Winter Hunting: Embrace Your Cryobiology
Dr. John Woods 01.20.21
Cryo what? Cryobiology is the ability of organisms to withstand freezing. It normally refers to animal life out in the wilds. It refers to their ability to maintain life despite extreme weather and temperature conditions. We humans have managed to figure out ways to do this as well, at least up to a reasonable extent. We simply have learned how to stay warm and comfortable.
Wait, don’t pack away those wool socks just yet. Though most big game seasons are past now there are still many hunting pursuits worthy of trekking outside. The clink in the armor this time of year is the lousy winter weather. If you are going to hunt now, you have to adapt a few things to maintain essential body warmth.
First, hunt what? The big ticket is varmint hunting. On the menu are coyotes. These hardy creatures are numerous throughout this country. They wreak havoc on a long list of other creatures including devastations on turkey populations, white-tailed deer fawns as well as other animal groups. Their numbers need to be curtailed by hunting.
There are also seasons left for upland game hunting, upland birds, and waterfowl in some cases. Hardy hunters looking for action can certainly still find it. Double check your states’ seasons to see what is still open for the end of January and into February. You might be pleasantly surprised just how much hunting is left to enjoy, if only you embrace your cryobiology.
Once you decide on what is left to hunt, you have to prepare for the elements this time of year. It is going to be cold, windy, and likely mixed with all types of winter precipitation from freezing rain, black sleet, snow, and high winds. These are conditions for quickly losing body heat and core warmth. These bodily elements have to be protected and maintained in order to be comfortable hunting outside.
The modern human version of cryobiology is all about dressing the part. You know about layering, but the question is to layer what. There are some great synthetics on the market now designed into hunting clothing, so check those out. Forget anything cotton, except perhaps your briefs. Wool and wool blends make for good insulators and can be lightweight, perfect for layering.
Outer layers need an exterior fabric that will shed rain and snow quickly. A good hat is a must as are wool gloves perhaps with a nylon exterior to shed moisture. A facial covering is not a bad idea. The trick is to be able to move freely to operate your hunting gear and arms.
Buy boots for extreme conditions with maximum insulation and waterproofing. Light insulating socks should be covered with good wool socks, but not so tight that blood cannot circulate well. Try out different combinations that work well to keep you warm and protected.