May 14, 2021 8 min read
Early season hunting can be a rewarding experience, especially while many fellow hunters choose to stay at home and wait for the traditional start of deer season in November. However, without the proper precautions, it can also be a miserable time. The outside temperatures may still reach the high 90s, and the summer insects are still buzzing around. Sweating ruins your scent control, heat is the enemy of concentration and it can be very discouraging to come back empty-handed. If you’re deer hunting in warm weather from a ground blind during the early season, follow these recommendations to beat the heat and maximize your chances of tagging a buck.
If you’ve been deer hunting for a while, you may already know about the importance of finding the right spot for your ground blinds. However, if you haven’t tried it in the early season yet, the parameters are different. Not only must you think about keeping the temperature low, but you also need to keep in mind that deer activity is very different under hot weather compared to the rut. Experienced hunters refer to this behavior as the summer pattern.
During the summer pattern, deer prefer to move as little as possible, staying near their bedding thickets. Deer take advantage of well-shaded areas near a body of water, as it allows them to walk a short distance to drink and keep themselves from exerting too much energy. Use every tool at your disposal to find your local deer’s bedding spots. Trail cams, aerial maps of the region and good scouting work can help you as they would during any other season. Place your blinds accordingly, keeping in mind that you should also seek a well-shaded area, ensuring that the treetops and local vegetation block some of the sun and the heat from reaching your blind.
Remember that you must remain concealed from the deer’s view while in a ground blind, which requires closing all but one of your deer blind windows. If your blind isn’t in a well-shaded spot, you run the risk of transforming it into a heat trap. A smartly placed ground blind won’t feel nearly as hot inside, and you won’t need to fight the heat, sweat and resulting scent control issues as often. In addition to minding the heat, don’t forget that you must still play the wind, brush your blind in, be careful not to place your blind too close to known bedding or feeding areas, and be diligent when traveling to and from your blind to avoid detection.
After you’ve decided where to place your blinds, prepare them with tools to fight the heat and its effects. In warm weather, your highest priority is to avoid becoming dehydrated. Dehydration causes lapses in concentration, headaches and dizziness, and all of these can ruin your ability to spot the deer or take an accurate shot. Bringing plenty of iced water in your backpack is always a good idea, but you can do more. Consider placing coolers or ice boxes in your blinds ahead of time, filled with ice, bottles of water and a few sports drinks, ensuring you always have access to a fresh drink.
Fighting the accumulation of heat inside your ground blind does not have to be costly. Most supermarkets offer battery-powered electric fans, ideal for placing in the back half of your blind. Ensure the fan you choose employs a silent motor; if the fan makes a rattling or buzzing noise, it will keep you cool, but it will also keep the deer away.
If you want a low-cost, homemade solution for cooling the inside of your blind, or if you need something more effective than a portable electric fan, consider building a DIY air cooler. The only materials you need are a USB power bank, a USB mini desktop fan or computer fan (find the quietest models possible), a 5-gallon plastic bucket with a lid, two 5” PVC duct pipes, and ice.
Constructing your homemade air cooler is a straightforward process:
Although the ice will melt over time, eventually reducing its effectiveness, this solution is suitable for cooling down the inside of your hunting blind for a full day. It is also a relatively inexpensive method, allowing you to set one in multiple blinds without breaking the bank. Resetting the cooler is easy; you can either simply add water again and refreeze it, forming a new ice block, or dump out the melted water and bring a new ice block to each cooler. To avoid any nasty surprises on your hunting day, you may want to test your homemade air cooler at home before bringing it to your hunting blind. Check that the fan doesn’t produce too much noise or that the power bank has enough capacity to last at least an afternoon.
Even if you have outfitted your blinds ahead of time with extra drinks and an interior cooling solution, there are more items you can bring to make your blind more comfortable, for staying scent-free while combating heat and insects. You never know how long you’ll be in your blind, so you might as well find a sturdy and comfortable hunting chair to sit in!
When hunting in the early season, sweating is inevitable. However, there are plenty of countermeasures at your disposal to keep your body cool, wipe the sweat off and help you feel more comfortable. One of the best tools you can have is a fragrance-free scent control spray. Spray yourself from head to toe with one of these when arriving on-site, just before traveling to your blind.
