Locavore Blog: Staying Warm in a Tree Stand

Even though the Vermont days are bright and sunny, the air is still crisp and chilly with frosts settling in overnight, causing my dock to ice over each evening. We spent the weekend prepping for winter and spent most of Sunday continuing to stockpile wood for the long freezing days that lay ahead.

by Kristen Schmitt

While I wasn’t fortunate enough to have a long bow season like some of my fellow bowhunters who live outside of Vermont, I did spend many cold mornings in my tree stand. Some days I felt like I’d dressed in enough layers; others I did not.

Locavore deer hunter

With the gun season opening in days and the second round of Vermont’s official bow season on the horizon in December, I’ve been researching ways to stay warm even in negative temperatures. As someone who grew up in Michigan and now lives in Vermont, I thought I understood dressing for winter – especially after spending countless hours outside last year, helping turn this monster into firewood:

Maple firewood

But staying warm while hardly moving in a tree stand requires a few different tricks. Since I’m always cold once the temps hit about 20 degrees, figuring out what to do when standing or sitting still for hours is a necessity.

Here’s what I plan to do:

Embrace layers. I’ve learned that cotton isn’t always the best first layer on your body as it will absorb sweat and stay damp. A damp layer isn’t going to keep me warm. So a warm thermal layer with wicking ability is my first layer. Flannel, wool, and fleece (all quiet and warm fabrics) will make up the rest. Since my hunting pants are thick fleece, I’m looking at adding some fleece leggings underneath along with wool socks to keep my lower half nice and warm.

Trail cam photo

Facemask. During the October bow season here, it was still cold and most mornings I pulled my neck gaiter around my head to stay warm. I’m now in the market for a facemask that is both thick and warm while also comfortable. Any recommendations?

Good gloves. The problem with bow over gun is that I like to keep my hand that holds the release unhindered by gloves. Maybe a muff is in order to tuck my bare hand in during the wait. On my other hand that holds my bow, I have some thick fleece gloves that offer protection against the cold wind.

Warm Feet. My boots are warm, but my feet are always cold. While I have two pairs of socks one (one as an insulating layer) I’m also planning on tucking some toe warmers in there this December. Warm feet will make the wait enjoyable rather than unbearable.

Do you have any tips to stay warm in your tree stand?

 

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