Advice for Cold Weather Hunting?


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Justin
July 5, 2007, 09:09 PM
Two weeks ago, my elk tags showed up in the mail.

I'm going hunting, in the Colorado mountains in late December.

I need advice on staying warm and effectively hunting in cold weather. I'm going out with some friends who've been at it for years, but would very much appreciate the input of those of you with at least several years experience in cold weather hunting.

Mostly I'm looking for gear recommendations, but I would also love to know what other stuff I need to be aware of to actually successfully pull this off. Advice on stalking, tips on movement, technique, and probably a dozen other things I haven't even thought of yet.

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PotatoJudge
July 5, 2007, 09:15 PM
There was some discussion on dressing for the cold in this thread. At the least it should give you something to look forward to :D.

http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=238328&highlight=coldest+hunt

Enjoy your hunt.

Alphazulu6
July 5, 2007, 09:16 PM
Make sure you pack some nice cozy socks. December can feel like the 70s or the -40s... and all in one day with this high altitude sun and mountain storms.

Carry lots of water too. It is amazing how this 6000-9000 elevation can make you very thirsty. It is terrible for endurance activities as you get winded fast and your body needs that fluid intake... constantly.

Good Luck!

Troutman
July 5, 2007, 10:26 PM
Never hunted elk.
Cold weather, go with goose down, clothing items that are light weight and water-proof, still keeping you warm.

And have these guys around


http://www.animalstamps.com/StBernard/stGuinea2.jpg

http://t2.images.live.com/images/thumbnail.aspx?q=1211486113741&id=64649fc4e588f15ab95847e04aa574f6

eliphalet
July 5, 2007, 10:43 PM
Wear layers, keep your feet warm and especially dry. Only kinda special item I have is a large pair of very warm easy to slip off gloves for still hunting.

trueblue1776
July 5, 2007, 10:54 PM
Get your hands on a military surplus Arctic Service Parka, I live in Alabama now and I still won't sell mine. Those coats are worth their weight in gold.

glockman19
July 5, 2007, 11:01 PM
As a skiier I'd say get a snowboarder outfit. anything with Goretex as an outer layer, Down inner layer and some Thermals. I like Sorel's Men's Caribou II Buff winter boots as far as boots in the snow with some good thisk wool socks. Also make sure you bring an extra pair keep them dry in plastic. Wet and cold don't go together very well.

Otherwise enjoy the snow and the solitude

Alphazulu6
July 5, 2007, 11:03 PM
Look into Thermal "silk weights". They are thin and all but amazingly they are very warm and you can layer. Silk weights keep your sweat away from the skin and thats VERY important when in inclimate weather.

We were issued them here at Carson and they worked great. I am also a big fan of Poly-Pro as its light to carry and works great. :D

Good Luck!

RubenZ
July 6, 2007, 12:07 AM
Screw spending big money.


Look on Ebay for Military Gear. ECWCS Parka and get some Military Poly-Pro Turtle Necks. I got the Parka for like 25 bucks used and it was in great shape. I just need to get the pants that button to the jacket and I'm set.

If you get the entire ECWS system you will be in awesome shape. It lets in almost no Windo and will keep you dry and warm.


I usually wear long Johns, Poly-Pro turtle neck, blue Jeans, and on top thermal underwear and the Poly Pro Turtle Neck with Parka. That is warm enough.


here I did some searching for you:

http://cgi.ebay.com/US-GI-ECWCS-GORETEX-PARKA-GORTEX-TROUSERS-M-R-V-GOOD_W0QQitemZ190127680879QQihZ009QQcategoryZ52509QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

http://search.ebay.com/search/search.dll?from=R40&_trksid=m37&satitle=ECWCS+Parka&category0=

http://collectibles.search.ebay.com/Parka_Militaria_W0QQ_trksidZm37QQcatrefZC12QQfromZR10QQfsooZ1QQfsopZ1QQftrtZ1QQftrvZ1QQsabfmtsZ1QQsacatZ13956QQsaobfmtsZinsifQQsaprchiZQQsaprcloZ

trueblue1776
July 6, 2007, 07:38 AM
RubenZ, Blue jeans are a survivalist no-no, they soak water, get heavy, get cold, cause blisters.

dakotasin
July 6, 2007, 08:44 AM
start with properly broke in, high quality boots, maybe 600 grams thinsulate. any more than that and the boot gets bulky and can be too hot - any less than that, and you will likely wish you had more. get quality socks, too. once that $200 - 300 is spent, the rest is easy (and cheaper).

