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Clothing Needed For Hunting Explained

Nov 25, 2007
If every item a big-game hunter needs on a ten-day hunt were tabulated on a strip of paper, the list would look as long as a polygamist's clothesline. However, when properly packed, the total duffel need be neither heavy nor bulky - if sensible items are chosen.

Underwear, Pants, Shirts

For warm-weather hunting, cotton underwear of the union-suit type is fine. The standard cotton shorts worn at home had best be left there. The big-game hunter needs the extra length both for comfort in cool weather and high altitude and for leg protection against brush, sudden wettings, and the friction and galling of horseback riding.

Next in underwear warmth are the thermal knitted cotton garments, either in two-piece or union-suit style. This type of quilted knit provides an added measure of thickness, which gives absorbency to perspiration and added insulation. It is good for cool fall days and is easily laundered even at camp.

For cold weather, snow, and freezing nights, underwear of the laminated kind, which has an outer layer of wool and an inner layer of cotton (to prevent itching), is one of the most useful ever developed. These should be purchased in two-piece type so that one piece may be worn at a time, depending on the weather and the hunter's activity.


Nylon and cotton socks are fine for mild-weather hunting. Light woolen socks are even better, and may be doubled as temperatures get colder.

Leather boots with high tops and non-slip soles are suitable for hunting in dry, cool weather.

Heavy woolen socks are best for use in uninsulated hunting packs and boots, or when walking in deep snow. Their bulky tops help keep the snow off the pants and legs.

Weight of the hunting boots is a vital consideration, and whenever possible it is wise to choose the lighter weight. Extra ounces of boots, multiplied by the number of steps a big-game hunter takes in ten miles of walking in mountainous country, add up to a prodigious tonnage.


The hands and fingers are also critical areas in cold weather. Good hunting gloves should provide both protection and warmth.

In mild weather, authentic buckskin gloves (the short ones, not the fancy gauntlet type which habitually collect twigs and leaves on the sleeves) are the best possible hand covering for work around camp, handling horses, ropes, and saddles, and for hunting on horseback.

Next in warmth, most inexpensive, and one of the most usable gloves ever developed are the knitted brown jersey gloves, obtainable at most any store. Their one fault is that they are not waterproof. A pair of these jersey gloves worn inside a pair of leather mittens will keep the hands warm in very cold weather. Even better is a pair of rabbit-lined leather driving gloves.

Hunting Coats

Hooded parkas, down or woolen coats, and heavy woolen pants are necessary when hunting in cold, high country.

The choice of a hunting coat largely depends on the type of foliage encountered in the hunting country, the degree of cold and storm expected, and the wearer's physical conditioning.

The most useful mild-weather hunting coat is a denim jacket which matches the denim Levi riding pants. Such a coat is tough as boiled owl, resists snagging on limbs far better than most materials, is trim, light weight, inexpensive - and you seldom see a big-game hunter wearing one. The reason? The virtues of the denim jacket haven't been discovered by the average hunter.


In cold weather, one fact should be kept in mind. The human brain is used more than the extremities; therefore more blood circulates through it. More body heat may be lost by having a cold head than by having cold hands. It is odd, but by keeping the head warm, the hands and feet are kept correspondingly warmer. In choosing headgear, this fact is worth remembering, especially for older, balding men whose heads have a tendency to grow up through their hair.

Fur-ruffed parkas, down-insulated clothing, and Eskimo mukluks combat extreme arctic cold.

Plan your hunting wardrobe well and you will enjoy your trip much more.
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