After a long, hot summer, most deer hunters are eager to get back in a stand to begin their quest for a successful season. The anticipation may be high for some, letting nothing get in their way of pursuing a trophy whitetail, yet others refuse to hunt early season simply because it is too hot.
With many states beginning archery season during September and others as early as August, it is true that bowhunting early season can be challenging due to the lingering summer temperatures. The good news is that there are a few tips and tricks that one can implement to stay cool during the beginning stages of the season. Along with these early season pointers, there is also an array of tactics to help stay scent-free, even when the hunter’s body has been sweating profusely. If a hunter will put to use the below methods, they too will have a more comfortable experience, while staying cool and scent-free during an early season hunt.
One of the biggest mistakes made by hunters during the early season is wearing the wrong garments and at the wrong time. Many times, hunters will dress in garments too heavy for the time of year. The mindset behind this is typically caused by the cooler temperatures during the earlier part of the morning. They may also overdress during the evening in hope of staying warm after the sun has gone down and temperatures begin to fall. Either way, this way of thinking results in the hunter becoming too hot for comfort.
Instead of overdressing in hopes of staying warm when temperatures are cooler, one should take advantage of modern clothing that are made with moisture wicking, lightweight materials that keep the hunter cool and dry throughout the hunt. For instance, one of my favorite early season garments is the NOMAD cooling tees that are available in both long and short sleeve. These tees are a loose-fitting style of clothing that is not only made to be moisture wicking, it also has sun protection and is anti-microbial, thus not only keeping the hunter dry and cool, it also helps them stay as scent-free as possible. By wearing this type of cooler clothing throughout September and early October, I can dress for a longer sit in my tree stand and know that it will keep me comfortable throughout the entire hunt, instead of having it cut short due to becoming overheated.
Another option to dressing properly is that of carrying extra clothes in one’s backpack. Many times, when hunting late September or early October, I have faced temperatures that seem to be on the borderline of warm or cool. With this kind of fluctuating temperatures, I have begun to carry a lightweight jacket inside of my ALPS Outdoorz Pursuit daypack. I typically wear my long sleeve tee on the way to the stand to prevent getting overheated while walking, and once I settle in the stand for a few minutes, I put on a light jacket such as another favorite early season garment of mine, the Scent-Lok Savanna Crosshair. This lightweight jacket is also moisture-wicking and has a strong absorption from the Carbon Alloy technology found throughout. I will wear this jacket until mid-morning, when temperatures begin to rise. The same approach can be used when hunting evenings. I tend to wear a short sleeve or long sleeve cooling tee until temperatures begin to cool, then I will finish the evening with a lightweight jacket. By dressing with the rising and cooling temperatures, I am also reducing the risk of sweating, which causes odor.
Take It Easy
Other than over-dressing, another cause for hunters becoming too hot during the early season is because they are in a hurry. Excessive movement is the biggest factor in over heating when trying to hunt during the early season. Overheating mainly occurs when going to one’s stand or blind. As mentioned earlier, it is important to dress lightly when traveling to a hunt location. However, it is more important in how we get there. It is recommended to give oneself an adequate amount of time at the beginning of the hunt to take time to walk slowly to the stand. This eliminates over-exerting the body, which will make the cooling down time shorter once in the stand. One’s route to his or her stand should be the quickest, with the least number of obstacles, such as steep hills. This again eliminates over-exerting the body, which keeps the body cooler when it is time to hunt. Another helpful hint is to have stands or ground blinds in place weeks prior to hunting. There is nothing more exhausting before a hunt than trying to hang a stand or set up a ground blind during warmer temperatures. By having them set in place weeks prior, one will save energy, stay quiet and most importantly stay cool and scent-free.
Being as that this article is about staying cool and scent-free, it is only fair to note that staying hydrated during the early season is important as well. During this time of the season, my daypack often contains a couple bottles of water or my Cordova Outdoors tumbler that is filled with ice water or some type of sports drink to help stay cool and hydrated throughout the hunt. This not only will keep one cooler; it can also allow for a longer hunt. As with hunting in cold weather, never let hunger or thirst cut a hunt off early. Pack snacks and drinks accordingly; this will further help to keep the hunt comfortable and enjoyable.
Using Scent Elimination To Help Keep Cool
It is no secret that scent elimination is one of the hardest tasks during warmer weather. It is recommended to use an array of scent-eliminating products to keep our human scent low. However, there are many products available that can keep the hunter cool while eliminating these unwanted odors at the same time. Part of my hunt ritual consists of spraying down multiple times before, as well as throughout the hunt, with a scent-eliminating spray such as Code Blue’s D/Code Unscented Field Spray. This spray is made up of medical grade nanosilver particles that find and destroy odors, all while fighting the growth of new odors that may occur throughout the hunt. I’m not going to lie; I am guilty of spraying down a couple extra times during the earlier part of season. Yes, it keeps unwanted odors out of my hunting area, but it also feels refreshing as the cool spray covers any exposed skin. Another great product to keep one cool and scent-free is Code Blue’s D/Code Field Wipes. These are pre-moistened, unscented wipes that are great for rubbing down exposed skin such as one’s face, neck, arms and hands to not only get rid of sweat and odor, but once again to give a quick cooling sensation from the warmer temperatures. These wipes come in a resealable pouch and are a great item to carry in a daypack while in a tree stand or ground blind.
Many hunters may be thinking that they do not want to go through the extra effort it takes to stay cool and scent-free during the early season. Rather they wait until farther into the season before they begin hunting at all. Staying cool is great, yet one must remember the old saying that “you can’t kill them on the couch.” Bow hunting during September or early October could very well lead to a chance encounter with a mature buck that is still in a summer pattern. Take advantage of these tips and tricks to stay cool and scent-free. The success resulting from them will be rewarding.
By Heath Wood