Like last year and virtually every year before, I heard the same “It’s too hot to hunt” excuse over and over again. In my humble opinion, this is what separates the men from the boys and the women from the girls.
It does take a certain amount of grit to get in the woods but that’s what makes us better hunters; after all, how often are hunting conditions perfect? Getting out and hunting in varying weather conditions refines our ability to not just tolerate those variances, but be productive, too.
You might remember my simple, true statement from last year - while triple digit temperatures aren’t my favorite, I still maintain that hunting is more fun than work no matter what! And, truth be told, I’ve killed more feral hogs during our blistering summers than any other time of year and I think many hog hunters who can take the heat agree.
It’s the grit to get out there that keeps meat in the freezer. Just like last year, here are some tips to keep your cool and put more meat in the freezer while you’re refined by the fire.
Keep Your Cool
Keeping cool is tough business during our summer months. Let’s face it; no matter what you do you’re not going to trick your brain into thinking the temperature has dropped. But, freezing a large bottle of water to drink on stand is a great idea. While you hunt the ice in your bottle continues to melt; the result is ice water that lasts quite a while!
Frog Toggs offers a great product to keep you cool in the woods. Wet their Chilly Pad Cooling Towel in water and place in a sandwich bag.
When you begin your hunt, remove the towel from the baggy and lay over the back of your neck or your head. The dampened towel stays cool to the touch for hours – how refreshing!
Dead Down Wind also offers a great addition to help keep you refreshed while also controlling the scent you’re busy making! Dead Down Wind (DDW) Field Wipes are my new favorite. While I still use a Frog Toggs Chilly Pad on my neck, I keep my DDW Field Wipes close at hand to wipe down my face, neck, ears; Most refreshing, I use them to wipe the sweat off of my forehead. Any breeze at all brings a coolness that is always refreshing… albeit fleeting.
If you don’t have DDS Field Wipes, grab a bottle of scent elimination spray – again, I’m a fan of Dead Down Wind – and spray your towel or Chilly Pad often to cool off and minimize your scent distribution.
A last note on keeping cooler - Hunting from tree stands in hot temperatures does more than just get your scent off the ground.
It keeps you in circulating air and, hopefully in the shade of the tree’s canopy rather than in the stagnant air of a ground blind.
More on Scent Control – Summer’s Uphill Battle
The most significant obstacle to successful summer hunting is scent control. Getting close is key no matter when you’re hunting.
Wash your clothes in scent eliminating detergent and dry with scent eliminating fabric softening dryer sheets. Carry your clothes in a scent proof bag to your hunting property if possible. Shower with scent eliminating shampoo and soap. Use scent eliminating deodorant and toothpaste to finish the preparation phase.
Before heading to your stand or ground blind, make sure you spray yourself (or have your buddy spray you) from top to bottom, front to back. Make sure you spray the bottom of your boots – doing so reduces or eliminates the scent trail you create while walking to your setup. As I’ve said before,
Dead Down Wind has been a favorite of mine for several years, partly because of their comprehensive lineup; everything I need in a single brand; more importantly, it works very well. Our local Gander Mountain offers quite a selection of scent eliminating and suppressing products.
That said, there is NO better way to beat the noses of your prey than playing the wind. Always try to approach, exit and hunt downwind of your hunting spot or where you suspect most activity to take place. Scientists suggest a feral hog can smell your scent on a trail up to two hours after you’ve walked it – that’s amazing!