RubenZ
July 6, 2007, 09:21 AM
RubenZ, Blue jeans are a survivalist no-no, they soak water, get heavy, get cold, cause blisters.


True, but where I hunt I can get to safety in like 5 minutes LOL. Thats also why I mentioned I needed to get the pants for the ECWCS Parka. Once I get them I won't be wearing Jeans.

JESmith
July 6, 2007, 03:26 PM
Run ... a LOT. High altitude will zap your strength and make a hunt no fun. Also high altitude sickness/headaches will kill a hunting trip.

Art Eatman
July 6, 2007, 03:49 PM
One pair of boots that won't allow your feet to get wet if walking in snow.

ONe thing about layers that unzip in front is that you can open up while walking and not sweat. When you stop for a "sit and look", you zip up and stay warm.

Heat loss from your head is a Biggie. A cap with ear flaps is good. A navy-style wool watch cap doesn't cut off your hearing as much, though--but it's less effective in wind.

Art

elkhuntingfool
July 6, 2007, 04:04 PM
I'm in Utah and hunt anywhere from 8500-12,000 feet. Don't buy a snowboarding outfit like was suggested - too bulky and not necessary. Realize that you are going to sweat and your body temp will rise a bit therfore layers are the way to go. Don't wear denim - yikes. You'll get wet and be screwed in moments. Look for lightweight, but warm gear - very easy to find.

At those elevations temps change very quickly - you could be sweating one minute and the next trying to find a place to get away from the snow.

A good pair of waterproof boots will do you just fine. Don't wait to break them in. A good pair or two of socks will also help. Good gloves, good hat, and a good outer jacket will do you just fine.

Again - no denim.

Titan6
July 6, 2007, 05:09 PM
Elk Hunting in Colorado. :) Where abouts? What to wear, what to wear...

- Gortex lined boots with comfortable and quiet soles.
- Winter socks. If you will be standing around you may want either electric or those that are designed to take heat paks.
- Moisture wicking T-shirt and underwear.
- Polypro top and bottom.
- Favorite water and wind resistant pants.
- Favorite water and wind resistant top.
- Lined light Gortex Parka
- Lined Gortex gloves with a good leather palm
- Orange Saftey Vest and hat. Colorado used to require this. I hope they have done away with it but have not hunted out there in nearly ten years.

(in Pack within easy access)
- Heavy Snow Parka with hood
- Extreme Cold Weather mittens
- Synthetic Face mask

2 feet of snow with no notice in the fall is not that unusual. Last July 4th when I was camping on Pike's Peak for the Hill Climb we got a couple of inches of snow. Up by 11 Mile Resevoir a couple of days later we got another few inches of ice. This was high summer. But to Elk Hunt in Colorado... Well worth it.

H&Hhunter
July 6, 2007, 06:32 PM
I don't like Gore Tex outer wear when hunting in cold weather it is just to noisy. If it is rainy and wet I will use Gore tex but in freezing dry snow conditions I like wool. I use polypro long underwear top and bottom.

My pants are old Swedish wool ski trooper pants. I wear two pairs of socks one silk and one wool. I use Schnees pack boots and a pair of gore tex gaiters that come up to the knee. If you can keep snow from getting into the top of your boots they will stay dry and warm.

For top wear I will usually wear a turtle neck then a Woolrich wool shirt or wool sweater. Over that if it really cold I've got a wool jacket made by Weatherby. I like the turtle neck for the same reason I like gaiters, they keep the snow out of your shirt.

I always carry two pears of gloves both gore tex both made by Cabelas. And I always carry two hats one is a Filson cap in hunter orange with wool ear flaps the other is a bright red (probably not 100% legal) musher's cap by Northern outfitters.

I then wear a Cabelas hunter's orange pack vest over the top of my outer wear.

