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What to wear for hunting in the USA

There's no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes, as the old saying goes. That's why we asked Kate Senn to put down some advice for what to wear in the different climatic conditions you might find in the USA, starting with some general advice, and then going into a bit more detail.

General tips for hunting attire that should be regarded across the United States:

  • Always know the rules about 'hunter orange' where you will be hunting. States vary greatly between hunter orange rules. When in doubt, or to play it safe, pack a hunter orange vest that can fit easily over your largest clothing layer and an orange cap. Also check out this website:http://www.ihea-usa.org/hunting-and-shooting/requirements/hunter-orange-requirements

  • Camouflage color will also vary from state to state, and region to region. The desert plateau will have a different camouflage to great, damp forests so plan your camo outfit early, and do your research.

  • As always, local knowledge is the best knowledge. Guides, lodges and state park employees are great resources on what to wear in their community's climate. Otherwise, use free software like Google Maps 'street view' to get a sense of the area and craft the camouflage to your conclusion (don't overthink it).

  • Check the average monthly rainfall for the area before packing what to wear on a hunting trip. It may make or break your decision to pitch your old rain jacket or not beforehand. https://www.usclimatedata.com/

  • Pack a patch of moleskin and check atleast daily for hot spots, or blisters. Moleskin cut and taped to tender areas on your foot, toes or heel can put you from the back of the hunt, to the front, quickly.

  • Crumpled up newspaper stuffed inside boots every night is a great way to wick moisture no matter where you are. Pack a small amount to be used every night of your trip to help your boots dry.

So lets take a look at a typica kitlist for a few different climates found in the USA

Hunting clothing for a Mixed Humid environment

stalking clothing for a mixed environment

Some game is open all year long, like for the weary coyote or ground stompin' hog but most local hunters turn their sights to deer and bigger game in the fall. The rut reigns and a tremendous amount of activity is going on despite the cooler, wet temperatures of autumn in this mixed humid climate.

Top

Hunters typically wear a thin jacket thrown over a three-quarter zip pullover or warm shirt. By midday temperatures can heat up, especially on a sunny day. Check the weather the day before your trip and be prepared for everything. Always carry a darn good rain jacket and hat.

Core

Take advice from the professionals and avoid wearing cotton if you are hiking around all day outdoors. A thin, quick-drying synthetic or merino wool baselayer is ideal in this climate. Look for something that will quickly wick away perspiration yet provide insulation as the day gets cooler. If it looks like a damp and drizzly hunt, a well insulated vest is the best companion in the field thrown over thin layers or underneath a jacket.

Hands

Thin to medium insulated gloves are most likely needed- especially at dusk and dawn. Sometimes hunters will go without gloves in this climate.

Bottom

Comfortable, quick-drying pants will feel more comfortable than jeans; particularly when an afternoon storm dampens things. In cooler weathers, wear a thin merino wool baselayer or polar fleece pants underneath a thin a ripstop and or water resistant pant. Waders and waterproof pants are also popular in wet conditions.

Feet

Word to the wise: purchase a pair of hunting boots that you would want to wear if you had to cross a swamp. Multiple times. In one day. Period. Make sure your boots are comfortable and ready for lots of hiking. Thin wool socks are ideal; too much sock can cause poor foot circulation, and cold feet. Pack a spare pair, just in case.

Hunting clothing for a Hot Dry/ Mixed Dry environment

Top

Even in the fall, a sweltering hunt in hot, dry temperatures is not uncommon. Don't be caught off guard- at night temperatures cool off and a jacket is necessary. The fall may have some of the wettest days of the year here, too, so carry a slicker or rain jacket that can be useful as a windbreaker.

It is not uncommon for a sunset temperature of 27(degrees) C/81(degrees), or a streak of 100 degree days, so carry a few thin top options, a buff for your neck and a hat. Try a shirt in today's hunting-specific fabrics with built in scent block to prevent unwanted odors from drifting downwind. In hot areas, it may help reduce being detected.

Core

A synthetic, thin, long-sleeved shirt that is sun-protected is best. Layer it with a three-quarter zip thin pullover that is also made from synthetic material is all you will need to keep your core warm here.

Hands

Protect your hands from the sun, dust and wind with fingerless gloves. Take a scissors to a favorite pair of gardening gloves or take a look at modern companies selling gloves with sun protection built in them.

Bottom

Shorts are probably not out of the question, but guides and experienced locals will suggest thin, quick-dry pants over cutoffs. Climbing over dry, brittle terrain into prickly bush is not only better but safer with outdoor, bushwhacking pants.

