man skiing in snow with hunting gun

Don’t Let The Cold Win! | How To Layer Clothing For Winter

There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing for the conditions.

While you might think you only need a warm jacket when venturing into the great outdoors to go hunting or fishing during the cooler months, there can be much more involved in keeping yourself warm and comfortable. 

man drilling hole for ice fishing

Hunting, fishing or camping in the cold weather requires a knowledge of how to best layer clothing so that you can stay warm.

When the time comes to plan your next hunting trip into the wilderness, take a moment to consider the following information, so that you can learn all about how to layer winter clothing to feel comfortable enough to explore all that nature has to offer. 

How to Remain Warm in the Great Outdoors

When you put on warm clothing to head outside, your goal should always be to manage moisture, maintain your heat level for comfort, and create a barrier between the elements and your skin. 

man walking to box stand in snow

You might enjoy being alone in the outdoors… you just don’t want to be COLD and alone!

Not all cold-winter clothing is created equal. So, purchasing high-quality outdoor garments from well-known companies like Kryptek and others is a critical component of remaining warm in the great outdoors, but it’s also helpful to understand the science behind retaining your body heat to know how to wear your clothing appropriately. 

mule deer standing in the snow

You may not have the anatomy of a deer to keep you warm in cold conditions, but you can learn to layer clothing in a manner that protects you from the elements.


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During winter, you’re often faced with many challenging elements, such as wind, rain, and cold temperatures. Heat is easily transferred from your body into the environment, and it’s easier to lose heat than it is to retain it. 

So, whether you’re ice fishing or hunting, you need to have knowledge of how sweat affects your body and heat levels. Body heat can be pulled away from your body much faster when it’s wet with perspiration than if it were dry. 


Prevent Moisture to Stay Warm

One of the best ways to stay warm, regardless of how you layer your clothing, is by being cold before you begin your hunting trip in earnest. If you add all your winter layers and then stand in front of a heater before venturing outside, you might start sweating and lose much-needed body heat.   

moisture

Moisture is the enemy when it comes to staying warm in colder weather, as it robs you of body heat.

So, as challenging as it might be to immediately venture outside to start hiking once you’ve put on your multiple layers, it can be essential for giving your body the best chance of retaining its heat. 



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Layer Your Winter Hunting Clothing Strategically

When you’re trying to dress warmly in cold weather, it can sometimes feel like you have to pack an entire closet full of clothing when you go on a winter hunting adventure or that you have to wear multiple layers until you’re no longer comfortable.

However, if you apply the right layering strategy, you might be surprised at how easy it can be to prepare for an outdoor trip

Before heading out, read up on the weather conditions you can expect. This allows you to take all necessary precautions with supplies and provides insight into the type of clothing you need to take with you and what to wear when you set off. 



You’ll need to continually layer up and down on most hunting trips. Take note of how your body is feeling, and when you’re feeling too warm, take off a layer before you start sweating. 

If weather conditions change and rain or snow sets in, you can add more layers from your hunting backpack, including a waterproof jacket to keep your mid layers warm and retain your body heat. Weather conditions can change rapidly, so you may be layering up and down throughout your hunting trip. 


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Adopt the W.I.S.E System

If you’re new to hunting, it may not be immediately apparent which clothing you should buy to remain warm, dry, and comfortable.

However, you might have a much easier shopping experience when you familiarize yourself with the W.I.S.E system. This system involves:

  • Wicking – Next-to-skin base layers
  • Insulating – Mid layers, such as fleece or a down jacket
  • Sheltering – Rain jacket and rain pants
  • Extra – Additional layers in case of an emergency, such as an unexpected snowstorm  
layering WISE system

The W.I.S.E system will give you a fundamental understanding of the basic garments to purchase, but don’t forget to buy wool socks, waterproof boots, hats, and gloves. 



Choose Your Base Layer

Now that you’re aware of the garments you require for the W.I.S.E system, you can learn more about each layer and how it contributes to your overall warmth, dryness, and comfort.

A base layer is a snug-fitting set of garments designed to wick sweat away from your skin to keep you dry. 

base layer

When choosing a base layer, go with wool, silk or synthetics, rather than cotton (photo credit: Wikihow.com)

While cotton can be a preference for everyday wear, it’s less suitable for outdoor activities like hunting.

Instead, opt for base layers featuring wool, silk, or synthetic fabrics. Your top base layer can be a long or short-sleeve shirt and leggings with these materials, paired with a high-quality pair of synthetic or wool socks. 



