Want to Lengthen the Amount of Time You Can Hunt? Find the Right Gloves.
Dr. John Woods 12.23.13
Gloves That Work
Two dozen of them laid out in a row. I know because I counted how many different kinds of gloves I had stored in a drawer. It takes a lot of gloves to do all the various kinds of hunting I do.
Some gloves are for general wear, like those $1 brown cotton work gloves, and some are specialty gloves like my Mossy Oak Thinsulate gloves for cold weather deer hunting. Then there are my favorite gloves, a pair of elk hide leather work gloves I bought at F.M. Light and Sons, a general store in Steamboat Springs, Colorado that was established in 1905. I have special lightweight camo gloves for turkey hunting, too.
The reason I own so many different kinds of gloves is that I conducted a search for nearly 40 years for a pair that would actually keep my hands warm. That quest is not yet complete.
In our deer camp I probably hear more complaints about cold hands than anything, with feet coming in a close second. It’s all about extremities. It takes a lot more effort on the old ticker to send fresh warm blood to your fingertips and toes than to your head (yet ironically most body heat is lost through the head, so always wear a good hat, too). Those far-out places need extra protection with quality insulation.
Obviously work gloves are designed to keep your hands protected from scrapes, common abrasions, and just wear and tear on the old hand flesh. They also help keep hands clean. Even modern automobile mechanics wear gloves now when they work.
Most hunting gloves are all about keeping hands warm. Different things work for different people. Bar none, if it is cold but the wind is not blowing, I wear a simple pair of salt and pepper colored wool gloves. If the wind is up, I have a wool pair with a wind blocker layer and Thinsulate ® insulation. If they get wet, they stay warm, which is great for hunting. Cotton gloves will not afford such protection.
For deer hunting I have solved the cold hand issue. Mossy Oak brand markets a pair of gloves with their New Break-Up camo in a nylon based exterior fabric with black palm and finger overlays of a tough gripping material. The insulation is again Thinsulate ® with a high gram rating. These gloves shed water and keep your hunting hands warm.
They are not so thick that you cannot bend your fingers or fire a trigger with them on. These are “long” gloves and may be a bit difficult to tug the cuff all the way up and over long sleeve shirts or coats, but the cuff provides an extra barrier against the cold.
I am still searching for an ideal pair of gloves that will keep my hands warm when riding an ATV in cold weather. If it is really cold, by the time I get back to the camp house I have to pry my fingers off the handlebar grips. The best I have found are the Army tankers gloves. They are really modified mitts, not gloves. There is a thumb and one finger only, then a mitt for the other three fingers.
For gloves to keep fingers warm, they have to fit right and not be too tight like good socks. You don’t want to restrict blood flow to the fingers, especially the tips. There are some military-type gloves with plain leather and a wool liner that can generally fit a bit large. These work for a lot of folks. Otherwise, try on several sizes, and if one is too snug, then go up a size to make room to move fingers around.
Buy a material that throws off water and won’t soak through. Except for wool, every other kind of glove I know that gets through and through wet becomes useless for insulation properties. Cheap gloves are cheap.
In cold hunting weather, staying comfortable simply means you can hunt longer. More time on the task translates into more opportunity to see what you came for. Good gloves contribute greatly to hunting longevity. Get good ones and take care of them.