Notice that I dress in layers that way when I am walking up a steep ridge I can shed clothes right down to my under wear top. If you soak your clothes in sweat you can really get into trouble.

A couple of critical items are two pairs of gloves that way if one pair gets wet you have the other. Same for the two hats thing one of mine is lighter weight the other heavier for sitting and really cold and blizzard conditions.

It is also not a bad idea to carry an extra pair of wool socks in your pack.

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y187/GTAllyn/2006cowelk.jpg

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y187/GTAllyn/cowelkfire06.jpg

H&Hhunter
July 6, 2007, 06:44 PM
Justin did you draw that late season 3-301 tag? If so I can give you some sage advice on that unit. It is guarantied kill if you know where to go.;)

M67
July 7, 2007, 12:34 AM
Wool.

TimboKhan
July 7, 2007, 02:30 AM
Well, being a native of the Centennial State and having hunted Elk, I have to say that Titan6 and H&H Hunter pretty much nailed the equipment down. The key to picking clothes to hunt in Colorado is layers, because mountain weather can get nasty real quick and with little warning. I would simply add that if you plan to spot and stalk, you would be a fool not to pack sufficient firestarting materials, a GPS, an accurate and up-to-date map and compass (and the ability to use them well), and a ton of energy bars and chemical hand-warmers. The hand-warmers are a luxury, but man, is it nice to have heat on demand when your hands get chilly. For the map, I recommend a Colorado Gazetteer. 17 bucks gets you a darned accurate map of the whole state including GPS grids, and you can just photocopy and laminate the pages you need. Extra socks are a must, and nothing beats wool. Make sure your boots are comfy and well broke-in, and while I am no example of fitness, start running and doing cardio work now. It's not the hills that get you lowlanders tired, it's the lack of oxygen. Also, make sure your rifle is not lubed up with something that will get goopy and jam you up. Because I know the area I hunt in, and because it's the way I was taught to do it, I can't offer anything useful on movement tactics because I still hunt. Also, if your anywhere near Glenwood Springs, there is no better way to come off the mountain than to go sit in the hot springs. Again, a luxury and not a hunting tactic, but elk hunting is pretty demanding work, and after 4 or 5 days of being out in the cold and burning calories like a SOB, sitting in those hot springs is only a small step down from being pampered by a harem of comely young virgins.

As far as the blaze orange goes, the answer is that you do have to wear a certain amount. Here is a PDF link to the CDOW hunting regulations for 2007-2008:

http://wildlife.state.co.us/NR/rdonlyres/3F234E0F-9A7E-4E36-9263-7DE1CE74B424/0/index_information.pdf

The blaze orange requirement is on page 8 specifically.

Finally, what area are you hunting in? I am pretty well aquainted with 23, 24, 25, 33 and 34 and would be happy to give you whatever advice I can give you if your hunting in those areas.

H&Hhunter
July 7, 2007, 12:50 PM
What TimboKhan said word for word. This man obviously knows his business!

And I'd like to add that it is breath of fresh air to read stuff like this on the internet from time to time.

I get so sick and tired of some of the internut stuff that has been floating around lately. :D

1911 guy
July 11, 2007, 09:56 AM
I've spent a good chunk of my life in N.E. Ohio and it gets pretty cold here on occassion. Well below zero and windy defines late season hunting.

Athletic socks with wool socks over them. The athletic socks wick away moisture. The wool will keep you warm.

Waterproof gore-tex boots. I prefer the pac style myself.

regular underwear, including T-shirt, with thermal underwear over it.

I wear water proofed cotton pants with wool lining. The lining is just thick enough to give me some warmth, not thick enough to make me look like the Michelin Man.

Long sleeve flannel shirt, zip up hooded sweatshirt and barn coat.

Fleece hood that can be both pulled down to make a neck gaiter and pulled up to make a hat.

Wear mittens instead on gloves, they're warmer. Get ones with finger flaps so you don't need to take them off for anything but fertilizing the landscape

If I'm going to be on a stand instead of on the move, I wear Carhart bibs and parka over this.