Choose Your Insulating Layer

Equally as important as your base layer is your insulating layer. This layer prevents the outdoor environment from taking your much-needed body heat.

insualting layer

The insulating layer will help maintain valuable body heat while in the cold weather. (photo credit Wikihow.com)

Typically, you would wear a wool or microfleece top, a puffer jacket, and fleece leggings. You can also pair your insulating layer with a wool or fleece hat and neck gaiter, glove liners, and insulating socks. 



Choose Your Sheltering Layer

If you are going on a hunting or fishing trip, you certainly like to see favorable weather conditions. However, weather conditions can certainly change, and sometimes rapidly.

sheltering layer

Wearing a sheltering layer is critical in protecting the insulating layer underneath. (photo credit: Wikihow.com)

You might be caught out in the rain or snow when you least expect it, and you need to protect your insulating layer at all costs.

Pack a sheltering layer, and you can be prepared for any eventuality. Typically, this layer consists of a pair of rain pants and a rain jacket, both of which need to be waterproof to remain effective. 



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Best Materials for Winter Outdoor Clothing

When there are so many different types of outdoor and hunting clothing for sale, it can be hard to know what will be the most comfortable and practical. While there are many desirable options, some stand out more than others. 

For example, merino wool, a natural fiber sourced from sheep, is a moisture-wicking base layer that is odor-resistant and temperature regulating.

snow on evergreen trees

When adventuring outdoors in colder weather, merino wool is a great moisture wicking base layer that is also odor resistant.

You might also consider synthetic fleece as a mid layer option, which is both affordable and warm. Although, it’s not an ideal wind-resistant layer. 

Synthetic and down jackets can be an effective insulating mid layer, while nylon is ideal for keeping you dry. Some manufacturers create special membranes for nylon to form waterproof jackets for winter use. 



Final Thoughts On Layer Clothing For Cold Weather

Layering winter clothing is an integral part of preparing for any outdoor adventure or hunting trip.

so, before you begin planning your next trip, take the time to make sure you’ve got a full closet of winter options to keep you warm, dry, and protected from the elements.

Remember the W.I.S.E. system and have fun outdoors!

deer mineral recipe pic

Grow Bigger Bucks | How To Make Your Own Deer Mineral Lick

Who doesn’t want to see bigger bucks during deer season?

Do you wish you could see greater antler growth in your deer herd, but just aren’t sure what to do to make it happen?

hand holding antlers

Supplement the deer on your property with the proper nutrition and minerals to maximize antler growth!

There are countless mineral supplements for sale these days… mineral blocks, mineral rocks and minerals in powder form.

But you don’t have to go buy minerals with fancy labels and pictures of big antlers on the packaging. You can make your own deer minerals and we’ll show you how!

Consistent, healthy antler growth requires consistent nutrition… Keep reading to find out more about how to get started making your own deer mineral lick and why it’s so important!

We want to help you learn how to make your own deer mineral recipe, so that you can not only make a product that will help you have a healthier deer herd, but be able to do it without breaking the bank.


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Time needed: 10 minutes.

N1 Outdoors – How To Make Your Own Deer Mineral Recipe (and what ingredients you’ll need):

  1. Trace Minerals

    2 parts trace minerals.

  2. Mixing Salts

    deer mineral mixture
    Mix the trace minerals above with 1 part mixing salts

  3. Dried Molasses

    Mix the above ingredients with 1 part dried molasses.

  4. Dicalcium Phosphate

    Mix the ingredients above with 1 part dicalcium phosphate.

  5. Make your mineral site

    Now you’re ready to spread out your homemade deer minerals and create your mineral site. Be sure to put out a trail cam if you have one, so you can get photos of what is visiting your mineral site and monitor the antler growth progress!



WANT TO LEARN HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN HOMEMADE DEER MINERAL RECIPE? SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH VIDEO!

Homemade Minerals: A Recipe For Deer Success

Of course, larger antler size gets most hunters giddy. But bucks aren’t the only ones that need mineral supplements.

Does need it just as much.

When the does are pregnant, start to produce milk and lactate for the fawns that will be born, they need extra calcium. This will help with lactation, but it also is essential for a healthy bone structure of the fawn that is growing in the womb. 

maston boyd with whitetail buck

Minerals play an important role in whitetail antler size as well as the overall health of your deer herd, both male and female.

Bucks also need the extra calcium boost, as they will use around 40 percent of the calcium in their own bone structure to grow antlers.

The antler growth process happens every year and calcium plays a huge part.

