How to Prepare for a Hunting Trip in Winter

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Winter is a great time for hunting. Depending on your location, there is lots of game to hunt during the colder months. Deer, rabbit, raccoons, beaver, squirrels, and more all have hunting seasons that begin and end in the winter. 

In order to ensure your winter hunting trip is a success, you need to follow the steps outlined in this guide. They will ensure you are safe, comfortable, and successful in your winter hunting trip. Checklists like this guide can help you ensure you bring only what you need for your hunting trip. 

Steps for Preparing for a Hunting Trip in Winter

Want to try winter hunting? If the answer is yes, you need to know the following steps. 

winter hunting

Stay warm.

This is the most important tip for hunting in the winter is to do everything you can to stay warm. Most of the middle and upper part of the United States gets cold in the winter. Frostbite and hypothermia are extremely serious conditions. Tramping around and sitting in the cold while hunting is a great way to cause health problems.  


Staying warm while hunting doesn’t have to be rocket science. It is really a function of having the correct gear and shelter. Make sure you wear the correct clothes, such as thermal undergarments and a heavy jacket. Laying is extremely important in the winter. This way you can adjust your clothing to keep you as warm as possible. 


If you will be camping while hunting, make sure your tent and sleeping bag is rated for the winter. Many products are three-season, which means they are not appropriate for use in the winter. You need a tent and cover that can be used in the winter in addition to a 0-degree rated sleeping bag. 


Understand the rules. 

This tip really applies to all hunting, no matter the season. Make sure to be familiar with and follow all rules and regulations for hunting in your area. Understand when the hunting seasons begin and end for your preferred game. Only hunt in locations where it is allowed. And, always purchase the correct licenses and used approved firearms for each type of game. 

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Yes, this step may seem like a no-brainer. However, you don’t want your winter hunting trip ruined because you didn’t follow the rules. Understanding the law in your area before you begin hunting will keep you safe and save you a lot of headaches in the future. 


Bring the correct hunting tools. 

The number one, most important hunting tool is always your firearm and scope. Make sure you use the right firearm for your preferred hunting style and type of game. The caliber, stock, barrel, and optics you use may differ in winter from the ones you use in the spring or summer. Some people prefer to use the same gear year-round. If you do, make sure your firearm, optic, and more will work correctly in winter weather. 

To ensure that you and the people you’re hunting with are safe during hunting season, you must bring the proper range backpack for your firearm. You should have a safe place to store your gun when not hunting to avoid accidents before, during, and after hunting.

In addition to your firearm, you will need to bring other hunting tools. Ammo, binoculars, a knife and knife sharpener, GPS, radio, trail-marking tape, game calls, and more are needed for a successful hunting trip. Plan your gear carefully to ensure you have everything you need when the day arrives. 


Pack correctly. 

You need to bring the correct gear on your winter hunting trip, but you also need to pack it correctly. Make sure you only bring the gear and equipment you need. The more stuff you bring, the heavier your packs will be. Heavy packs are harder to deal with in the winter. 

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Move around often. 

In the winter it is even more important to move your body regularly. Sitting all day in a tree stand or blind is a great way to have frostbite or hypothermia problems. Moving does more than just keep up warm, it also keeps our blood flowing. Blood flow is essential for proper brain function, which we need for both hunting and surviving outside in the winter. 


We recommend getting up, moving around, and stretching every 20-30 minutes in the winter. Make sure to stretch your joints, especially your extremities, as these can be the first to freeze in cold weather. If you notice joint pain or trouble moving, return to base camp and start a fire to warm up immediately. 


Watch the weather. 

Weather in the winter, especially in northern climates can be extremely unpredictable. Keep an eye on the weather in the days leading up to your trip. It can be annoying to cancel or put off a hunting trip because of a blizzard, snow, or ice, but that annoyance is preferable to a life-or-death situation because of bad weather. 


Keeping track of the weather has never been easier. From our phones to our computers and other digital devices, you should have no problems finding a trustworthy weather app. 


Final Thoughts

For many people, there is nothing better than hunting in the winter. There is something about the silence and peace of a snow-covered forest that speaks to any hunter. You just need to ensure that you are properly prepared for your hunting trip. Follow the advice in this guide, and you will be well on your way towards a great winter hunt.