Sitting in a stand all day waiting for a whitetail to appear can be grueling. It’s even more testing when temperatures plummet. Staying put requires more than a thermos and squirrel entertainment.
Swaddle Yourself An enclosed, heated shooting house doesn’t fit into everyone’s hunting budget. On the other hand, an old sleeping bag balled up in the corner of your garage might be waiting for an outing. Several years ago I spent a week in my sleeping bag strapped 20 feet up in a Saskatchewan tree with temperatures near 20 below to whack a heavy-horned buck.
For a sleeping bag upgrade consider a Heater Body Suit. Zip yourself in, and when a buck appears, slowly open the quiet zipper, lean out and shoot. It’s windproof, water resistant and Thinsulate insulated for all-day comfort.
To maximize warmth in or out of a bag, combine a parka with bibs to provide another layer of insulation over your core of vital organs. Add quality boots and gloves to your ensemble, plus a facemask and an insulated hat to minimize the heat loss from your head. On most hunts from October through December I don parts or all of my Cabela’s 10-Point clothing system, even in a Heater Body Suit.
Take Comfort Sitting all day on a metal seat from a 1980s-era treestand is about as pleasant as a colonoscopy. Comfort your bum and add a seat cushion. Cushions come in a variety of configurations and include waterproof foam, fillings that warm (some electronically) and even padded covers for any 5-gallon bucket that allow you to swivel for 360-degree coverage.
Lightweight chairs support both your rump and your back. You can utilize them in a ground blind or simply back them up to foliage to blend in. The Primos QS3 Magnum tripod stool weighs less than 7 pounds and collapses for easy lashing to your daypack.
Final comfort companions are air-activated hand-warmers. Bring along plenty, including those configured for all parts of your body.
Feed the Furnace Despite the best in clothes and accessories you still need to stoke the furnace. Approximately half of your cold-weather diet should contain carbohydrates, simple and complex. They break down fast and send energy, doubling as warmth, throughout the body. Lean to a heavier load of complex carbohydrates such as cereal, bread, dried fruits and pasta. Simple carbs include anything sugary such as a treat of candy or hot cocoa.
Add a nearly equal amount of protein and fat; each breaks down slower and provides heat for a longer duration. Nuts, chocolate, cheese on your sandwich and even a couple of hardboiled eggs handle the fat department. For protein, munch on an additional handful of nuts, warm some beans, tear into the jerky or load up a sandwich with your favorite lean meat.
Drink lots of fluids, especially water. Adding a thermos of your favorite hot drink also helps keep you toasty.
Entertain Your Mind Staying on stand all day is easier when warm and fed, but you also need something to stave off boredom. Your smartphone has the best array of entertainment, plus you can keep track of the weather with apps. Include ear buds on your equipment list to avoid spooking deer with a Robin Williams standup routine. I put in one ear bud with the volume turned low and leave the other out to monitor my surroundings. Be reserved in streaming as it can eat up battery life. Lastly, don’t get so engrossed in the palm-held programming that you miss the buck of a lifetime.