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Icy mornings and snowy hillsides may be romantic, but with the proper warm-weather gear you'll be ready to hunt in the spring, summer and even the sunny days of fall.

Talk hunting, and everyone starts thinking about frosty mornings and clear, cold nights in hunting camp. But not all hunting seasons are held in the dead of winter. Some -- particularly early archery season and late spring turkey season -- take place during the warm months of the year. Add in hunting season in the deep South and the far West, and a significant number of hunters need clothing and gear for warm weather instead of parkas and insulated boots.

Although the temperatures are different, the basic principles of planning for warm-weather hunting are very similar to those for planning a cold-weather hunt. In the South, for instance, the temperature may range from 40 in the early morning to a sweaty 85 or so by early afternoon. So, just like you do in cold weather, you layer clothing so that you can take off layers to regulate your body temperature. The difference is in the kind of clothing you use for the layers.

There also are hazards associated with warmer weather that can be as deadly as hypothermia. The good news is, there's gear to help you prepare for them.

In general, there are several main issues to consider when outfitting yourself for warm weather hunting. As you look around, you'll see that many products address two or even three of these issues at the same time. For instance, you may buy a camouflage "bug suit" that serves as outerwear while helping keep the bugs off you at the same time. Or you may choose a lightweight T-shirt with perspiration-wicking properties to keep you cool, but which also has carbon-impregnated fibers to reduce or eliminate body odor in the heat.


The insulated camo overalls you bought for your Christmas deer hunt last year aren't going to cut it for your August coyote hunt this year. In general, you're going to want lighter-weight outerwear for the cooler evening and morning hours, and very lightweight or mesh outerwear for the middle of the day and for really hot weather.

Manufacturers are using a wide variety of fabrics to create warm-weather gear. Several have taken old ideas and used them in new ways to produce ingenious hunting garments.

One of the pioneers in the field is Shannon Outdoors. Using a two-layer mesh fabric, Shannon Outdoors created the Bug Tamer line. These mesh jackets and pants are cool in warm weather, dense enough to conceal even a white T-shirt, and keep insects off to boot. Although the original Bug Tamer has been around for several years, the company continues to license new camo designs and create more applications of the product. Most recently, they've come out with a 3-D version of the Bug Tamer.

Another mesh suit worth looking at is from DK Flatwoods. This company uses a single layer of tightly woven mesh rather than a double layer like the Bug Tamer, so it's cooler while still providing good protection from mosquitoes and other biting insects.

What makes it unique is the camo pattern. DKF uses a green palmetto-type pattern perfect for southern piney woods. The result is a pattern well suited to warm weather hunting because it blends in with growing vegetation better than fall-colored camo. DK Flatwoods makes a complete line of lightweight outerwear, including pants, jackets and shirts, as well as short and long-sleeved T-shirts.

Yet another company with mesh suits is Bug Out Outdoorwear. Besides regular bug suits, Bug Out is scheduled to release the Ab-Scent scent-control bug suit this fall.

Whitewater Outdoors offers a line of lightweight outerwear that includes a long-sleeved cotton shirt in Advantage, Realtree X-Tra Brown, Realtree Hardwoods and

Advantage Timber. They also offer long and short-sleeved T-shirts, mesh jackets, pants and gloves in the same patterns.

Speciality Gear

Several manufacturers use Saddlecloth to create insulated garments for cold weather hunting, but Pella goes the other way, using Saddlecloth alone to create lightweight hunting wear for warmer weather. Look for a bomber jacket, a hooded hunting jacket, and a bib overall in Realtree Hardwoods, Realtree X-tra Grey, Realtree X-tra Brown, Advantage Wetlands, and Advantage. The company also makes a line of brushed twill camo clothing, including a hooded hunting jacket, six-pocket pants, a bib overall, a bowman's jacket, and a longsleeved shirt in Realtree Hardwoods and Advantage Timber,

One category of high-tech gear that has recently become available is clothing that protects you from the sun. Like sunscreen, these garments can provide protection up to SPF 30.

Solumbra, a proprietary line of clothing from Sun Precautions, offers protection that's woven into the fabric itself, providing SPF 30 protection. Innovative design and quality construction make Solumbra garments very useful for sun-sensitive hunters.

"Because our garments are registered as medical devices, they must meet very high Good Manufacturing Practices requirements," said Shaun Hughes, president of Sun Precautions. "Many cancer centers recommend our products to their sun-sensitive patients."

Besides protecting wearers from the sun, Solumbra garments are light, and feel like soft cotton. "We've put mesh-ventilated panels that aid in cooling in our active styles. The product wicks perspiration and other moisture away from your body to help keep you comfortable even in the summer heat." Solumbra clothing isn't available in camo, but is useful in situations where you may be exposed to the sun, but hidden from your quarry.

Clothing For Layering

Layering is an important concept in warm weather hunting. After all, what you wear when it's 40 at daybreak is different from what you will want when it is 80 at noon. The principles are the same as they are in cold weather: layers trap warm air next to your body in the morning, and as the day warms, you can take off the layers you don't need.

