There are a couple things you can count on when hunting the early deer season, unpressured deer, bugs and of course heat. In Maryland our bow season for deer opens in the middle of September and in this area of the country it can still be hot and humid. Maryland may not be as bad as some of the southern states but it still can be downright balmy. So here are a few tips that can make the difference between a miserable opening day and an enjoyable early season adventure.
Early season hunting is not the time to figure out that the garments that were comfortable in late October are downright unbearable in early to mid September. You’re looking for clothing that is light in weight and breathable. This is a time were cotton clothing can do you some good unlike when the temperature drops. Light, thin pants and a tee shirt will fit the bill for this time of the season.
If you plan on wearing a long sleeve shirt as I do, you may not want to wait to put that on until you’re at your hunting location. It's not a bad idea to wear a short sleeve in and then change out of that to another clean, dry shirt. You can bring along a large zip lock bag to put the wet tee shirt in. A ball cap is another small piece of your outfit that can cause major heat buildup if you wear it while walking in to your location, so take it off for the walk.
Un-insulated light rubber boots are going make a big difference in comfort while hunting as well. I’ve tried making it with the mid weight rubber boats that treat me fine for most of the season but that extra weight is just too much for the early season walks to the stand. If you’re stalking then a light hiking boot or even tennis shoe will work.
Typically I always take a small back pack or fanny pack with me while hunting. In side I usually have spares of everything from batteries, knife, release, rope and so on. This is the time of year you want to cut the load down as much as possible. If you’re stand or ground hunting and it's not going to be a all day sit then even the small fanny packs can be left in the truck. Unless it's going to be a long walk back to the house or truck, then even your knife and rubber gloves can be left behind. You can always come back for this stuff if you get lucky enough to get a deer on the ground. Carry only what you need to hunt and nothing more. If I can't fit it in a pocket I leave it in the truck.
By all means give yourself extra time to get into your hunting area and move slow. Not only does this help reduce the amount of heat buildup but by moving slow you never know what you might bump into on the way in. If at all possible stay in the shade. Even on the hottest days walking in the shade can make a big difference on how much of a sweat you’re going to work up. Giving yourself and extra Â½ hour to get to the stand helps a lot. If your stand hunting you can get to the stand early and take ten minutes or so to cool down before making your accent.
Take a Damp Rag
Nothing can be more refreshing after you’ve arrived at your hunting location then to wipe your face down with a clean damp rag. I actually use the scent free wet wipes to wipe my face and neck off once I get up in the stand. I’ll even take one or two and just place them against my neck to help cool off.
These are just some things I’ve done over the years to try and make my early season hunting more enjoyable. Hopefully this article will give you an idea or two of how to make yours more enjoyable as well.