This means that a buck needs not only a good food supply during the antler growing process, but it also needs calcium during the growth process in the mother’s womb.

A healthy bone structure will contribute to greater antler growth later in the deer’s life.

Proper supplementation can also help give deer better resistance to devastating diseases like EHD and CWD.




Diligence Is Key

Supplementing your deer herd with the proper nutrition and minerals needed to promote good antler growth is not something you can do just once. So, if you’re hoping to just visit your local outdoors store, buy a mineral block, put it out and hope to see and kill big deer, you may want to temper those expectations.

If you want a deer herd that consistently produces bucks with good antler size, you have to be consistent yourself as well.



Start making your own deer mineral supplements today and do so every year, so that you can reap the benefits for years to come.

You’ll find in the video below, that all the ingredients you will need to begin making your own deer mineral sites can be found at your local farm or feed store.

We hope you enjoy learning how to create your own minerals for your deer herd! (Note: Be sure to check and follow your state’s laws on use of attractants and supplements on private as well as public hunting land.




The N1 Outdoors N1 Minute Video: How To Make Your Own Deer Mineral Licks

In this edition of the N1 Outdoors N1 Minute, learn how to make your own mineral licks for deer. We show you a simple deer mineral recipe that you can make. We also give you some tips on where to place it. If you want to improve the overall health of your deer herd, then this is one of our must-see hunting videos. We give you the deer mineral recipe for whitetail success!

>> Join the N1 Outdoors Mailing List for news on all the latest products! <<

DIY Deer Mineral Recipe Ingredients:

  • 2 parts trace minerals
  • 1 part mixing salt
  • 1 part dried molasses
  • 1 part dicalcium phosphate

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(How To Make Your Own Deer Mineral Licks video transcript)

Want to learn how to make your own mineral licks for your deer herd? We’ll show you how. Stick with us for the N1 Outdoors N1 Minute.

Today we hear from N1 Outdoors co-founder, Josh Wells, who gives us a recipe for success in having a healthy deer herd.


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Dicalcium Phosphate for Deer (And some molasses!)

Hey, Josh Wells here with the N1 Outdoors N1 tip. We’re gonna make mineral licks today and what we’ve got here that we’re using for the minerals is trace minerals… we are putting two parts trace minerals, one part mixing salt, one part dried molasses and one part dicalcium phosphate.



Why the mineral nutrition is important for deer (It’s not just about big antlers)

What this is going to do for our herd is give the does that are now impregnated, more or less a prenatal vitamin. It’s going to give them what will be equivalent to our multi-vitamins. As the bucks are shedding their horns, they’re automatically starting to grow them back right now. It’s going to help increase their potential of growing big horns.



Where to put the mineral lick

There is a major trail on this side and a major trail on that side of this mineral lick. Now, you don’t want to necessarily put it in the middle of a trail. Put it close to nearby trails and they will find it. They’re not going to eat this like they would a feed or a protein feed or corn. They will come and use this as their body craves the mineral.

As you can see, just last night, there are some deer tracks in this mineral. So, they have already found it. That is because of the dried molasses.

The dried molasses has a strong, sweet, cane smell, and that is why they’ve already found this. We will check back on this in about two months and see how it’s going, and my supplement this mineral with some more material.




Conclusion

Thanks again for joining us for this edition of the N1 Outdoors N1 Minute. Be sure to visit N1outdoors.com, where you can read all about unforgettable moments outdoors. Also, connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

We hope you have a great week, and remember, “where the moment happen, we’ll meet you there.” We’ll see you next time.

fruit of a chesnut tree

Deer Food | Building Better Mast Orchards For Your Herd

-by Bob Humphrey

People interested in managing their land for wildlife are continually seeking better and more efficient ways to improve the habitat so it can support more and healthier animals, particularly deer.

As is so often the case, nature has already figured out the best ways – sometimes it just takes us a while to recognize them.

Let me give you an example.

Hardwoods: Then And Now

Deer hunters head to the woods for many reasons, not the least of which is escape. And most of us, at one time or another, have lamented that perhaps we were born a century or two too late.

As we slip through the local woodlot, which is little more than a vestige of days gone by, we wonder what it must have been like before men and metal changed the landscape.

historic american chesnut with settler

The American chestnut, prior to the blight that nearly wiped them out.

The first Europeans that set foot in the New World, and those that followed for several centuries found a forest that, rather than being patchily distributed on the landscape, stretched on unending for miles.

Canopy openings that allowed sunlight to reach the forest floor nurturing small glades were sparse, and usually caused by natural events.



