Sheila lived across the street from me in our neighborhood of row houses.
Since we all lived in such close proximity to one another, we often knew each
other's schedules without really trying. Sheila noticed that I started leaving
my house in the wee hours of the morning, and asked me about it one day.
I told her I was going hunting and her eyes lit up briefly, but only
briefly. Her dad had taken her once, she said. The main thing she remembered
was that her fingers and toes got so cold, she didn't have any fun. She had
to ask her dad to take her back to the truck, after only an hour or so on
That had been 20 years ago. The memory of discomfort was so strong, she
hadn't tried hunting again.
Yes, so many of our parents meant well when they took us hunting, but they
relied on "old school" technology. All you needed was a pair of cotton long
underwear, and two pairs of socks.
We know more now. Our fingers and toes get cold because our bodies have much
bigger things to worry about, such as our core temperature. Our circulatory
system carries heat from the core of the body to the skin, and heat escapes
from skin, especially exposed skin such as fingers, toes and ears.
So how can we keep our extremities warm? Here are a few tips.
* Use chemical hand warmer packs or battery-operated packs. These can be tucked
into boots, mittens, a hand muff, and even pockets sewn into a knit hat.
* Buy winter boots that are at least a full size larger than your regular
boots, so your feet can benefit from the air space. Yes, wear two pairs of
socks but your base layer should be liner socks to wick moisture away from the
skin. Wear liner gloves under mittens or inside a hand muff.
* Keep hydrated. Our circulatory systems need water to function efficiently,
and keep our bodies warm.
* Invest in a pair of insulated "over boots" to slip over your hunting boots
once you've reached your destination. You won't know how you lived without
* In cold weather, opt to hunt from a blind, where you can exercise,
stretch, and swing arms and legs without being detected by game.
* Many of us leave our boots outside, on a porch, to keep them from
gathering household scents and dry if they are wet. Slipping warm feet into cold boots -- doesn't work.
If you invest in a set of boot dryers, not only can you dry your wet boots, you
can leave boots outside, but keep their interiors warm.
I'm happy to report that for the first time in 20 years, my neighbor Shelia
bought a hunting license. And I'm even happier to report that not only does she
know how to keep her fingers and toes warm, she now enjoys hunting very much --
so much that she's taking her two boys along too!
For a fine selection of Hunting gear, including many heating accessories, click here.