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Cold Front Haven


Cold Front Haven


The 2017 Whitetail deer hunting season has seen some dramatic weather. From excessive heat to drought to hurricanes and record rainfall. Portions of the Carolina’s and Georgia have seen flooding while others had periods of months without rain at all.

On a recent hunt in the lower portion of South Carolina the week after Thanksgiving, we had temperatures in the low 80’s! A lot has been written about hunting deer in different conditions, but nothing in my experience will shut down deer movement quite like late season heat spells. Deer are ready for cooler weather and when the mercury climbs into the 80’s, the deer just will not move in daylight hours.

Thankfully, the latter part of this week will bring with it some cold weather. Weather that we normally see this time of year. With that cold weather expect deer movement to increase exponentially.

Studies about deer movement have been well documented. Studies showing deer movement in relation to weather have brought some interesting information. So as not to bore you with the details, the information pointed out in our neck of the woods, nothing impacts deer movement quite like the temperature. Ambient temperature that is.

Studies are showing that the peak of deer movement in general and buck movement in particular occur mostly after the temperature drops below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. This movement continues to increase as the temperature drops until it reaches around 22 degrees Fahrenheit when it begins to slow down again. But interestingly, it will increase again at around fifteen degrees.

Cold fronts put deer on their feet. Mammals need to eat when the temperature drops. The simple act of digesting their food generated heat and warms the body. There is never a bad time to be in the woods, but the best time is when the temperature is dropping and especially after a warm spell and the temperature drops drastically.

Hunters need to prepare to sit for long hours in the cold. When we have had weeks of extremely warm weather, we are not ready for the cold and have not prepared ourselves for the temperature change. Dressing accordingly will make the sit a lot more tolerable and enjoyable.

Here are some tips for staying comfortable on stand during these long sits.

First take care of the important parts of the body. Hands, feet, neck and head. If you can keep these warm, you can stay warm. Most hunters fuss about cold feet. My old hunting buddy who is no longer with me used to say; “if your feet are cold put on a hat!” It took me a while to adjust to that mentality that he built living in Maine where the winters are a different level of brutal. His logic and that of others is to prevent the heat from leaving the body in the first place. More heat is lost through the head and neck than anywhere else. Keeping your head covered and your neck wrapped will keep your warmer than anything else you can do.

A good beanie or stocking cap will help keep your whole body warm on stand. But so too will a good neck gator. A polar fleece neck gator is worth its weight in gold. The neck gator keeps the neck warm which in turn keeps the blood warm that is moving to the brain. The arteries carrying blood to the brain are located on the edge of the skin in the neck. If these get cold it signals the brain that the body is cold. By keeping the neck and head warm, the signals to the body are that the body is warm.

For your feet, here is a trick I learned a few years ago that really works. Take some antiperspirant and apply it to your feet before putting on your good wool socks. The antiperspirant will prevent the feet from sweating and that will keep them warmer. Next I a great pair of wool socks. Inside some well insulated boots. Lastly, for my feet, if it is real cold. I place a chemical hand warmer inside my boot beneath the toes to keep them toasty.

Hands are simple in my opinion. A light pair of gloved and a hand muff with some hand warmers inside the muff. Sitting with my hands inside the muff keeps them toasty.

Hunting cold fronts can be very beneficial for whitetail hunters in the south. Nothing puts deer on their feet like a good cold snap. But if we cannot enjoy our time and be able to sit for extended periods it doesn’t help. Using these tips can increase our odds at tagging a trophy buck later in the season.