Turkey season in my home state of Idaho is only a month away. Winter’s been a long time leaving! Hopefully, you all have been shooting and staying in archery shape throughout the winter. (If not, refer to my previous article, Getting and Staying Archery Fit)
In Idaho, our turkey season opens April 15th and I have seen all four seasons of weather in one day of spring hunting. Last year, I shot some awesome footage of turkeys walking through the snow toward my decoys. Two days later, after the sun had melted all of the snow, I filmed four ghost-like gobblers strutting their stuff through a misty fog on an incredibly freezing frosty morning. I think the coldest I have ever been was sitting in that predawn turkey blind waiting for the action to happen. That brings me to the point of this article-staying warm!
|Warm as toast in your blind with this ventfree heater.
One good thing about hunting turkeys with a bow is we are usually camped inside a pop-up blind and turkeys can’t smell-it’s a lot like ice fishing. I’ve found that using a portable heater like the Mr. Heater is great choice for staying toasty warm. It is very quiet and again a turkey is not going to smell any propane fumes. The down side is packing extra gear if you have to walk very far to the blind. After last year, I won’t sacrifice comfort for inconvenience.
|Look for this box at your retailer anytime you have to be outdoors in cold weather.
A more portable lightweight option is using the tried and true hand warmer. Several companies make hand warmers and you can get them in different sizes. They take a few minutes to get hot so I open a hand warmer and put it in my pocket just as I’m leaving the truck. In about 30 minutes when I’m set up, the hand warmer is already cooking and providing instant warmth. I usually open a couple of them and put one inside my shooting hand pocket and the other inside of my jacket. This helps keep the core warm-which keeps my whole body warm.
|Using a Back Brace not only provides support but also warmth.
I recently developed a neat system for staying warm while providing great back support. It’s called the Sportsman’s Back Brace (see www.bowfit.com). The back brace has sewn in hand warmer pockets and these pockets are positioned so hand warmers can be placed directly over the low back / kidney area. This is the optimal location for a hand warmer as keeping the low back and kidneys warm is key to staying comfortable for a long time. The back brace is also adjustable and provides excellent back support to make sitting long hours in the outdoors more enjoyable.
|Whether sitting in a blind or in a stand it’s wise in cold weather situations to use a BowFit to stay loose and keep muscles warm and ready to shoot.
If you’ve ever tried to pull a bow back when you’re cold, you know where I’m going with this. It is amazingly more difficult to draw a bow when you are cold versus when you are warmed up. Why? In simple terms, for each increased degree of muscle temperature rise, there is an increase of metabolism by 13 %. In other words, at higher muscle temperatures, there is a faster and more complete use of oxygen supply to the muscles. This equals improved efficiency and athletic performance. Also, when you are cold, blood tends to diffuse out of the muscles and flow back toward the core to maintain core temperature. This means less blood supply for the muscles, which make more difficult to draw your bow. Ligaments and tendons lose elasticity and become less flexible when cold so keeping them warm is important to being able to draw a bow safely without injury.
Enter the Bowfit Archery Exerciser.
|BowFit has become the number one product to stay bow ready.
The Bowfit Archery Exerciser was made to be adjustable. It is easy to adjust between a light draw resistance for warming up and a stiffer resistance for increasing strength.
To stay warm using the Bowfit, I recommend adjusting the Bowfit tubing to a single or loose double strand position and pull back several times prior to drawing your bow (see How to Use Bowfit @ www.bowfit.com). I usually pull my Bowfit when I first get settled into my blind and then every 10 minutes or so during the hunt. I recommend pulling 10 reps and holding for 5-10 seconds each pull. This helps keep the muscles warm and directs the blood flow toward my muscles instead of pooling toward the core.
The Heater Body Suit is a cocoon of warmth and easy to move out of to shoot.
Staying warm is vital to pleasure and the ability to shoot. When hunting in severe cold I also recommend the Heater Body Suit. Sitting in a treestand in the wind, snow, or sitting on the ground in a blind, if it’s really cold this product is invaluable.
Taking the time to stay warm during your hunt will make your hunting experience much more enjoyable. More importantly, you will be ready to shoot when ol’ Tom comes struttin’ in!
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