For equipment, take a compass and know how to use it. A GPS is a good addition, but batteries can fail in the cold. A topo map is a near necessity when hunting unfamiliar terrain. Take plenty of matches and lighters. And, not Or. Stuff happens. Half a roll of "strikin' paper" can come in very handy. Other than the obvious use, take about two feet and roll it up as if for normal use. Then fold the roll inward, turning it halfway inside out. Light the center, it'll burn for about five minutes. Long enough to get tinder going. A few energy bars and water. An emergency tarp, the silver ones that fold up in a pocket. Twenty feet of 550 cord takes up no space and can be an impromtu frame for said tarp to make a quick shelter or heat reflector for your fire. I keep a refferees whistle in my pack. Easier and louder than shouting "somebody come get my lost butt!"

H&Hhunter
July 11, 2007, 05:43 PM
I deep snow and wet conditions NEVER wear cotton anything. It will get you killed.

Of course I am talking about when you are hunting in a place where you may well find yourself days from shelter.

Sitting on a stand or hunting in semi rural country allows one to dress less carefully.

Vern Humphrey
July 11, 2007, 08:29 PM
Here's my Colorado elk hunting checklist -- this is everything I bring:

Elk Hunting Checklist

Carry items
Hunting license and taqs
Randall Knife
GPS
Maps
Compass
Binoculars
Extra cartridges
FRS Radio
Flashlight
Whistle
Muzzle tape
Flip-up scope protectors
Rifle
Canteen

Pack items
Gerber Saw
25 rope
Fire starter
Cleaning Rod
Matches
Down vest
Foam pad
Space blanket
Lens paper
Toilet paper
Trash bags
Spare batteries
Flagging tape

Clothing
Gore-Tex Parka (1)
Waffle weave underwear (2 sets)
Poly underwear (2 sets)
Flannel shirts (4)
Battle Dress trousers (4)
Heavy socks (10 pr)
Gore-tex socks (2 pr)
Thinsulate liners (2 pr)
Insulated boots (1)
Stocking caps (3)
Orange vest (1)
Wool gloves (2 pr)

Other items
Sleeping bag
Gun oil
Patches
Knife sharpener
Duffle bag
Coolers
Shaving gear
Towels
Washcloths
Ammo .30-06 180 grain Nosler PJ
Ammo .35 B-W 225 grain Nosler PJ
Rifles and cases

My philosophy is hike cold, sit warm. I usually wear only a shirt and battledress trousers, knit orange cap and vest, wool gloves, boots and socks. I carry a set of underwear, gore-tex shell parks, extra socks, and so on. When I stop and sit at a likely spot, I strip off my shirt, put on underwear, dress, put on a down vest and a gore-tex shell parka. When I move, I restore myself to my original condition.

I buy boots two sizes too large, and wear extra socks -- or thinsulate socks or gore-tex socks as needed.

I know people who use the trash bags (normally used to temporarily protect meat) as emergency rain grear -- saves weight in the mountains.

Caimlas
July 12, 2007, 06:01 AM
Well, I can only tell you what I wear when I'm out hunting here in SD, where winter/fall hunting temperatures are often anywhere from 20F (on a good day) down to -20F or so (on a day when you'd go out - it gets down to -40F here a couple times a winter), with winds as high as 30-40mph though usually in the 15-25 range. And that's typically way too cold for a good day of hunting - the animals will all be hiding anyway.

But the prevailing thing out here is wind. It's rarely under 15mph here. For that, you've got to layer, and you've got to have at least one wind-breaking layer.

When it comes down to it, you want to be able to remain warm while you're sitting still, as well as when you're moving, and that's a difficult combination (especially when there's snow or when you're dragging game). That's difficult. The primary keys to warmth and health in cold weather are fourfold:
1) Keep your feet dry.
2) Keep your head and feet warm - and don't neglect your face!
3) Wear multiple layers adaptable to temperature and body heat changes to prevent chill from both cold and perspiration.
4) Stay hydrated and well-fed!