The understory beneath ancient towering hardwoods was much more open as less sunlight could reach the forest floor during growing season.

But, the biggest difference might well be what covered the ground after the growing season ceased.

Rather than the carpet of acorns we’re now accustomed to seeing in the fall, the forest floor of 120 years ago would have been littered with green pods that more resemble some spiny sea creature or alien spawn than the fruit of a plant. Inside each, one would find several chocolate-hued nuts.


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Chestnut Trees – King of the Forest

Prior to the turn of the previous century, and for millennia before, American chestnuts (Castanea dentata) dominated the eastern hardwood forests of North America. They could grow as tall as a 12 story building and as wider than two men could reach around.

The nuts they dropped in voluminous quantities were a vital food source for countless wildlife species, and later for humans, who could shovel up bushel baskets full of them in short order.



But, in roughly 30 years, the American chestnuts were wiped out by a blight.

Oaks ultimately filled the empty ecological niche once occupied by chestnuts, dominating the overstory and providing an abundant source of hard mast.

A 20-year-old chestnut can produce as much as 20 pounds of mast per year. On a per acre basis, that’s as many carbohydrates as corn, but without all the labor and expense of replanting every year.

Research has even shown that whitetails prefer acorns over just about any other widely occurring natural food.

The deer don’t know the difference, but as you’ll soon learn, this stand-in source of mast doesn’t quite stand up to their forerunners.

Fortunately, like healthy seedlings of the once mighty chestnut, hope springs eternal.



Back to the Future

In the early 1950s, James Carpentar discovered, in the state of Ohio, an American chesnut that appeared to be resistant to blight. It was large and very healthy.

So, Carpentar budwood from that tree to a well-known plant breeder in the state of North Carolina named Dr. Robert T. Dunstan. Dr. Dunstan began grafting, and later cross-pollinating, American grafts with a mixture USDA-released Chinese chestnuts.

Are acorns really a whitetail deer’s favorite? Keep reading!

After selecting individuals with the best hybrid characteristics, Dr. Dunstan crossed them back to both the American and Chinese parent trees, creating the Dunstan chestnut, a breed with the optimal combination of blight resistance and production of large, high quality nuts.



Today, Dr. Dunstan’s great grandson, Iain Wallace grows Dunstan chestnuts as well as a variety of other mast trees and shrubs at the family’s Chestnut Hill Orchards in Alachua, Florida.

The business started largely as a commercial chestnut orchard.

“Until fairly recently, most of the millions of dollars worth of chestnuts sold each year were imported because there were no commercial orchards in the U.S.,” said Iain’s father, Robert Wallace.



And like any start-up, they encountered their share of obstacles.

“We had deer in our orchard every night during harvest season,” he said.

He further elaborated that one of his biggest problems for commercial orchardists is deer eating the nuts before they can be collected. However, the elder Wallace quickly recognized it not as a problem, but an opportunity.

With help from friends in the outdoor industry, Chestnut Hill Orchards formed Chestnut Hill Outdoors as a subsidiary to market and sell trees to people interested in planting them to attract and feed wildlife.

a chesnut compared to an acorn

When compared side-by-side, the nutritional value of the chestnut dwarfs the acorn.


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The Chestnut… A Better Nut

Trying to compete with the mighty oak might seem a particularly risky business venture, until you learn about the chestnut’s nutritional superiority.

Chestnuts contain 4 times the amount of carbohydrates that a white oak acorn possesses. And, it has 2.5 times the amount of protein while only having a fraction of the fat found in acorns.

Chestnuts also have less tannins, making them a much sweeter, and thus more palatable (no-one ever wrote songs about acorns roasting on an open fire).



And though chestnuts have not been present on the land for more than 100 years, the ability to instantly recognize their nutritional superiority and palatability is still permanently encoded into the deer’s DNA.

They know a good thing when they smell, and taste it.

There are other advantages chestnuts hold over other mast trees that might be of particular interest to those looking to plant wildlife mast orchards.



Chestnut trees grow faster and bigger, sometimes bearing mast in as little as two to five years. A white oak, by comparison, might not bear acorns for 20 year.

Eventually, chestnuts can grow a dozen stories tall, becoming prolific producers of the caloric carbs wildlife like deer are so dependent on for their winter survival.

They also lack the bumper crop and bust that tend to be more common with oak trees. Chestnuts bloom later in the Spring as well, which makes them much less susceptible to severe mast crop failures that can be caused by late freezes.



Why Plant Trees For Deer?

Before we go further we should probably back up momentarily as some readers are probably wondering why you would plant trees instead of just building food plots like everybody else.

