Wouldn’t it be nice to go bow hunting in perfect weather? Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen, and as a bow hunter, you have to be prepared no matter what the weather conditions are in your hunting area.
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I’ve already written about staying warm while hunting in cold weather, but you also need to know how to stay cool when the weather reaches 90 degrees or higher.
Here are seven practical tips you can follow when hunting in hot weather:
1. Avoid The 10-to-2 Window
Who wants to be out during the hottest part of the day? You probably don’t, and deer and other game animals definitely don’t either.
When you know that you’ll be hunting in very warm weather, you should try to schedule your hunting hours in the early morning or late afternoon, and not in the 10-to-2 window.
Deer and other animals tend to be more active at dawn or right before dusk during warm weather condtions. Conversely, they would most likely be taking cover or having a nap when it’s very hot outside.
Wake up early and head to your hunting stand just as the sun rises so you’ll have a few hours to shoot game before it gets overly hot. You may then come back late in the afternoon or about an hour before sunset to get one last shot at an elk or a whitetail.
Don’t forget to slather yourself with insect repellent and carry a can of bug spray to keep mosquitos and other insects at bay, since they’re also most active during these hours.
2. Dress Appropriately
The key to being comfortable when bow hunting in hot weather is to wear light clothing that still provides you with decent protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Bass Pro Shops gives a quick rundown of recommended clothing for bow hunting during very warm days.
Personally, I like wearing a loose undershirt because it allows me to move more freely. If you’re prone to sweating a lot, you may also wear a compression fit top that absorbs perspiration effectively.
While short sleeves and short pants may sound enticing, I actually recommend long sleeves and long pants because they keep the sun’s rays from directly hitting your skin. If you insist on wearing short sleeves, however, make sure you apply sunscreen before heading outdoors.
Go for light-colored clothes because they absorb less sunlight, unless you need to wear camouflage. You can also wear a hat with a wide brim to protect your face from the sun, and pair it with sunglasses to shield your eyes.
For shoes, I recommend wearing something light and uninsulated, like a good pair of hiking boots. Go for breathable socks to allow air circulation on your feet.
3. Eat Light
While eating a big breakfast may sound like a good idea before a bow hunt, I’ve discovered that this doesn’t always work when I’m going hunting in a hot environment.
Eating too many carbohydrates before heading out to the hunting grounds may make you sweaty and sluggish. Try to wait until after the end of your hunt to eat that quarter pound cheeseburger or biscuit stack.
Instead, I recommend eating light and healthy, going for lots of greens to help you cool down. Fruits may also help cool your insides and give you additional liquids to keep you hydrated.
4. Hunt In The Shade, Not Outside It
There is no air conditioner in the hunting grounds, so you have to be strategic when finding a spot to wait out your game. For instance, choose a spot that is covered by a thick canopy of trees so you have a natural roof to keep you cool even in hot weather.
Like Sportsman, I also recommend hunting in the woods during very warm days because there’s a bigger chance that deer will stay in shaded areas to avoid exposure to direct sunlight.
When installing your hunting stand, try to set it up so that it faces away from the sun rather than in front of it. Not only will this keep you cooler during your hunt, but it will also let you avoid getting the sun in your eyes, which may potentially affect your shooting accuracy.
5. Ventilate Your Blind
Use an elevated blind if you can because ground blinds usually absorb more heat from the soil. I prefer to use a box blind with big windows when bow hunting in hot weather because it allows air to circulate more freely inside.
Whether you’re using a ground blind or an elevated one, you may want to ventilate it to keep the air flowing and to help you cool down. A standard electric fan could work, but try to find a unit that produces little to no noise so you won’t scare your game away.
As an alternative, you can also use a portable air conditioner. It is normally more silent than a desk fan, and you can even adjust the degree of coolness, depending on the temperature in the hunting grounds.
6. Drink Lots And Lots Of Water
Being constantly hydrated is important during hot weather, and this is doubly true when you’re out on a hunt. Remember that your body will be sweating a lot so you need to constantly refill your fluids so you won’t become dehydrated and sick.
A nifty trick I learned is to freeze a bottle of water overnight and then bring it with me the next day so that I can drink cold water during the day. Even if your water isn’t freezing cold, you must still constantly drink up to flush out the heat from your body and replace the fluids you’ve perspired.
Take small sips of water, ideally at 15-minute intervals, even if you’re not feeling thirsty. Once you feel thirsty, it may already be too late and you’re already on your way to dehydration. And this is definitely something you don’t want to happen while you’re hunting out in the woods.
7. Cooling Aids Are Your Friend
Drinking water may not be enough if you’re planning to spend the whole day outdoors. You may want to bring cooling aids with you to help keep your body temperature down even when the temperature of your environment is stifling hot.
I usually keep a small water spray bottle in the fridge overnight and bring it with me the next day so I can spray my face and neck with cool water whenever I feel too hot. You can also bring a small battery-powered fan to dry your sweat whenever you need to.
I think that wet wipes are also great cooling aids. Just make sure you bring unscented ones so you won’t alert your game of your presence.
You can purchase cooling gel strips from the supermarket and stick them to your nape or forehead to absorb any excess heat your body has. A frozen scarf or handkerchief is also a great alternative to this.
Is hunting in hot weather inconvenient? Maybe. Is it impossible? Definitely not! As long as you’ve prepared for it, you can have a comfortable hunting trip even if the weather outside is less than ideal.
Just remember to wear light, comfortable clothes and pick a spot in the shade. And while cooling aids are helpful, drinking plenty of water is more important to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day. And don’t bother hunting in the 10-to-2 window - the deer would all be hiding from the sun then, and so should you!
Did you find these tips helpful? Do you have other tips you think can help? Leave them in the comments’ section below. I’d love to hear from you! And don’t forget to share these with your friends. Remember: Sharing is caring!