Too Cold To Hunt? Some Hunters Embrace The Cold!

I chuckled yesterday when a news release from Southwick Associates crossed my desk with the title “How Cold is Too Cold for Hunters?”  You can read the full release HERE, but here’s the gist of their findings:

There are indeed some fair weather hunters out there. Organized by region, the percentage of polled hunters who say it is too cold to hunt as temps fall to between 21 and 30 degrees were:

 

  • Great Lakes States                          3 percent
  • Northeast States                              5 percent
  • Northern Plains States                   3 percent
  • South Central States                       10 percent
  • Southeast States                              9 percent
  • Western States                                 8 percent

 

By the time temperatures have fallen between 1 and 10 degrees, the percentage of hunters who choose to stay inside are:

 

  • Great Lakes States                          31 percent
  • Northeast States                              40 percent
  • Northern Plains States                   18 percent
  • South Central States                       51 percent
  • Southeast States                              52 percent
  • Western States                                 36 percent

 

But the tipping point seems to be 0 degrees when across every region except the Northern Plains states an additional 25 to 32 percent of hunters report it is too cold to hunt. In the Northern Plains, another 21 percent, are choosing a warm fire over a cold deer stand or predator setup.HunterSurvey.com

Now, I’ll admit there are a lot of factors that lend themselves to hunting in the cold.   For instance, when you’re younger and generally more eager one tends to dismiss the adverse weather as being a deterrent to being outside in the cold.   In other words, with advancing age generally comes some increased sensibilities in the decision making process.

Another big factor is what type of hunting is being done.   If a person is sitting motionless in a deer stand or walking sloughs in pursuit of game birds it makes a big difference.   Muscles in action tend to deal with the cold a bit better.

Of course, you also have the prevailing wind speed level as a big factor.   It can be cold and still outside, yet very tolerable.   But once that wind cranks up it will dissipate heat from your body faster than you can imagine even with some of the best gear being worn.

One often overlooked factor is if you are seeing game while hunting.   It’s amazing how a person suddenly forgets about the cold when a flock of ducks look promising they might decoy in.    For that matter, if you’re not seeing game a 50 degree day could quickly become too cold to hunt.   It’s a matter of perspective and what’s currently happening.

Now, I ran across this video today of Ryan Patin doing some extreme things on Lake Superior in freezing cold weather…check it out.   By the way, Ryan is a deer hunter here in Minnesota.   That being said, I’ll be the first to admit most Upper Midwest hunters may be heartier than average, but there are always some who take what the cold has to offer to an extreme.    I would have to say what Ryan does in this video is certainly good training for a late season deer hunt.   Wouldn’t you agree?

 

Stuff

It’s a sure sign a person is getting older.

It’s not a sign I’m proud to admit, either.

Nevertheless, I believe most people eventually hit that point in their life when they feel they have enough “stuff.”   In particular, I’m talking about outdoors stuff.

Now, don’t get me wrong…a new fishing pole or a new shotgun always gets the juices flowing.   Yet, the fact remains when a person has been enjoying the outdoors for nearly four decades eventually they start running out of storage space.   The desire to acquire begins to fade.   Maybe a deeper sense of practicality actually sinks in to one’s maturing psyche.

Okay, I’ll admit something I never thought about in my younger days.   Now, as I amass a new bunch of fun toys I begin to think about what will happen to them when I’m out of the picture.   Seriously, at some point a person grows old and the toy either gets permanently stashed away until the estate sale…or, it gets liquidated at a fraction of the purchase price at some garage sale encouraged by your spouse.   The bottom line is the decision process for buying new outdoors equipment evolves as a person ages.

Case in point.   It’s been over a year since I last purchased a firearm.   That is quite a departure from what life was like several years ago.   At times during my past I would purchase a new gun almost on a whim.   Didn’t take much arm twisting at all.   Oh, have times changed in my life.

Today, I have little to no room to store additional guns.   My philosophy is if you can’t store them safely you don’t buy them.   Gun storage is not an afterthought…it’s a primary consideration BEFORE ever shaking the dealer’s hand and beginning the paperwork process.   Nope, even beyond storing the guns you need to take the time necessary to care for them…and it all takes precious time as “stuff” accumulates.

