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How to Keep Feet Warm While Hunting in Cold Weather

How to Keep Feet Warm While Hunting

Deer hunting in the cold, late season. It doesn’t get any better than that. 

With your extremities being vulnerable to the cold temperature, you could be left standing frozen from literal cold feet.

My feet were completely numb when I went on my first winter hunting trip; I could barely walk on the way back. 

I was completely unprepared. You wouldn’t want anything to stop you from making the IDEAL hunt.

Good thing I learned from my mistakes! I have a few tricks on how to keep feet warm while hunting in cold weather!

Things You’ll Need

Things You'll Need

  1. Anything BUT cotton socks
    1. Cotton absorbs moisture, and wet socks steal body heat.
    2. For warm socks, look for ones made out of wool or any synthetic material. 
  2. A good pair of electric socks
    1. Best for when it’s extra cold or if you suffer from poor circulation in the first place.
  3. Pairs of sock liners
    • Also known as liner socks, lightweight and thin
    • Designed comfortably for your feet and to absorb any moisture.
    • Like wool socks, this should be made of wool or synthetic material.
  4. Consider cardboard
    • Alternative to sock liners
    • Effective yet extremely affordable insulating material.
  5. A pair of rubber boots
    • Pick ones with good traction, more insulation, and are waterproof
    • Get winter hunting boots that are a size bigger than you are for good blood flow.
  6. Insulated boot pads
    • This is to prevent you from losing heat with the use of conduction.
  7. Toe warmers
    • Obviously, they keep your toes warm.

What You’ll Need to Do

Step 1: Plan Ahead, Start ASAP

Step 1

It doesn’t happen without a plan and some effort to keep your feet warm. 

Before you can go deer hunting, you have to prepare a FOOLPROOF, keep-feet-warm plan.

For starters, I always check the weather and set a date.

I know deer season is best in the late winter. It’s essential to check the weather in advance going out.

This is not only to keep your feet warm but also to AVOID blizzards and occupational hazards.

Have a Hunting Backpack on the Ready

You are the author of your own trip, meaning everything you bring and how well prepared you are is ON YOU.

Make sure to use an actual hunting backpack for the trip.

They were made sturdier than regular backpacks and can keep plenty of things in lots of compartments.

Always pack EXTRAS of everything, including snacks and water, even socks and boots. You’ll never know when nature or an aggressive animal strikes!

You don’t want to end up like me where I didn’t bring an extra pair of socks as I felt like I was walking barefoot on a frozen lake.

For a detailed list of what to bring, you can check my guide on The Complete Checklist for Hunting Day.

Step 2: Keep the Circulation Going

Step 2

It’s something about the way the blood flows that just ensures us all that our toes won’t fall off from the cold.

I often forget that blood flow affects body temperature a lot. Here are things I usually do before and during your trip.

Before the Hunting Trip:

  • Go for a jog or some cardio. Cardio exercises are good for keeping the blood flowing.
  • Do some yoga. Yoga poses and routines incorporate breathing and stretching exercises that are good for blood flow, flexibility, and core strength.
  • Eat oily fish such as tuna, sardines, and salmon, or take omega supplements. This helps with your overall cardiovascular health.
  • Drink tea. The rich antioxidants in tea help overall cardiovascular health, and the heat helps you stay warm.
  • Drink hot chocolate. Not only does hot chocolate feel like a hug, but it keeps the warmth in your body for a bit longer.

During the Hunting Trip:

  • Keeping your feet moving while sitting or standing at your post helps combat the cold and stay warm.
  • Untie your boots but DON’T OPEN them too much because you might let cold air inside a boot by accident.
  • Move your feet in circular motions, and curl your toes back and forth.
  • Stand up and move around to keep not only your feet warm but your whole body too.
  • Stretch a little on the tree stand.

Step 3: Reduce Perspiration

Step 3

When talking about this topic, moisture is your biggest enemy. Sweat means wet.

I try my best to reduce foot sweat so I don’t get wet and cold. Once you start sweating, it could be over for you.

Despite these trips happening during cold weather, the reason your feet get so cold quickly is that they might be moist.

If you’re a sweaty hunter like me, let me share some of my tips to prevent that sticky build-up.

Rub Anti-Perspirant Deodorant on Your Feet the Night Before

It takes deodorant around SIX HOURS before they work effectively on your sweat glands.

This helps keep your feet dry, and… dry feet = warm feet.

You don’t want to come home all sweaty and stinky from a long day outdoors.

Start the Hunt Early

A good hunter knows that the early bird gets the… deer. Starting early conserves energy and gives you more time.

The more time you have means you don’t have to strain yourself and hurry.

A hunter who takes their time is a warm hunter, not a sweater hunter. Breaks between the hunt and hikes are also advised.

In my experience, hunting early also feels better. It’s quiet and I can take my time and not rush.

Remove Layers as You Need

I used to think that if I were to hunt in cold weather, I would need all the layers in the world. But that’s not true.

You DON’T NEED to drown in multiple layers while headed to your destination or waiting at the treestand.

Shed a piece or two if needed. A layer less means you’d sweat LESS!

Change Your Socks and Boots If You Can

This is why I advise you to pack extras.

Even if you’re wearing moisture-wicking socks or heated socks, it’s best to change them when you get the chance.

Even if the temps are cold, your feet might be sweaty, and that’s never a good idea for the boot or the foot.

Step 4: Foods to Eat for Hunting in Cold Weather

Step 4

A lot of the food and drink that you consume affects the way your bodies work. Here’s a list of food and drink that I take or avoid before or during the trip.

