There is generally a lot more thought put into cold-weather clothing than the duds we wear in the earlier part of the season. This, of course, is due to the fact that it’s much easier to tolerate the conditions in September if we make poor choices than it is in December.
That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t plan accordingly for our early-season bowhunts, because we should. I’ve been hot, cold, wet, and combinations of all of them during many hunts. This is true in the East and the Midwest during crazy weather, and a certainty in the mountains where crazy weather is the rule and not the exception.
Whether you’re a treestand hunter looking for a velvet whitetail during Labor Day weekend or plan to hear a few dozen bugles each morning in some far-flung mountain basin, you owe it to yourself to pick the right clothing for the job. Here are several options that will provide you with concealment, comfort, and confidence.
Sitka Gear Thunderhead Jacket
Sitka Gear is expensive, but absolutely worth it. There was a time in my younger years where I simply wouldn’t admit that, or even entertain the thought. These days, I realize that I was wrong. Their stuff is amazing, and an excellent choice for stuffing in your pack on any and all mountain hunts is the Thunderhead Jacket.
Available in the new Subalpine pattern, this soft, quiet raingear is perfect for keeping you dry when that once-distant thunder suddenly booms overhead and you know you’re in for one of those pop-up afternoon soakers.
Cabela’s Scout Seven-Button Shirt
Cabela’s has released an entire line of clothing for scouting and early-season hunts, which includes a Seven-Button Shirt.
Normally I hate these types of shirts because I feel like I’m getting dressed for a business meeting as opposed to something much more enjoyable, but this one is different because it’s designed to fit perfectly. It’s also 100-percent polyester, mesh-backed for breathability, and available in O2 Octane camouflage.
Pnuma Tenacity CoolCore Performance Hunting Shirt
Pnuma has stepped into the hunting-clothing ring and they are throwing some haymakers. Exhibit A is their Tenacity CoolCore Performance Hunting Shirt, which is a high-tech, athletic-cut shirt that works quickly to wick away all moisture.
It does this through the use of hollow-core yarn, which also functions to keep you warm on frosty mornings. This shirt is available in plenty of sizes and is guaranteed for life – think about that for a second.
Browning Hells Canyon Women’s Mercury Jacket
The women’s camo market is finally catching up to ours thanks in large part to the influx of ladies who are taking to the field. Evidence of this can be found in Browning’s Hells Canyon line, with their Women’s Mercury Jacket a perfect choice for a bevy of hunting situations.
This jacket features a harness access for treestsand hunting, multiple zip pockets as well as two internal drop pockets, and is available in a couple of Mossy Oak camo patterns.
ScentLok Full Season Taktix Jacket
Whitetail junkies who spend their days in a treestand from the season’s opener on would be well-served to check out the latest from ScentLok. The Full Season Taktix Jacket utilizes Carbon Alloy technology to keep your scent in check, while the NeverWet superhydrophobic treatment allows this jacket to shed water during those rainy early-season days.
It’s also articulated to maximize mobility and designed with a litany of pockets to allow you to keep everything from grunt tubes to rangefinders handy.
Under Armour Mid-Season Wool Jacket
This jacket is too warm for much of the early season, but not all of it. That’s why it’s the perfect outer layer to shove into your daypack just in case the temps don’t climb the way they should this time of year.
With it’s wool-blend outer layer and brushed inner layer, Under Armour’s latest is not only comfortable and silent, but also warm. Choose from a couple of UA’s camo patterns or Realtree AP Xtra.
Walls 10X Ultra-Lite Long Sleeve Mesh Back Shirt
I used this shirt, along with the Ultra-Lite Pants, a couple of times this spring and summer. The last time was during a June axis hunt in Texas. While chasing those free-range Indian imports, the temperatures reached nearly 100 degrees every day.
Needless to say, I became a fan of Walls’ 10X line then, especially when you consider how reasonably priced their stuff is. The Long Sleeve Mesh Back Shirt costs $25, is constructed of durable ripstop fabric, and is available in Mossy Oak Obsession. Not only is this a great choice for early-season deer, but it is also perfect for spring gobblers.
Danner High Ground
Take a quick look at Danner’s latest and you’ll see it is covered in Sitka’s new Subalpine pattern, which is awesome. Better than the sweet aesthetics, of course, are the many features of these new boots like the fact that they are 100-percent waterproof yet breathable due to the GORE-TEX liners, which ensure no water gets in while allowing moisture to escape.
High Grounds are non-insulated, weigh 51 ounces per pair, and are anchored by the Danner Gavre Outsole, which employs pentagonal center lugs for crazy grippy surface contact and heavy outer lugs for support. Or in layman’s terms, these boots will keep you from falling down hills or rolling your ankles while you hunt the way you want to.
Kenetrek Bridger Ridge High
Some hunting situations demand nothing more than a killer pair of hikers. For those, you can’t beat Kenetrek’s Bridger Ridge Highs. They weigh only 2.6 pounds per pair, are waterproof and breathable, and feature extra padded uppers and double stitching throughout.
While not the first choice for a mountain goat hunt, the Bridger Ridges would be perfect for plenty of antelope hunts, not-to-mention Coues deer, desert mulies, and a host of other critters that live out west.