The more comfortable and warm you are in cold temperatures, the more you’ll have an enjoyable hunting experience. Here are a few tips to help you stay warm during cold-weather rifle hunts.

Eat Breakfast Late

When you go on a guided hunt with us at Soap Mesa Outfitters, you’ll wake up in our mountain cabin to a hot breakfast. If you don’t have that luxury, consider holding off on breakfast to get up and get moving.

Getting your body moving quickly is a great way to shake off the cold chill in the morning. Pre-dawn is the coldest part of the day, so don’t spend that time trying to cook breakfast. Get moving, and head to your first glassing spot of the day or wherever you plan to begin your hunt. If you need some quick fuel, eat an energy bar along the way. But when you get to your starting point, you’ll be warmed up and feeling much better already. You can start glassing for animals at first light, and when the sun has warmed things up a bit, you can break out breakfast.

Not only will this keep you warm, but eating breakfast in the warming sunshine will put you in a good mood. That will go a long way in the mental game of hunting in the cold.

Brush Off Snow Before Glassing

Sitting in the snow can get wet and uncomfortable. It can also cause you to feel colder, which will damper the hunt for the rest of the day (maybe even the trip).

Before you glass, try to clear an area to the bare ground. If you can spare the extra weight, bring a small Outdoorsman pad and sit on that. If you want to avoid carrying around extra stuff, you can also sit on top of your pack. This is a little step, but little steps like this will keep you more comfortable and keep your core temperature (and, in turn, your mood) up.

Wear the Right Layers

How and what you layer with are crucial in not only keeping you warm but keeping you dry. If your inner layers get wet from the elements or sweat, you will get cold, and that will ruin your hunt.

Base layers, especially those made from Merino wool, are a huge asset during cold-weather rifle hunts. Your mid-layers will vary, but something with insulation will be your best friend. Your outer layer needs to be wind and waterproof, no if, ands, or buts. Keeping the elements from leaching through is the difference between sitting comfortably for a few hours or being miserable and calling it early. If you want more advice on cold-weather clothes, check out our blog article on the subject.

Bring Extra Layers for Glassing

Speaking of clothing, it’s worth the extra weight to bring a few glassing-specific clothing items on your hunting trip. Glassing lets your eyes do the walking so you can cover more ground and see more animals. The downside: all this stationary time behind the glass can make cold weather feel even colder.

An extra puffy down jacket will help fight any chill and keep you happy while you wait for elk. If the weather is going to be particularly cold, consider bringing a pair of puffy pants as well. And don’t forget your extremities. Warmer gloves and a warm neck gaiter will make a world of a difference.

Bring Hand Warmers

Do it. Bring the hand warmers. They can be a lifesaver and allow you to stay comfortable and provide a heat source on the go. You can put them in your gloves and inside your coat. At night, the sweat from the day can freeze your boots and make them frigid in the morning. Putting some hand warmers in them at night can ward off the cold. These will be your best friends on your rifle hunts, and you’ll be glad you brought them along.

Carry Multiple Gloves

Having multiple pairs of gloves is crucial because, during cold weather rifle hunts, your gloves can get wet. Having backup pairs will allow you to have a dry pair while the other pair dries out. Having multiple pairs also allows you to process the animal with gloves on and not worry about getting blood and wet. With extra pairs, you’ll be able to process the animal comfortably even when it’s freezing, and you’ll have a warm, dry pair for the rest of the trip.

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Follow these tips, and you’ll stay warmer on your hunt. And when you stay warmer, you’ll enjoy your hunt that much more.

If you’re looking to hunt elk or mule deer with professional guides in the mountains of Southwest Colorado, we’d love to be an option you consider. At Soap Mesa Outfitters, we offer quality guided hunts on our 3500-acre private ranch that overlooks Blue Mesa Reservoir. Not to mention we also have a National Forest Permit, which provides an additional 8000+ acres with utter seclusion due to its limited access. Let us show you what you’ve been missing.