I've previously written about staying warm when hunting in extreme cold. But with another early bow hunting season nearly upon us, when temperatures can get up to 90s, here are some tips for staying cool.
Hunting in the Base Layer
|Base layers, like RedHead's Enduraskin All-Season Shirt, are great options for not only wicking moisture but trapping odor.|
It's just as important to wear a good base layer under your hunting shirt when hunting in hot weather as it is in cold. I find that a loose-fitting undershirt gives me freedom of movement and breathable comfort. If I'll be fairly active and possibly working up a sweat, I will wear a compression fit base layer instead to wick perspiration and help keep me dry.
Also read: How to Layer Clothing
Your Day of Hunting is too Hot
If your hunting trip is simply too hot to wear more than one layer, I prefer a very lightweight cotton or synthetic mesh shirt with long sleeves rather than short, as I stay cooler by keeping the sun off my skin. If camo's not needed, I'll wear a light color that doesn't absorb the sun's rays, such as sand, khaki or olive. For pants, again I prefer long pants, in a mesh fabric. If you prefer shorts and a short sleeve shirt, don't forget the sunscreen.
Equally important is a cool hat, preferably with a wide brim to keep the sun off my face and neck, again in a light color where possible, and polarized sunglasses.
If gloves are needed, I'll wear the lightest mesh I can find, and my footwear will usually be either lightweight, uninsulated hunting boots or even just hiking boots. Light and breathable socks are also a must.
Use External Cooling Helps
Sometimes I wear a special bandana around my neck that contains a gel that, when frozen or at least cooled in a fridge overnight, stays cool all day. By keeping it in contact with the carotid artery in your neck, it's supposed to help keep your internal body temperature down. It seems to work for me, but any sort of wet cloth or handkerchief worn around the neck, like a Buff, should work almost as well.
Drink Water, Then Drink Some More
Drink lots of water, even when you're not thirsty. Once you find you're thirsty, you're likely already dehydrated. The body simply needs more fluids in hot temperatures due to increased perspiration, and staying properly hydrated also helps keep you cool. I'll freeze a small bottle of water and carry that in my pack so that it stays cold throughout the day as it thaws.
Hunt From in the Shade
Stay in the shade as much as possible, whether the canopy of the big leafy tree with your treestand in it, or from a nice, dark ground blind. Otherwise, try to limit your level of exertion, at least during the hottest hours of the day.
Hunt During the Right Time
Limit your hunting to the coolest and most productive "shoulder hours" around sunrise and sunset. Unfortunately, biting insects tend to be most active at these times as well, so some sort of insect repellent may also be in order.
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