Many deer hunters don’t stay out all day, and that can be a mistake, especially during the rut. If you want to maximize your time in the field, and your chances of tagging a trophy, here are some tips:
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1) Dress Properly
The weather is definitely the biggest obstacle. If you’re wet, cold or even too hot, you won’t last long. Since conditions often change and fluctuate through the day, you need to be prepared to change your clothes accordingly. Dress in layers, and bring along a pack with extra clothes, in case you need to add or subtract or change wet gloves, socks, etc. Packing a couple of different hats is smart, too.
2) Take a Seat
The next biggest obstacle is comfort, and that’s where a portable camo comfortable chair or well-padded seat cushion is critical. When shopping for a lock-on deer treestand or ladder stand, look for one with a padded seat, arm rests and backrest. They cost more and are a bit heavier, but they make a big difference.
3) 7th Inning Stretch
Eventually you’ll get stiff and need to stretch. Do it. I stand up every hour or so and do some hip circles. Not only does this keep my back loose, but it also provides some temporary relief to my derriere. In a tight treestand or ground blind, I will just do some side-to-side hip and back-to-front pelvic stretches instead.
4) Feed the Beast
Food is energy and energy is heat. You have to keep the fire stoked if you hope to stay warm all day. Plus, it’s no fun hunting when your stomach is growling. Start with a hearty breakfast, and wash it down with coffee, tea or hot chocolate to get your body off to the right start. I carry an insulated Thermos of hot chocolate or soup in my day pack. I also pack a substantial lunch consisting of pizza slices or at least two hearty sandwiches, as well as high-protein snacks such as nuts, trail mix or energy bars. When temperatures are mild, I drink water. When hunting in warm temperatures, I freeze a small bottle of water and carry it in my pack so it stays cold throughout the day.
5) Fight Boredom
When things are quiet and nothing’s moving, it can be a mental struggle to make it through the day. Time just seems to drag, so force yourself to not look at your watch frequently. No more than once per hour.
Some hunters take a small book. I use my smartphone and either catch up on emails, text my buddies or spend some time on Twitter. I’ve also been known to nod off. Obviously when you’re napping or playing video games you aren’t actively watching for approaching game, but whatever gets you through the day. It’s still better than sitting back at camp or in the truck.
Read these tips for staying warm during late fall deer hunts will help keep you in your treestand when the mercury drops.
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