The hunters grouped in the lodge at midday. We had all booked an archery hunt, and although the stands were perfectly located, they were homemade wooden ladder platforms without seats.
Most of us confessed that we’d finally, after standing in various positions, sat down on the platform with our feet on the steps. That was no way to get away with putting an arrow through a wise Southern whitetail.
After lunch, as we’d gathered for some porch sitting, one of the women showed us a contraption she’d devised during the morning hunt. She’d taken two stout branches and laid them across the ladder rails. Using her bow rope, she’d lashed other branches perpendicularly across the long ones, fashioning a small seat.
“Who wants to open the bidding for this stand seat?” she joked.
Long periods in a tree stand can be very productive, but sometimes, the longer you’re there, especially in cold temperatures, the more you’ll start moving. Of course, deer can spot even the slightest movements from great distances in the woods, so you’ll need the right gear to stay still. Here are some tips to stay warm in the tree stand.
For Your Butt
That cushiony seat that came with your tree stand may be damp, frozen, and as comfortable as a bag of frozen corn cobs. Keep your fanny from the cold and discomfort by carrying an extra seat pad, either foam or gel-style. At the very least, there will be a dry barrier between you and a wet seat.
For Your Feet And Hands
Now’s the time to switch to hunting boots, which are a half-size or full-size larger. Nothing will freeze your feet faster than having your toes mashed up against the boot. Use the air space to help you insulate against the cold, and toss in some chemical toe warmers. Don’t let the toe warmers defeat themselves if your feet start to sweat – be sure to wear a pair of liner socks under your regular socks, to keep the sweat wicking away from your skin. If you don’t have a second pair of boots for cold weather, invest in a pair of insulated “over-boots,” which do a great job blocking the wind and keeping your feet warm.
I’ve experimented with various gloves and mittens, and for archery hunting have settled on using a single muff. I do wear light gloves and have a chemical warmer inside the muff. This way I don’t sacrifice the hand and finger dexterity I’ll need to properly draw and fire my bow. I use the same set up if I’m on stand during gun season, but when I’m not stand hunting, I like the mittens with the fingerless gloves underneath.
For Your Body
Being properly hydrated helps you be better able to regulate your body temperature. Although a warm cup of coffee sounds great, coffee is a diuretic and may make you deplete body fluids. Carry a warm treat in a thermos/vacuum bottle, but make it soup or hot chocolate. There is nothing better than hot chocolate in a tree stand during cold weather, oh, unless it’s having to put down the hot chocolate since you’ve spotted enormous antlers coming your way!
Make sure your feet stay warm by pairing liner socks with an outer layer of wool-blend socks. You can also slip a chemical warmer into the boots.
Shop Sportsman’s Guide for a fine selection of gear to keep you warm in your Tree Stand!