Before the Hunting Trip:

  • Drink lots of water. It’s the golden rule for anything and everything.
  • Lots of protein, pleeeeease.
  • AVOID spicy foods. Spicy stimulates neurotransmitters that activate sweat glands. 
  • Avoid sweets and empty calories.

During the Hunting Trip:

  • Jerky – Good supply of fat and protein for energy
  • Trail mix – Full of nutritious calories
  • Granola bars and nuts
  • Hot chocolate – The answer to all your problems in a delicious mug
  • Water (Obviously)

Step 5: Cotton Balls Are Your New Best Friend

Step 5

Before the hunting socks and all that fancy stuff, you have cotton balls for your digits.

Trust me, cotton balls are my new secret weapon in keeping my feet warm.

Put cotton balls in between your toes to ensure extra warmth and comfort. This is one of the best ways to absorb moisture from your feet.

When doing this, make sure to REPLACE them with new ones EVERY TIME they get wet.

These awesome foot warmers keep your toes from freezing and avoid frostnip, which hurts and numbs your skin.

Step 6: Foot Powder is a Friend, Not a Fiend

Step 6

A layer of foot powder on your toes and feet helps keep things fresh. It also helps to make them stay dry.

Put foot powder before wearing your pair or three of heated socks. You’d want odorless powder, too, while standing in that cold weather for your trip.

Using powder helps keep your feet warm. It also adds comfort and removes the odor.

An extremely effective and inexpensive alternative is baking soda.

Step 7: Wear the Right Pair of Socks

Step 7

The perfect shot comes from your proper socks. I’m kidding…sort of.

The low temperature makes you cold, which leads to frozen feet and frozen toes, and cold feet make you uncomfortable.

My numb feet were one of the reasons why I couldn’t land a clean shot because it kept me off-balance.

Here are the right socks, the wrong socks, and how to layer your socks in these cold temperatures.

The Right Socks:

  • Wool socks.
  • Polymer blend socks, like ones made of polypropylene.
  • Basically pairs of socks made from synthetic material.
  • Moisture-wicking socks. These socks wick moisture and help give you warmer feet for longer.
  • Heated or electric socks. Electric socks keep your feet warm all day long.

The Wrong Socks:

  • Cotton socks.
  • Any cotton blend will not keep your feet warm while cold weather hunting, no matter how comfy they might seem at the start.

The Sock Layers:

(The first being the one directly touching your feet, and the last being the ones touching your boots)

  • The first layer – thin, moisture-wicking socks close to the skin of your feet.
  • The second layer – thin merino wool socks or something of similar material.
  • The third layer – very thick, woolen socks for good insulation in the boot.

Step 8: Wear the Right Pair of Boots

Step 8

This is an article about warm feet. Of course, I’m going to talk about wearing the proper boots.

It’s the way you wear the right boot that helps keep the warmth there. Here are some neat, warm tricks to follow.

What to Consider When Getting the Right Boots:

  • Get them ONE SIZE LARGER than you are for wiggle room to breathe.
  • Choose a boot with a thick sole to prevent coldness from sneaking in from the ground or tree stand.
  • Get WATERPROOF ones. If any water or cold air gets in, that’s a chill for your whole body, not just the toes.
  • Consider insulated boots. These are helpful at keeping feet warm while hunting. Insulated boots were really designed for sub-freezing temperatures.
  • Rubber boots, but only for the hike to keep your feet dry and clean from mud in the cold weather.
  • Do NOT wear steel-toed shoes because they’ll get too cold.

Extra Boot Tips:

  • Remember to break your boots in before the actual trip.
  • Switch your rubber boots to winter hunting boots by the time you get to the tree stand.
  • Use show wraps or boot covers for extra insulation. Boot covers even have pockets where you can store hand warmers to keep in the heat.

Step 9: Keep Your Feet Warm, But Your Head Warmer

Step 9

Whatever happens to your head also happens to your feet. This makes sense when talking about temperature.

That being said, wear a hat to prevent heat loss.

When losing body heat in your head, your circulatory system works a lot harder to stay warm.

When keeping your head covered, the rest of your body would thank you for it.

Something made of merino wool, fleece, sheepskin, or synthetic fabric will be perfect to keep your head warm. 

This is to prevent moisture from collecting, which might cause more chills than warmth in the long run.

Just like for your socks, sweat means wet, and wet is your greatest enemy.

Additionally, you can wear a scarf to ensure your head and neck have even more protection from the cold air.

Step 10: It’s a Quick Cheat with Heat Packs

Step 10

Before you get to put your hands in the air and wave them like you just don’t care, you can try heat packs for extra warmth.

Believe me when I say it’s FREEZING COLD waiting on the tree stand.

These hand warmer heat packs are perfect for not only keeping your toes from falling off but could be used for different parts of the body.

The chemical reaction that occurs in the warming packets makes them have such high temperatures so they’re a perfect heat source.

Piece of advice: I know it may be tempting, but you don’t want the warming packets directly on your bare skin.

They come in all shapes and sizes, are budget-friendly, and can usually be found in most sporting goods stores.

They last around three to four hours, keeping you warm and toasty till then.

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Keeping your feet warm while hunting isn’t just about your toes and boots.

There are so many factors to consider to ensure warmth and safety while on your hunting trips.

There are so many different ways to keep yourself and your feet warm in this cold weather. Remember, staying dry means staying warm.

Don’t get cold feet on keeping your feet from the cold!

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