Feet

Lightweight hunting boots were designed for a reason. The climate of a hunt on a hot summer day in the southern United States was that reason. Typically the weather is too warm for thick, winter insulated hunting boots. Buy a lightweight pair of boots that will dry out quickly and not overheat your feet.

Clothing for fishing and hunting in a Marine environment

Top

A marine climate is, you guessed it, an area with a lot of precipitation. Fall is no exception. Besides a really good rain jacket that gives you plenty of mobility, a moderatly insulated jacket is common. Daytime temperatures can heat up and the sun does shine, but once you are wet, chances are you will get uncomfortable. A buff and cap are essentials too.

Core

A thin synthetic shirt should be the first layer. It will wick away moisture from your body and regulate your temperature. Merino wool or another synthetic long-sleeved shirt follows suit. Based on the temperature the days around your hunt, a vest may also be needed

Hands

Take a comfortable pair of synthetic gloves, and another pair for backup if you think rain will chase you and your hunt. Use handwarmers to chase the chill back out.

Bottom

Merino wool or synthetic long underwear are typical for a fall hunt in the marine states. Warm temperatures may not require long underwear but some hunters may start with an extra bottom layer and shed it mid-day. Ripstop field plants hold up well in this climate. Rainproof pants and waders, depending on the hunt and weather conditions are also warn.

Feet

As you'd imagine, in this damp environment good waterproof boots are essential, but breatheability is a watchword here too.

Hunting clothing for Hot Humid environments

Top

Hunting alligator, and cheering on college American football teams are two of the most quintessential things to do during Autumn months in the southern United States. 'What to wear' decisions for hunting in a hot humid climate turns into 'how little to wear' because hot fall days are common.

A synthetic, quick-dry long sleeved shirt accompanied with a buff, and hat may be all that you need so invest wisely. A sun-protected shirt or thin jacket as a second layer is an option but make sure to pack a rain jacket no matter what. Try a shirt or jacket in one of today's hunting-specific fabrics with built-in scent block.

Core

Avoid anything cotton and stick to wearing a quick-dry shirt as a baselayer.

Hands

Thin, synthetic gloves to protect your hands from the sun are a good thing to wear if you are in the sun but generally, gloves are not worn.

Bottom

Ripstop pants in the bush are best, otherwise hunters wear waders, duck hunting or rain pants, to avoid a day-long drizzle. On hot days, grab the thinnest hunting clothing you can find. If a cold front comes in, adjust to a thicker insulated pant. It is hard to predict the weather in this climate; especially in hurricane season!

Feet

Don't overheat your feet in this sizzling climate. Try to stick to lightweight, breathable boots instead of leather boots. Thin socks are ideal.

Clothing for hunting in a cold climate

Hunting in the snow

Top

Hearing the bleat of a curious doe should never be missed because you are too cold to get out of the bunk in the morning. Snow, rain, wind and miserable weather can reign through cold US climates in the fall. Avoid the chills with a well insulated jacket ready for hours of tough conditions as a “worst case scenario”. The dusk and dawn hours will always be crisp. If you are lucky and the sun shines or you hit a hunt during an “Indian summer”, the daytime will be warm enough to shed a big jacket or vest but always pack a hat, buff or warm neckwear.

Core

A long-sleeved Merino wool or synthetic baselayer should be paired with a warm fleece pullover and vest to keep your core warm. A thick vest is best to keep you mobile on a cool hunt. Take a merino wool or fleece scarf to better insulate and regulate your core's temperature, too.

Hands

Take care of your hands by wearing moderately insulated gloves or two-in-one convertible gloves for more mobility. Avoid leather gloves because they become cold and difficult to use when wet.

Bottom

Weather the elements with insulated pants as most hunts are damp and cool. Rainproof pants over pants and a base layer may be necessary if a fall storm decides to sit above you and the game. Sometimes hunters can get away with a thin pant on a clear day, but ripstop pants with long Merino wool underwear or polar fleece pants underneath are more reciprocal to the climate. Reminder: don't make yourself immobile due to a clothing malfunction, try on all of your gear and clothing prior the trip (you will thank us later).

Feet

Cold feet can make for a miserable hunt so make sure your socks are up the task - merino wool or a synthetic material will be best. Make sure your boots are sturdy, waterproof and with sufficient grip to deal with slippery footings, be that snow or mud!

 


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