Bowhunting is great, but an important part of your equipment is choosing the right hunting equipment. Without it, your hunt can be downright miserable. Just ask any hunter who decided to go bowhunting in a pair of comfortable sneakers, only to regret later that he had to give up early because his feet were freezing.
Or ask a bowhunter that is suffering pulling back that brand new 65-pound draw weight bull because his fingers are full of blisters because he forgot his gloves.
Remember above all, that bowhunting clothing items will never help you if you leave them at home.
Essential clothing to have
With that said, here are several of the most important clothing items to bring on your hunt:
- Your hunting boots Without question, the number one item to give great thought to is your hunting boots.
First, even if you hit a deer with a hunting arrow, chances are high the deer will retreat into the bush and slowly bleed away.This means you may be tracking a big buck for a mile or more, across the tough country.In addition, you are likely to encounter plenty of water from small streams, so your boots better are waterproof.
In addition, consider traction. You want boots that have rubber cleats built in to maintain traction over rough surfaces.
Finally, you must take into account insulation. Bowhunters often need more insulation than other hunters because they spend more time in tree stands, whereas, if you are moving, your feet will keep warmer.
You might want to consider two pairs of boots because hunting in cold temperatures demands more insulation, while in seasonal temperatures, those same boots may seem hot.
Wear a pair of thick socks when trying hunting boots on, and don’t be that guy that spends $800 on his bow but only $29.95 for his boots at the bargain basement bin. Around $100 and up should be your guidepost.
- Your base layer According to The Meateater.com what you are looking for here is Merino wool.Merino wool is warm on cold days, yet breathes and wicks moisture when it’s hot.No other synthetic is as versatile, and even if it gets wet, it will still keep you warm.
Merino wool comes in various styles, so buy the style that suits the weather you will be hunting with. There are warm-weather varieties as well as extreme cold types.
- Mid-layers According to Thirtysevenfive.com, you need a good mid-layer. Recommended are fleece hoodies or merino wool that can be unzipped and vented to control the temperature if it gets warm.Bowhunters, who spend a lot of time in tree stands need to be particularly mindful of this layer, as it frequently makes a difference between comfort or not.
- An insulation layer You may not need it at all, but you are certainly going to want to pack an insulation layer of at least 750 fill. Think down vests, and down jackets, preferably with a windproof face protector and hood.
- An outer shellHere, you’re looking for a tough, rainproof, brushed fabric, making it easy to move in a treestand.For a review of some of the best hunting jackets, have a look at The Top Pro.com. We’re not saying that these are the only jackets to consider, but it does give you a fantastic preview of what’s out there.
- Hunting Pants and Hunting shirtsWe’re not particularly picky with this one, as long as the hunting shirts and pants are durable. Long sleeve work shirts and pants such as are sold by Dickies, are perfect for keeping your arms and legs protected from thorns and pointy branches.Trust us, strong construction pants beat the heck out of ordinary street clothes.
- GlovesGloves are a priority with bowhunters, first to keep their hands warm sitting in a treestand for hours. Second, to keep the skin of your fingertips from rubbing off while shooting.A good archery glove, whether it’s made out of leather, Gortex, wool, or fleece, should above all be extremely flexible. Which is a reason why we don’t recommend buying gloves online unless they are a pair of replacement gloves.Go to a large sports store, and try on several pairs. See how they fit and determine whether they would be good fits for a bowhunter.
Our current favorite is a pop-up mitten which keeps your hands toasty, but then when the action happens, pops open to reveal the inner glove, which is thinner, but will protect your fingers while shooting.
Plan on spending at least $20 or more for a good pair of gloves.
There are plenty of other items to consider, including safety vests, which may be required by law, hats, boot girdles which wrap around the outside of your boot and ankle, belts, etc. But we believe we’ve covered the essentials.
Bowhunting is a great sport, but you want to be ready for all elements of the weather if you want to maximize your hunting experience. You may miss out on a huge buck if it looks like the weather will be down to freezing, and you aren’t prepared.
Layering is the fundamental principle to keep in mind so that you can hunt comfortably whether the weather is unseasonably warm, or cold, or it rains.
Keeping your hands and feet warm in particular are priorities, and wear stout, comfortable boots that have the traction to allow you to chase after injured deer.
You don’t have to buy the best, but at the very least, aim for good quality. So go ahead and shop now, to be fully prepared for your next bow hunt.