How to Have Success Hunting in The Rain

Do you hunt in the rain?

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Days, weeks and even months have been spent in preparation for the upcoming deer season.  Nightly visits to the practice range have been made, and you are positive your bow is dead on.  Trail cameras have been checked, and just the thought of the big bucks you have snapped photos of might still be in the area makes you lose sleep at night, and stands are hung to combat any wind direction and changes in deer movement.

Opening day finally arrives, and you are up and dressed before the alarm ever goes off as the adrenaline rush prevents you from gathering any more sleep.  Quietly you skirt your way around the food source that the deer should be feeding in.  Safely and quietly you ascend the tree that you will be strapped to and wait for first light in anticipation of what will appear before you.  Thirty minutes is all the longer you have to hold out.

You checked the weather the night before, and the wind will be perfect for your chosen stand and the chance for rain is so minute that it is not even a consideration.  Then the unthinkable begins to happen.  In the not too far distance you begin to hear rumbles of thunder and your nose catches the unmistakable sweet smell of rain the air.  You hope that it goes around you, but as daylight begins to show itself, you are able to see the rain moving across the food plot are sitting near.  Before long the first raindrops begin to hit your face.  Now the question is to call it a day and return home, or to stick it out and hunt in the rain.

If you are not prepared for such an event you will be soaked to the bones before you know.  If it is cold and the winds are howling you will have to deal with the misery of being cold as well as wet.  Not a fun combination in my book.

If you have traveled some distance to hunt, purchased out of state permits or taken vacation time to hunt the last thing you want to do is spend that time indoors, no matter how good the idea might sound.  But, is hunting in the rain a good idea?

Times have certainly changed and the amount of quality rain gear for sale is endless, and sometime expensive.  But in these conditions that is exactly what you need.  An uncomfortable hunter will not be able to sit still and the hunt will be all but over before it ever begins.

It all begins with protecting the head.  Choose a hat made of Gore-Tex.  I often wear a bonnie style hat with a small brim just for this occasion.

What many hunters do not often consider is what to wear under their camouflage clothing.  Depending on what time of the year it is and what the thermometer says plays a big role in what you wear.  If the temperatures are warm, a lightweight outfit will work, but even a rain will make warm days feel cool.  This is when a lightweight fleece vest stowed away in your pack comes in handy.

The outer layer of clothing is one of the most important clothing items you will have.  It is a tie between good boots and the outer layer in my opinion as to what is the most important.

It does not matter if I choose to wear a jacket and pants combination, or bibs; I want the outfit to be made out of Gore-Tex.  It is breathable, and prevents rain from getting in and allows perspiration to escape, making the hunter more comfortable.  The down fall to Gore-Tex is its expense.

Rain gear is expensive, but a good set can be used all year long on other outside activities.  When purchasing a rain suit search out one with a fleece finish that will keep the noise level down, as well as provide some added warmth.  Consider the purchase of good rain gear an investment rather than an expense.

When it comes to boots, many hunters prefer to wear knee high rubber boots thinking that these types of boots will help reduce human odors.

Whether you choose to purchase rubber or leather boots, both are available with insulation and Gore-Tex.  When trying on your boots, be sure to wear the same style of socks you will wear when hunting.  Be sure the boots fit tight around the ankles, and not too loose.  Loose boots will likely cause blisters.

Hopefully this has helped you pick the right clothing, but if you are anything like me you do not like to hunt when a heavy rain is upon you, instead, preferring a light mist as better conditions.

Rain has it benefits though.  The forest floor will be damp because of the rain which will make it quieter to move, and your scent will not linger as long.

The downside to the rain is that when you do shoot a deer, any blood and tracks will be quickly washed away.  Also, it is difficult to notice where the arrow hit in these low-light conditions that are often present with the rain.  Now knowing where the arrow hits makes it tough to know how long to wait before taking up the blood trail.  To remedy this I like to use a lighted nock.

To protect my broadheads I apply a thin coating of Vaseline to them.  This will prevent them from forming a coat of rust of the cutting edge.

I tend not to take as long of shots as I would if it were not raining.  It is my thought that the closer the shot the deeper the penetration and the less distance the deer will travel.  This is a thought process that I should incorporate into all my hunting affairs, but have yet to limit myself to shots under twenty yards in ideal conditions.  When I shoot a deer I make a point to remain in my stand and not to do anything that might cause the deer to run further than it normally would.

Do you want to hunt in the rain?  The choice is yours.  Many of nice deer have been taken during these uncomfortable times, it is up to you if you want to stay dry and comfortable in front of the fireplace, or be outside, getting a little wet with the possibility of harvesting a deer.

 

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Jason Houser
Jason Houser is an avid traditional bowhunter from Central Illinois who killed his first deer when he was nine years old. A full-time freelance writer since 2008, he has written for numerous national hunting magazines. Jason has hunted big game in 12 states with his bow, but his love will always be white-tailed deer and turkeys. He considers himself lucky to have a job he loves and a family who shares his passion for the outdoors. Jason writes full time and is on the pro staff of two archery companies; in his free time, he fishes and traps as much as possible.

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