Regardless of what you plant, your goal should be not just to attract animals like deer during a particular part of the year (hunting season), but to hold them there as close to year-round as possible.

Why?



Because the more time they spend on your property, the more comfortable and habituated they become. And the best way to do that is by providing the optimal year-round habitat, the components of which include food, cover and water.



Building and maintaining food plots with annual or perennial herbaceous crops is a very popular way to increase available nutrition for wildlife, but can result in nutritional gaps during certain parts of the year. It can also be costly and labor intensive, particularly with annual crops that must be planted every year.

whitetail buck under chestnut tree

Mast orchards, like chestnut trees, help provide year-round nutrition for the herd and produce year-after year.

Your property will be far more attractive to, and beneficial for wildlife if you can strive to keep fresh food sources available for as long as possible throughout the year.


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Mast orchards represent an alternative or complement to your food plots, and after the initial investment and establishment, will provide increasingly more food indefinitely, and with a great deal less cost and effort compared to food plots or even feeders.

They also provide a means for landowners to fill potential nutritional gaps, ensuring there is plenty of the right food throughout the year.



The Chestnut’s Place On The Hard Mast Team

As previously noted, chestnuts offer several advantages over other hard mast sources by growing faster and larger, bearing fruit at a younger age and providing a more nutritious nut.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plant other species, like varieties of red and white oak. Variety is the spice of wildlife, and the more you provide in the way of food, the more attractive and productive your land will be. But don’t stop there.



All too often, landowner’s focus on fall foods and forget about the rest of the year.

As previously alluded to, the more deer and other species are present on your property in the spring, summer and winter, the more likely they’ll be there in the fall.

Visitors become residents as feeding areas become home ranges, and home ranges become core areas. And it shouldn’t be just about deer either.



Provide Well-Rounded Nutrition

You can further fill the void with species like grapes, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, at the same time attracting a broader spectrum of upland game and game bird species, not to mention non-game animals.

Again, you improve the habit quality over a wider time span by providing greater variety of soft and hard mast plant species, particularly those that help fill gaps in the nutritional calendar.



For example, plums provide fruit as early as May and June in southern regions, and a little later further north.

Pears, which ripen from mid to late July through August, depending on variety and location, can fill the next gap as herbaceous plants mature and lose palatability but hard mast has yet to fall.

Which Trees Should You Plant?

Next on the nutritional calendar come things like apples and persimmons, the latter of which come in early-drop and late-drop varieties and are an incredibly powerful deer attractant, particularly during ear to mid-autumn archery seasons.

By then, hard mast should start dropping and, if you’ve planted enough variety, will continue providing fall attractant and winter survival food at least through the end of the calendar year, and quite possibly through the winter.

persimmon fruit

Planting soft mast species like persimmons widens the window of attractiveness your property provides for wildlife. Persimmons are a prized treat for whitetail deer. (photo: Bob Humphrey)

Now that you have an idea of the types of mast-producers you’d like to plant, you need to select a variety of species from each group.

Chestnut Hill Outdoors offers an array of both soft and hard mast producers in several different size containers.

Furthermore, they will help you select the optimal varieties for your specific site conditions, including landscape level variables like plant hardiness zones and regional climate as well as local variables like slope, aspect and soil type and moisture regimes.


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And, they don’t stop there. In order to ensure you receive the maximum benefit from their products, the Chestnut Hill Outdoors staff also provide sound advice and instruction on proper site selection, planting and care.

They even continue seeking more effective and efficient ways to get products to their customers.

Planting larger, and thus older trees helps shorten the waiting period until your mast orchards produce fruit, but large trees can be expensive to ship.

That’s why Chestnut Hill Outdoors teamed up with Walmart to provide a more convenient and economical distribution hub for larger trees.



They now ship Dunstan Chestnuts and other mast orchard species to Walmart retail locations across the eastern U.S. And they are scheduled to arrive at the optimal time for planting in different regions.

When it comes to planting mast orchards for wildlife, about the only down side is that it will take a few years before you begin realizing the benefits of your investment.

The upside is that with little or no additional input from you, your initial investment will continue paying benefits indefinitely.

Short of buying land, it’s one of the soundest long-term investments you can make for yours and future generations of people who appreciate and enjoy wildlife.

For more on Chestnut Hill Outdoors products and how to care for them, visit www.ChestnutHillOutdoors.com, or call (855) 386-7826.

bob humphrey
Bob Humphrey. You can learn more about Bob at BobHumphrey.com