It really doesn’t matter what the “stuff” is, either.   It can be guns, fishing tackle, camo hunting clothes, ATV supplies, campfire accessories, knives, game calls, depth finders, waders, decoys…hell, the list goes on and on.   I think you get the idea.   If you’re young I understand being on a mission to acquire all the fun gadgets you think a person needs to fully enjoy the outdoors.   I’m here to tell you over time those attitudes change.

Now, you might think how much of this sounds a bit negative and perhaps somewhat defeatist that old age is winning the battle.   Quite the contrary, my friend.   While age is certainly a factor influencing this thought process…truth is as a person matures I think you better realize how the outdoors can be enjoyed without modern gadgetry.   Oh, I will never deny how many gadgets are integral and enhance the outdoors experience.   Still, the older a person gets the more apt they are to ask themselves the all-important question…”Did I really need that?”

Going to Cabela’s to buy new “stuff” is always fun.   Having a buddy give you his old “stuff” is always exciting.  Discovering “stuff” on Craigslist at fire-sale pricing is always awesome.   Getting new “stuff” for your birthday or Christmas is wonderful.

But, when you get to that point when you discover new “stuff” you’ve forgotten you purchased last year…well, that could just be the first sign that maybe…just maybe…it’s time to cut back on buying more “stuff.”   At least for a short time.

Random Thoughts Following The 2014 SHOT Show

The 2014 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade(SHOT) Show wrapped up last Friday and by all accounts the industry appears very upbeat and poised for another good sales year.   In fact, if statistics prove anything, the 2014 show was a record breaker with over 5,000 more attendees than last year—totalling over 67,000 people representing over 100 different countries.

The hallways filing into and out of the SHOT Show were often quite busy with people.

All numbers aside, for me the show didn’t offer up anything revolutionary when it comes to new outdoors or shooting products.   Oh, sure, just about every product manufacturer has something new as part of their marketing hype.   They have to.   This is where the new sales season begins.   But more so than other years where folks would clamor to a handful of booths to touch and feel some fantastic new product offerings, it seemed the marketing hysteria was pretty evenly spread throughout the show in 2014.

And that’s a good thing.   Everyone was receiving attention.   Well, almost everyone.   I still shake my head at seeing one exhibitor who came to the show sporting a new line of wrist rockets.   Yup, that’s right…nothing more than a souped up slingshot capable of taking out a neighbor’s window from 200 yards away.   As I walked by the booth I couldn’t help but shake my head wondering how many beers were consumed prior to the decision of “let’s take this concept to the SHOT Show.”

Can’t seem to find .22LR in the stores, but at SHOT there was plenty on hand to excite the buyers.

Oh, there was the other booth that sold, among other things, a camouflaged pen.   Yes, who walking out of the show wouldn’t want a ballpoint pen decked out in some digital camo pattern?   Better add a camo notebook to that order.   As I picked the pen up to observe its manufacture quality I asked the fella behind the booth…”A camo pen?”   He looked at me with no response, but apparently untrusting that I might take the pen.   I set it back down and walked away.   Again, shaking my head wondering deeper about the marketing potential of this item and product line.

Yet, SHOT 2014 was certainly not all about the oddball.   You’re bound to get that when you have 1,600+ vendors showcasing their products.   Instead, this year’s SHOT felt more like a celebration of what we all enjoy.   In particular, it is encouraging to see how new shooters and women are being welcomed into the mix with new product offerings.   And why not, this growing segment of outdoors enthusiasts represents one of the fastest growing demographics within our shooting and hunting ranks.   My guess is they are also some of the highest spenders as they are the ones needing new equipment.

Almost everywhere a person looks you can find guns at SHOT, but over the years this industry buyer show has evolved into something much more than just guns.

I’ve said it before if you want the hard hitting SHOT product coverage this is not the blog to follow.   I suggest you follow my friends over at AmmoLand.com for that sort of hoopla.   In fact, while you’re at it sign-up for their Daily Digest to keep you up on all the news of the industry almost as quickly as it happens.   They do awesome work and my buddy, Fredy Riehl, who edits it is a great guy to boot!

In conclusion, I came home from SHOT having only made one product purchase.   The product that intrigued me?   None other than a game camera made by Cuddeback.   It wasn’t so much how the camera has outstanding new capabilities or any unique feature.   I bought it because I got to put the order on my buddy’s credit card.   That’s right…it’s always more fun to spend someone else’s money when buying new products for yourself.

©2014 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.