I dreaded it, but couldn't deny it was starting. As if controlled by a giant
dimmer switch, the weak winter sun began to wane. Minute-by-minute, dusk, and
the end of legal shooting time for deer season, was approaching.
Three months prior, my deer season should have come to an end, three times.
I'd missed a nice buck because of an equipment malfunction. The jaws for my
release had failed to open cleanly, and my arrow had cart-wheeled harmlessly
through the woods. I'd missed by such a wide margin that the buck hadn't
spooked, three arrows, three misses.
If only I'd kept my release dry! And it's not as if the technology to do so
doesn't exist, and not as if I don't know better.
Up in a comfortable two-person Big Game stand, I wriggled my toes and
fingers. Although missing that buck was a huge regret for the season, I was
enjoying sitting in a tree, feeling warm and comfortable head to toe.
I realized a common ingredient in my outerwear -- neoprene. What did we do
It was in 1930 that Dupont first marketed a
version of it, called DuPrene. It was used in
orthopedic braces, electrical insulation and even fan belts. But although it
was widely used in a variety of applications, the material wasn't a hit in the
hunting world because it had a bad odor.
By 1937, Dupont had revamped the process of making
the material, which eliminated the odor problem. The company gave the material
a new name, Neoprene. With the materials' capabilities of water-proofing and
insulating against cold, and its flexibility in cold temperatures, it was a big
One of the earliest and most commonly used applications of Neoprene was in
waders. Now, the material can be found everywhere -- knee pads, boots, seat
covers, gloves, gun stock covers, face masks, and dog vests, to name a few.
As the sun dipped below the horizon, I began to pack up my gear to make the
trek back to my house. I donned my neoprene gloves, which I use when climbing
up and down ladders or ladder steps. Not only do the gloves insulate against
the metal's cold, they keep me from slathering human scent just where I don't
want it -- nose level with a whitetail.
My comfy toes were also surrounded by neoprene, my boots. I'd fought the
"cold feet" battle for years before selecting a neoprene boot, purchased one
size larger than normal, which included enhanced insulation. On an extremely
cold day, I might put a chemical warmer in each boot, but for the majority of
times (temperatures 20 or above), I don't need one.
As I walked home, I reflected that hunting season wasn't over for me, not
yet. There were still opportunities to add to the game in the freezer with
small game and ducks, because I had the outerwear to face the winter's cold.
For a fine selection of Hunting Clothing, including many designed to handle cold weather, click here.