So here's a "short list" of what I consider essential hunting gear:
- snow shoes (particularly in the mountains, where crevices can have some awful snow drift allowing you to fall in, half-frozen streams, etc. )
- good waterproof boots several sizes too large - insulation is a plus, but can make your feet overly warm on a warmer day or if you're moving, and inhibit movement more than socks - so I prefer socks. :) Two pairs of socks is what I'll typically wear, and take one off or put one more on depending on weather and movement plans. Do NOT tight-lace your boots or you will lose circulation - and the boot should not 'pinch' your foot webbing when you've got your maximum amount of socks on. (My current hunting boots are Danner Strikers, and they've worked quite well for what they are.) My grandfather has sworn his entire life by those almost-olive-green Wellingtons with multiple socks, but I prefer the slight breathing ability of leather due to naturally sweaty feet, and I don't have to contend with the wet environments of his NE hunting grounds. (I don't like gortex because it makes my feet too warm, and they sweat enough as it is)
- two pairs of comfortable poly/wool socks and two pairs of heavy wool socks per day, if you plan to make a full day of it. You can layer and you can replace them with dry socks half-way-through the day, and it'll greatly improve your energy conservation and comfort (in terms of temperature and humidity).
- Multiple layers on my legs, from outside to in: carhart bib coveralls, old BDUs, one or two layers of thermal underwear/long johns/sweat pants. Since my legs are the part of my body more likely to be moving, I prefer to let them ventilate a bit more than my upper body.
- Upper body, in to out: thermal underwear, fleece, thin/spring/fall windbreaker (no insulation, just a polyester cheap thing), down vest, Vietnam era hand-me-down flight deck jacket w/ 2 down liners, down overcoat, and sometimes a Filson down overcoat. Wool is warm, and fleece is pretty good too, all around. It's about as close as you can get to wool-like properties in a synthetic garment (thicker the garment the better), and mixing it with down is just about perfect!
- head: fleece cap, scarf and a fleece/wool baklava that tucks under the collar of the jackets. It's important to keep your neck covered because you lose a lot of heat from there as well as your head. I avoid 'hooded' garments: even though they'd possibly be warmer and a little less itchy on the scalp, they'll also reduce your ability to hear your surroundings, minimalize your peripheral vision, and make a bit more noise when you move.
- hands: wool mittens with the 'flip open' finger coverings and half-gloves built in (not sure what they're called), with some wind-resistant biking gloves underneath.
- pack: rope, dressing tools, energy bars, jerky, hot water in a thermos, sandwich, hand/body heater packs, emergency blanket, camp cup, lighters, those old military MRE heaters (the variety that burn), plastic bags, 1 liter soda bottle to piss in (binoculars and knife go in one of the many jacket pockets)

I should note that I've not actually spent anything for "hunting gear" per se, other than the carharts. But I've taken to wearing those during the really cold Winter days anyway. :)

This year I intend to add a ski mask to my equipment because the high winds out here makes it almost impossible to see at times due to the cold (freezing the liquid on your eyes). I also need a good pair of snow shoes, but haven't had a real need for 'em yet. Also thinking of making/buying a poncho to use as an improvised blind or shelter if SHTF all of the sudden and a storm picks up preventing me from getting back to the vehicle.

If I'm moving, I'll unzip the jacket and vest about 1/2 way downto allow cool air in and perspiration out, or take them off entirely. It's important to not let too much perspiration build up inside your clothes, because again, it can freeze if your body temp isn't warm enough to warm all the damp layers over 32F. Good layering helps with this a great deal, even with high winds.

That said, this past year I sat still for a good 7 hours in the above gear, in -10F to -20F with 30mph winds (thouh I was sheltered and in a calm area) after hiking through snow that was 2/3rds of the way to my knee for about 1/2 a mile to get to my sitting place - and despite the fact that I was damp with perspiration for an hour or so after getting there, I was still warm enough that I had to take my outer jacket off. Better to be too warm than not, though, because you can and will lose body temperature FAST. It's a delicate balance between warm, too warm (too warm = more perspiration = faster rate of cooling you might not be able to recover from), and chilled.

I'll also pack along some food and warm water in a thermos to insure that I don't lose body temp. Hunger is really good at lowering body temp, too, so eat regularly even if you don't feel particularly hungry!