Some of these garments are high-performance fabrics. Others are old standards that have been redesigned for warmweather use.

From Ace Sportswear, look for Rynoskin pullovers, pants, hoods and gloves. "Rynoskin has no insulation to keep you warm at all," said Lynwood Stephenson, vice president of sales for Ace Sportswear, Inc. "It's sort of a heavyweight panty hose made of 86 percent nylon and 14 percent

Lycra. It fits right around the skin, and is reinforced with elastic at all openings." Originally designed for the US military, Rynoskin keeps insects away from your skin, and prevents them from biting through it. Garments come in Mossy Oak Break-Up, Advantage Timber, and OD green. Ace Sportswear also makes camo T-shirts.

Although Soffe manufactures its high-tech Dri-Release Sportswear for general sports use such as jogging, tennis, and other individual and team sports, the shorts and T-shirts can also be used as an under-layer for hot weather hunting.

"The cotton in Dri-Release allows it to wick moisture away, which keeps you drier, and if it keeps you drier, it will keep you cooler in hot weather," said Steve Wheeler, vice president of sales and marketing for Soffe. "It's also treated internally in the yarn with Freshguard, which keeps the clothing from getting the odor that many predominantly polyester products can have." At this time the shirts and shorts come in a variety of colors, and may soon be offered in camo.

Even Woolrich is getting into the act with the development of TechnoWool, a series of high-performance wool fabrics. The two best suited to warm-weather are the Supersoft series and the Washable series. Both of these fabrics use the natural wicking ability of wool to pull moisture away from your body to keep you dry and comfortable.

Insect Repellents

Keeping bugs off can certainly help you stay still while you are hunting. And insect bites and stings, in and of themselves, can make you truly miserable, especially when you're sweating.

Avoiding insect bites is more than just a convenience, it is one of the safety issues of hot weather hunting. Many serious diseases are carried by insects and other arthropods, including lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and even bubonic plague. The way to protect yourself from those diseases is to avoid being bitten in the first place.

Most commercial chemical repellents contain either Deet or Permethrin. Don't mix the two. Permethrin is strictly for the treatment of clothing -- you spray it on your clothing and let it dry before you put them on.

Repellents containing Deet have been around for a long time, and come as sprays, lotions, and sticks. However, studies have shown that Deet can be toxic to small children, so use caution if you are taking your kids hunting with you.

One company that is creating innovative insect repellent products is CC Waterworks, which recently has introduced the Gone and Gone Plus insect repellent wristbands. Both Gone, which uses DEET, and Gone Plus with natural citronella, offer 120 hours of reusable insect protection.

Another Deet-free repellent is Natrapel, from the Tender Corporation. First released in 1986, Natrapel also uses citronella. The Tender Corporation has begun packaging Natrapel in what the company calls an "ceo-spray" package, using nitrogen as a propellant and separating the propellant from the product to help protect the ozone layer. Also look for Bug Dots, little clear stickers impregnated with citronella that you can stick on anything where you want to repel insects.

Other Coal Ideas

If you hunt during cold weather, you already know about chemical heat packs to keep your hands warm. But there also are products out there designed to do just the opposite-help you keep cool.

CC Waterworks, offers heat relief in its Blubandoo products. These hats and neckbands were originally designed for golfers, but also are available in Advantage and Realtree. They contain non-toxic polymer crystals that expand into a gel when soaked in water. As the water evaporates, the hats and neckbands help keep the wearer cool.

Another product originally intended for golfers is the (Little) Aussie Chiller, a hat for keeping your head cool. This import from Australia is made of a high-performance, synthetic chamois-like fabric that you soak before you wear it, and it provides evaporative cooling throughout the day. In a recent innovation, the company devised a mesh-like version using the same fabric that increases the cooling capability of the hat. This is marketed as the "Killer Chiller." Although there are no camo versions of the (Little) Aussie Chiller available yet, a company spokesman says they're working on acquiring rights to a camouflage pattern.

Nose Camo

If scent control is important during cold-weather hunting seasons, it's crucial when the weather is warm. A number of companies make scent elimination products which are great for hot weather hunting.

Wildlife Research Center's Scent Killer line includes a spray for clothing and boots, deodorant, clothing wash and anti-bacterial bar soap. The company's Autumn Formula provides a cover scent that combines many natural odors.

From Robinson Laboratories, look for Scent Shield anti-bacterial spray, as well as two different clothing washes and a liquid body soap. Other products include a deodorant, an oral odor-control pill, and scent control wipes.

Hunter's Specialties puts out a wide variety of scent control products. The company has rolled them all together into a scent elimination kit called Scent-A-Way, which includes laundry detergent, Scent Safe storage bags, deodorant, and Fresh Earth Cover Scent Wafers.
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Article Details
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Author:Boyles, Carolee
Publication:Guns Magazine
Date:Sep 1, 2001
Next Article:U.S. Hot-Weather Hunting Seasons.

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