Why Winter Hunting is the Best Type of Hunting
If you, too, have been toying with the idea of winter hunting, you may just fall in love with it, as I did.
I’ve got to admit it: when my dad took me on my first hunting trip at 13, I pretty much hated it. But life has a funny way of making you change your mind, and since then, I’ve become quite an enthusiast. This time around, I’m doing it my way: I use a bow instead of a rifle, and I tend to avoid late summer and fall.
If you, too, have been toying with the idea of winter hunting, you may just fall in love with it, as I did. Not only does it give you the chance to enjoy some pretty amazing scenery, but it also has a number of benefits over going on a hunt in the warmer months.
When it comes to cold weather, it has a good way of making people stay inside. And sure, I get why someone would prefer to spend NFL Sunday on their couch, munching away on a bag of chips. But for those of us who actually like the cool temperatures, this is a pure blessing.
In winter, there are always fewer hunters out there, which automatically means more game for those of us who decided to brave the weather. Plus, I don’t have to worry as much about other people, as only hardcore hikers are likely to be out in the woods.
Confession time: I’m a huge gearhead. Spending hours on the internet looking for cool new equipment is my idea of a wild Friday night.
For my winter hunts, I use high-quality insulated boots to keep my feet warm and dry. Right now, I alternate between two pairs: the Irish Setter 896 and the Danner Canadian. Both of these models work really well for me.
Seeing that I hunt with a bow, I made sure to pick a great one. In addition to a few second-hand pieces I bought when I was starting out, I am a proud owner of the Bear Archery Super Kodiak. It’s pricey, but the cost was definitely worth it.
The best part of my winter hunting gadgets, however, has to be my Electric Juggernaut. This is an electric bike originally designed for sand dunes, but it can actually tackle mud and snow, so I can use it all year round. Sure, sometimes I use skis, but the bike gives me an added thrill (and looks so friggin awesome).
Once the ground is covered in snow, tracking game becomes effortless. All you have to do is follow their tracks! Plus, snow makes patterning a breeze as well – even a light powder will show me where feeding and staging areas are. Seeing that there’s no foliage, visibility increases, and it becomes more likely that I’ll be coming home with dinner for the table. Another great benefit of hunting in snow are blood trails – they’re incredibly simple to spot and follow.
It took me a bit of time until I realized why my winter hunts tended to be more successful than late summer and fall – it’s a piece of cake to blend in with the surroundings. If it’s snowing, I can put on a white parka and I’ll be pretty much invisible. If there’s a good layer of snow (that isn’t too crunchy), my steps become quieter, and I don’t have to worry about twigs or dry leaves. And finally, since I’m wearing more clothing, I find it easier to cover up my scent, which is always a big plus.
Even people who hate cold and potentially wet weather will agree on the following: going on a hunt where you don’t have to worry about mosquitoes and insects is the absolute best. If you frequent grassy or wooded areas, you will also be protected from ticks, which can transmit potentially fatal diseases such as Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and tularemia.
If you’re still not convinced about trying winter hunting, you may be inclined to give it a try if you consider all the pros. Not only will it take less effort to remove your game from the woods because the ground is harder (bonus points if you remember to use a sled in the snow), but you’ll also find that the meat cools more quickly. Furthermore, lower temperatures mean lower chances of muddy terrain, which is one aspect of winter I absolutely love.