ETA: pressurized lighters CAN and WILL fail in cold weather due to the gas not evaporating/gelling (I don't know, exactly why, I just know they do). I've not had problems with zippos myself, but I have had problems with the $1 gas station variety as well as with the 'butane torch' variety. Plan ahead - I usually have three lighters on me: two on my inner garments (zippo, $1 gas station variety) and one in my bag (zippo) with extra fluid. Don't forget good waterproof matches, either.

redneck2
July 12, 2007, 07:01 AM
I've deer hunted on and off in cold weather for 40+ years. I'd forget the oversize skier type clothes. Polypro, wool, and Gore-tex in layers. I've got a Goretex archers jacket that came from Gander Mountain. It's light enough for warmer weather but windproof, waterproof, and has storm cuffs and hood. Army surplus stores have the thick wool sweaters for underneath.

As for boots, I'd take a minimum of 2 pair. When I was getting ready for Idaho elk I had 3 pair. If you happen to get water inside a pair, it's gonna be tough to get them dried out overnite.

For gloves, I use some thin ones almost like divers gloves, then carry wool mittens with the flip up finger tips for shooting.

Remember, at altitude it's all about weight. If you're going up and down mountains, every ounce counts. Make sure you've got a really comfortable sling for your rifle. Also use Butler Creek flip caps.

RubenZ
July 12, 2007, 10:07 AM
I might have missed it, but do any of you wear mask? ski mask? Is there something that won't itch your face?

dakotasin
July 12, 2007, 11:30 AM
no, i don't - i use to when the weather went to about 15 below or colder, but found hunting in that kind of weather was very unproductive. my own cut-off for productive hunting is between 10 below and zero, depending on wind.

Vern Humphrey
July 12, 2007, 12:20 PM
I might have missed it, but do any of you wear mask? ski mask? Is there something that won't itch your face?
Depending on which expert you like, about 70% of heat loss is from the head. That's why I like stocking caps. I usually have two or three with me, and pull them down. One of them is always the "eyehole" type. I use an acrylic for that -- less itchy.

redneck2
July 12, 2007, 06:23 PM
Need to add....my wife bought me some Comfort-temp sox off QVC. Those things are SUPER warm. My feet get cold pretty easy and they have never gotten cold in those, even when standing on the lake ice fishing or standing on frozen ground.

If it's way cold, I use a hood thingy that she also got off QVC. You can just keep it down around your neck, pull it up into a hood, or close off the front and basically make a ski mask arrangement. Since it's polar fleece, it's zero itch and real soft. Sock caps are fine, but you gotta keep your neck covered. If I wear the hood, I put the (blaze orange) sock cap over the top.

Polar fleece is a real good thing to wear under the Gore-tex jacket. Light and breathes but super warm.

budney
July 12, 2007, 06:35 PM
Never hunted in extreme cold, but I always bring a wide-mouth thermos full of pea soup. It stores heat like lava, so it does a MUCH better job of warming you up than coffee.

--Len.

Vern Humphrey
July 12, 2007, 06:37 PM
The trick to being a good hunter is to be a comfortable hunter. When your toes are freezing, it's tough to sit still for hours on end.

The real secret is not to wind up drenched with sweat, then sit down in freezing weather and try to stay warm. Don't wear everything you own while humping up the mountain, but carry what you need in your pack. Dress cold, carry warm.

Vern Humphrey
July 12, 2007, 06:48 PM
Never hunted in extreme cold, but I always bring a wide-mouth thermos full of pea soup.

A nice thing to have in your pack is an empty quart milk jug -- when you fill up with coffee, soup, whatever, you'll need to empty your bladder at some point.

Caimlas
July 13, 2007, 03:23 PM
As for boots, I'd take a minimum of 2 pair. When I was getting ready for Idaho elk I had 3 pair. If you happen to get water inside a pair, it's gonna be tough to get them dried out overnite.

Good point! Ive never gone hunting two days in a row before where I didn't have an opportunity to do so (ie warm fire and/or building). One possible way to mitigate this is to use boots without anything with absorbative properties, like Galoshes, Wellingtons, what have you. Rubber is a pretty good insulator, doesn't get wet, and is quite flexible allowing for a fair amount of foot comfort. Just remember the socks!

i use to when the weather went to about 15 below or colder, but found hunting in that kind of weather was very unproductive.

You've just got to find the area sheltered from the wind with food, water, and shelter in close proximity!

Yeah, it doesn't work as well, but it still works.