If you’re going to sit in a blind under high temperatures all day, you’ll sweat, even if you have water and a fan or an air cooler at your disposal. Add one or two extra scent elimination sprays to each of your blinds, and spray yourself — clothes and exposed skin — with it regularly. Not only will it help you eliminate any odors generated from sweating, but the cool, refreshing sensation on your skin can also help combat the heat and make you feel more comfortable.
If you don’t want to use sprays on yourself regularly — perhaps you have glasses, or maybe you’re concerned about the spray bottle making noise — you can opt for unscented wet wipes or baby wipes instead. These wipes are inexpensive, easy to store in the back of your blind and, typically, suitable for application on both your body and your clothes, helping you wipe sweat and scents away. Ensure the packaging doesn’t produce too much noise; if possible, buy them in a plastic container with a lid instead of a soft plastic bag.
During the early season, all kinds of insects, including mosquitoes, chiggers, ticks, wasps and deer flies, still roam about, potentially causing a great deal of pain and annoyance. For many hunters, the bug problem is worse than the heat. They always seem to attack during the twilight hours when the deer are at their most active, and they can do a lot more damage than annoy you and break your concentration while you’re sitting in your blind.
If you don’t take measures to protect yourself against the summer bugs, you risk sustaining an injury or contracting diseases. The most common is Lyme disease, caused by ticks, with approximately 30,000 cases yearly. Other conditions include Babesiosis — most common in the northeast and upper midwest, Ehrlichiosis — southern and southeastern states, or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. The most efficient solution for the insect problem is Permethrin. This compound is a proven odorless insect repellent that you can spray and apply on all your equipment.
Applying a coating of Permethrin on all your hunting clothes and the outside walls of your hunting blind is one of the best ways to protect yourself from most insects. It is completely odorless and safe to touch once applied and dried. A typical Permethrin layer lasts about six weeks, which gives you plenty of time to protect your hunting blinds ahead of the early season.
The best moments during early season deer hunting are around sunrise and sunset. Temperatures are lower, causing bucks to become more active and likely to move from spot to spot. Any experienced hunter will tell you not to neglect these two periods of the day. Deer are crepuscular animals; if you aren’t present during the twilight hours, you risk missing out on the bulk of deer movement for the whole day.
Wake up earlier than you usually do, be in your blind at least 30 minutes before the sun rises, and remain there until the very last season-legal minute. If your local laws state hunting hours end 20 minutes after sunset, stay in your blind until that point and only start packing up when your time is up. Another significant advantage of being an early riser is the benefit of morning temperatures. It’s still cool outside while walking to your blind, saving you from breaking a sweat before you get started.
If you managed to take a good shot and bring a buck down, time is of the essence. When hunting under warm weather, it is essential to recover the animal as soon as possible before the rotting process has a chance to start. The bacterial growth rate reaches its highest point starting from 40°F, leaving you little time before the blood spoils, ruining the meat and wasting the animal’s life.
Assuming the ambient temperature was in the 60-70°F range when the deer died, you may have no more than 8 to 12 hours to recover the animal — less than half the time you usually have during regular deer season. The higher the outside temperature and humidity, the less time you have. Wait no more than 30 minutes before you begin tracking the blood trail. Once you find the body, process it as fast as possible and get the meat on ice using a dedicated cooler.
If you want to keep yourself cool, don’t overdo it; keep a slow and steady pace. Any extra effort you spend makes you expend more energy, increasing your body temperature and causing you to sweat more. While it’s good to have plenty of tools at your disposal to combat the effects of sweating and keep your scent under control, don’t be wasteful. Take it easy when traveling to and from your blind, and try not to leave your blind unless you need to answer a bathroom need.
There are many techniques and methods at your disposal for keeping the interior of your hunting blind cool. Taking advantage of as many of them as possible can significantly improve your hunting experience during the early season. With the proper precautions and persistence, you may well end up taking a trophy buck home before most other hunters even had a chance to look for theirs.
Shadow Hunter Blinds offers a full range of professional-grade hunting blinds, suitable for use on the ground or mounted on elevators. We offer a full range of blind accessories, from silent windows to comfortable hunting chairs, ideal for use by gun and bow hunters of all ages and skill levels. Take your hunt to the next level! Accept nothing less than the best.