item is a firestarter. In sub-zero temperatures, the last thing you want to do is remove your gloves and fiddle with matches. You’ll freeze fast and your hands will be practically “paralyzed”. A firestarter will help you skip the tedious part and will boost your odds of surviving the night too.
Now your fire is only so good as your fuel. Winter isn’t exactly a good time for dry, highly flammable wood but that doesn’t mean you can’t find substitutes. In my books, dry, dead, dead pine with brown needles sparks like a falling star. You also want to keep an eye for dead standing trees, moss, among other things. The more places where you can gather fuel you have, the better. Lastly, you might also want a wood stove to cook some warm food but if that isn’t exactly mobile for you, a cooking rack got you covered.
Tip #3: Water Supply
Now keeping yourself warm is only half the story. You need to stay hydrated and often, this is a real issue. Bottled water freezes, filters freeze, heck, even the water you’ve melted from snow will freeze. It can be harder to stay hydrated in winter than it is on a summer day, however, there are still workarounds you can employ to make your hunt more tolerable.
The first thing you simply must have is a large pot. You can use it not only to cook food but to create water from snow. However, do keep in mind that the proportion is usually 2 to 1, meaning you’ll need a really big one if you plan to use a lot of water. Additionally, if you are constantly on the move, you might want to carry a metal mug that you can use to heat water in. Bottles are useless and you won’t be able to carry a lot of them anyway.
Tip #4: Traversal
And for the last section of our mini-guide is all about navigation and mobility. It can be hard to traverse when the cold wind is against and using a car is just out of the equation. Yet, that doesn’t mean it is impossible. Heavy clothes and snow limit how much you can carry with you but there’s always the option of bringing a sled with you.
It will allow you to take more equipment with you, and it doesn’t require a lot of effort to carry as it, well, slides. Just make sure that you have a sturdy pair of snowshoes. And speaking of boots, why not carry with you a boot clip. Having one won’t contribute a lot to the general weight but will provide you with options when the terrain changes. It is an essential element, just remember to cover your boots so snow doesn’t enter it.
Lastly, as obvious as it might seem, get a compass. Even if you don’t end up using, it is better to have one. And don’t even think about using your phone, Lithium-Ion batteries are afraid of cold temperatures and will run dry real fast.
Winter hunting is hard if tackled blindly. The number of roadblocks you can encounter is just too big to number. However, with a little bit of preparation, the trip doesn’t seem so challenging after all. Besides, the experience is totally worth it. You not only get to hunt a bull or two but to learn something completely new, and not only about nature. If you feel like you need supplies from a reliable vendor, there’s no better place than RBM. Be sure to drop by there and in the meantime, we’ll see you in our next post.