Leanwolf
July 14, 2007, 01:47 AM
Not much to add to the other posters, but one thing to remember. IF you wear glasses, be sure and take an extra pair. A hard case is better protection for glasses if you take a fall, etc. You'd be surprised how many hunters either break, or sometimes lose, their glasses.

I've hunted elk in Colo. four times. Highest altitude was 13,500 feet. The coldest I experienced was minus 17*F. Don't know what the wind chill factor was but it was cold enough for this child. :)

I had layers of polypro underwear, lightweight wool shirts, and a down jacket. I always wear wool pants over the polypro underwear. I always carried a lightweight rain suit in my day pack. Came in mighty handy, too. Of the four hunts, three of them were in snowy, wet conditions. I also used gaiters. Smartwool socks are fantastic.

I've hunted elk in Wyom., and Montana, and of course, quite a few times in Idaho. You'd not catch me out there in the mountains in cotton clothing.

As stated several times above: get in shape! Drink lots of water in the high country. Leave alcohol alone at night, unless it is just one small drink before dinner!

Elk hunting in the Rocky Mountains is a fantastic experience... but it ain't easy. If you're in good physical condition, have the proper equipment, you'll have a great time.

Good luck.

L.W.

11c2v
July 14, 2007, 08:22 AM
C Clean
O Overheating, avoid it
L Loose Layers
D Dry
Just because its military issue doesn't mean it worth a crap. I was issued winter boots with nothing but felt insoles in '89 and first generation Gortex together.
Also, Gortex is noisy. No, it won't keep the bears away, but it will diminish YOUR hearing while on the move. Not so good for stalking.
Extra, high quality socks.
Know your limitations. Altitude is a very big deal. And chances are you wont be walking flat ground. Loose fitting boots leave little to be desired up and down steep terrain.
GPS with extra batteries. Store them IN your jacket or parka to keep the batteries warm if it is cold. A good topographical map is a must, but only if you know how to read it!
Also, make sure your rifle lube is rated for cold weather use. CLP is not!
Just a few things I've learned.
Don't forget to have fun

hounddog
July 14, 2007, 08:24 AM
Last year I started using under armour cold gear shirt and pants. Was very impressed. Good wicking ability, helped greatly with insulation, lightweight and not bulky.

redneck2
July 15, 2007, 08:22 PM
Also, Gortex is noisy. No, it won't keep the bears away, but it will diminish YOUR hearing while on the move. Not so good for stalking
I used to think the same thing, but the jacket I have now is Gore-Tex and isn't doesn't make noise. Many do. I don't know of anything else that's waterproof and still breathes. If it's quiet and let's you layer up, it's the best of all worlds.

salthouse
July 15, 2007, 09:58 PM
Get some of the therma-care or other brand 8 hour disposable heating pads. They are light for easy carry, last long, and can make a cold miserable day comfortable. I use them in N. Maine and can stay out all day in very cold weather. Of course the other advice on the right gear is vital too.

gunmn74
July 15, 2007, 11:26 PM
I was near Kremmling Colorado in the 3rd no antler restriction season in
1993 and it was cold. I went with guys that had done it before but they
did not give me much advise about what I needed. We were staying in an
old army surplus octagon tent with a wood stove, They all slept in there
boxers in a couple of sleeping bags. I slept in my coat and bibs and got
up to add wood to the fire every 30 minuts to keep from freezing.
(I only had a cheap summer sleeping bag, splurge for the mummy bag)
I was the coldest I had ever been in my life but I would do it again in
a second.:D
Now I am no longer a Colorado resident and my old 32 dollar tag is now
almost 500 bucks.:eek:

sm
July 15, 2007, 11:51 PM
Silk wicks moisture away from skin.
Wool keeps one warm even if wet.

I do not do camo, never have, never will.

Gortex is fine and dandy, but one can sew a wool coat, or a waxed cotton coat and re-wax it.

Wool is quieter.

Lots of "gear" is designed to take your money - not for really being helpful in the outdoors.

JohnBT
July 16, 2007, 09:17 AM
"I might have missed it, but do any of you wear mask? ski mask?"

