Wacky Weather Changes Non-Issue for Southern Deer Hunters

Erin Braun of Portland, Ore., with her first buck. She dropped it with a TenPoint crossbow while hunting in northwest Kansas. (Photo: Alan Clemons)

After hunting for the last 40 years or so for everything from deer and ducks to small game, nothing ever really surprises me anymore with the weather.

I’ve hunted in late December and January in Alabama when it’s been so cold, thanks to the moisture in the air, that I thought my brain would freeze. You folks who hunt in the Upper Midwest know about this, and probably the Northeast. Low temps and moisture, whether it’s humidity in the southeast or icy precip north of the Mason-Dixon Line, usually spells bone-chilling conditions.

And I’ve hunted in those two months when it’s been so warm I’ve gone out in thin pants or jeans and a long-sleeved shirt. My jacket was in the pack, just to knock off the chill on the walk to the truck. When the mosquitoes are flying in January, and hunters in southern parts of Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama are seeing snakes, it’s just weird.

But we’re used to it. Just like northern folks are used to ice and snow. 

Kansas doesn’t surprise me. It just always seems to throw a 1-2 punch whenever I hunt out there. Last week I was in northwest Kansas with Heartland Pride Outfitters and Lacrosse Footwear for a bowhunt on the open farmlands HPO leases.

We started out with temperatures in the 80s on Wednesday. I think one of my texts in our chain that day said, “ITS 284 DEGREES OUT HERE.” Just crazy weird.

A day later, we have wind in the 30mph+ range and temps dropping 60ish degrees in the next two days. From the 80s to the 20s, from worrying about sweat and heat and stinking to making sure our neck gaiters and gloves and such were in our packs. I’d prepared with an array of Sitka Fanatic outerwear, Cabela’s Icebreaker wool base layers, and SmartWool socks. Combining performance fabrics with wool has suited me well for years and I don’t plan to change unless I find something better.

The weather wasn’t an issue, though, with Erin Braun of Lacrosse dropping a gorgeous buck with her TenPoint crossbow Thursday evening. We warmed up quickly in the plunging temperatures while out for the recovery and in-field photos.

Sunday was a role reversal, as the attached photo shows. Highs pushing 80 again and a dry west wind. As one of our crew said, “Welcome to Kansas!”

This ol’ southern hunter wasn’t surprised. It kind of was a warm-up, so to speak, for hunting when I get back home to Alabama.