I tried one, but it was only good for really cold weather. Now I use a black fleece neck gaiter for duck hunting, with either a Filson hat, Filson waxed canvas ball cap, Filson wool ball cap or insulated Filson ball cap with ear flaps depending on the weather. Now you know what's in the blind bag with the spare ammo and gloves. When a hat blows out of the boat they get to wear one of my size XL backups.

You can wear the gaiter folded down around your neck, pulled up over your mouth and nose, or like a floppy open-topped stocking cap if it's not too cold and you want to let your head breathe.

For pre-sunrise boat rides I wear one of the ball caps with a stocking cap over it to hold it on. The hood for my Columbia parka only comes out of the bag if the pouring rain is blowing down my neck.

www.cabelas.com/prod-1/0014854942910a.shtml

And I agree with everything that's been said about layers, polypro (Thermax, etc.), polypro sock liners with wool socks, extra boots, etc.

JohnBigheadT

JohnBT
July 16, 2007, 09:31 AM
"I do not do camo"

When we head out into the saltwater marsh I look like one of the guys in the catalogs, but it was an accident.

Filson makes hats that fit my big head and the local gun store stocks them. Great quality, but my favorite is the insulated ball cap with ear flaps - it came in Shadowgrass.

Years ago after getting wet once too often in the duck boat, I bought a Columbia parka in Shadowgrass pattern - listed for $270, but on sale worth it when the northeasters blow. A few years went by and my old brown chest waders wore out. I looked for another pair, but the best I could find were camo - Shadowgrass was on sale again. Then after having back surgery a few years ago I decided that I deserved a new autoloader to replace my '93 Express and my Wal-Mart black 1100. After shopping and comparing and looking some more, I ran across a like-new 2-year-old SX-2 Waterfowl - that's a Shadowgrass gun wouldn't you know.

It's almost embarrassing to show up. Of course, I don't look anything like a model, so I can get away with it.

John

Caimlas
July 18, 2007, 10:02 PM
Here's the kind of head covering I use, fwiw: http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templates/product/standard-item.jsp?id=0005153901033a&navCount=5&podId=0005153&parentId=cat601728&masterpathid=&navAction=jump&cmCat=MainCatcat470076-cat601728&catalogCode=XG&rid=&parentType=index&indexId=cat601728&hasJS=true

The wind-proof aspect is critical, at least out here, for me.

22-rimfire
July 18, 2007, 10:56 PM
Wool pants and coat. I'd take a couple pairs of pants. Armour stuff against your skin. Have a light parka that will fit over the coat to cut the wind if needed. Have polar fleece underneath and carry a wool sweater and scarf. Pack a knit cap too. I like the recommendation above for really cold weather as you can wear your hat on top.

Caimlas
July 19, 2007, 04:51 AM
That's what I generally do, 22-rimfire. If I'm moving, I take the outer cap off and unbutton/unzip my front.

Rock_Steady
July 19, 2007, 10:02 AM
Late to the party, but here's what I use while still hunting -

http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templates/links/link.jsp?type=pod&id=0005156

Sure it looks real dumb - but I have never had warmer ears for a longer period of time. Great hat to have.

warriorsociologist
July 19, 2007, 10:00 PM
Read, "To Build a Fire" by Jack London before you go... :)
Classic short story...and you'll remember your tinder.

Justin
July 20, 2007, 01:22 PM
Guys-

Thank you very much for the info. Lot to go through, but I'll be printing some of this out and going to the local Sportsman's Warehouse and Cabela's website.

Justin did you draw that late season 3-301 tag? If so I can give you some sage advice on that unit. It is guarantied kill if you know where to go.

Avtually, I've got Unit #501. (I hope that answers your question!)


FWIW, I tried jogging last week, and the results were spectacularly abysmal. I've got my work cut out for me! Thankfully there's a nice nature preserve less than a mile from my house, which makes for a nice place to jog.

Art Eatman
July 20, 2007, 01:57 PM
Better go use up that 110-grain stuff on Chad's prairie dogs, too. :D:D:D

Art

Justin
July 20, 2007, 02:01 PM
Ha. I need to shoot him a message.

Lately been p-doggin' down at Larry's.

Also, I've got stuff to reload .30-06 now, too. :D

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