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!

arrow with broken nock in target

Pin-point accuracy | How nock tuning your arrows can be a game-changer

See if this sounds familiar…

Deer season is coming up. You know you need to get out and shoot your bow but you can’t seem to find the time. There’s just so much going on with work and/or with family.

So, you don’t get in the reps in shooting your bow like you need to.

two arrows near bullseyes on foam target

Nock tuning your arrows can be the X-factor in achieving superior arrow flight.

The next thing you know, deer season is here. You’re in a deer stand and Mr. Big walks by and you let an arrow fly.

You either miss, or that arrow does not do exactly what you thought it was going to do and you make a bad shot on that animal.

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone.

I’d like to share how the flight of one arrow made me pay much more detailed attention to each of my arrows prior to hunting with them.

This is the story of how I decided it was time to start nock tuning my bare shaft arrows.



Did the arrow fail? Not quite, but it wanted to!

Shooting at a deer is not a good time to find out that your arrow is not flying true.

On one of our bowhunting retreats to South Georgia, my business partner, Josh Wells, was able to take a whitetail buck, but it was not without a little bit of drama.

buck laying down in high grass with lighted nock arrow flying toward it

When we reviewed the footage of the shot on this bedded buck, the lighted nock allowed us to see the corkscrew flight path of the arrow… not what you want to see.

When we reviewed the footage of the shot, the lighted nock allowed us to notice some pretty severe corkscrew movement on his arrow. Thankfully, the fletchings did their job and the arrow found its mark.

But, this really got us thinking hard about bare shaft tuning our arrows.

We had not nock tuned our arrows in the past, but we knew folks who did and who recommended it highly.



Just give me one dozen arrows and let’s go hunting…

To be honest, like many of you, in the past we had just gone to our respective local bow shops, ordered a dozen arrows and went hunting.

We had taken for granted that that arrow was going to fly true. After all, when it comes to bowhunting we just need to be a “good shot,” right?

Josh Wells of N1 Outdoors with a south georgia whitetail

Josh was able to recover his whitetail, but the corkscrew flight of his arrow left him wondering if he had in fact delivered a fatal shot.

Well, we were reminded of an important lesson on this hunt… when it matters most, no one wants that arrow to fly better than the person that’s actually releasing it.

So, as good as your bow shop is (and we have some great bow shops in our area), the truth is that they don’t grip your bow like you do. They don’t necessarily have the same anchor point as you, and they may not have the same release of the arrow that you do.


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So, while your bow shop can get your bow in center shot and “in tune,” there is much about your personal shooting method that can affect arrow flight.

So, it’s your responsibility to be sure that each arrow has the best chance of finding its mark when shot from your bow, by you!




In the moment of truth, we want great arrow flight

Our experience with erratic arrow flight on this hunt made us want to learn for ourselves how to get our bow, as well as our arrow shafts as tuned as possible.

When it really mattered, we needed confidence that fletchings would not have a ton of correcting to do. This way, we could be ensured with arrow flight that is as straight as possible.

Enter bare shaft nock tuning.

I had seen Troy Fowler (aka, the “Ranch Fairy”) talking about high FOC arrows and also how nock tuning bare shaft arrows was “witchcraft” and that it mattered greatly to achieving excellent arrow flight.

Now, when you start using words like “witchcraft” in regards to bowhunting, you have my attention.


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If you are still reading, and are wondering what nock tuning is all about, I’m going to take you through the process step-by-step, so that you too can do this for yourself. Keep reading!

Why is nock tuning your arrows necessary for great arrow flight?

Nock tuning has much to do with finding the stiffest part of the arrow, known as the “spine.” The arrow most often flies best when this portion of the shaft is facing up when shooting.

The goal of nock tuning is to gradually turn the nock of your arrow to different positions on the shaft to find the one where the arrow flies the straightest. One of the best ways to do this is to shoot a bare shaft (unfletched) arrow through paper until your find the position on the shaft where it shoots a “bullet hole.”



This will give us a very good indicator that when this arrow is fletched and shot, the fletchings will have very little to correct. After all, you may have gripped the bow too tightly during the shot, or even released the arrow abnormally.

Those fletchings will have all that to worry about without adding an arrow that is not properly tuned.


A word about arrow spine

We could certainly go in-depth about arrow spine, but we’ll keep it simple here.

When arrows are shot and released from a bow, a tremendous amount of stored energy is transferred from the limbs of the bow to that arrow.

arrow flexing in flight after being shot from bow

If you look closely, you can see in this picture that the arrow flexes when shot from the bow. Having the a properly spined arrow for your bow setup is critical to the nock tuning process being fully effective.

The arrow will flex during the shot and the stiffness of the spine is what determines how much that arrow will flex. To fly properly, your arrow needs to flex, but it needs to flex the right amount. That is why having properly spined arrows for your bow setup is critical.

So, as I walk you through the process of bare shaft nock tuning your arrows through paper, I’m going to assume a few things right off the bat. I’m going to assume that your bow is already in center shot and that you have properly spined arrows for your bow setup.

The N-Tune arrow wrap and how it makes the nock tuning process easier

Please hear me.

I am not trying to argue for or against arrow wraps.

Many of you may have also gotten interested in the nock tuning and paper tuning bare shaft process by watching the Ranch Fairy.



But, Troy Fowler will tell you, he is not an arrow wrap guy. In fact, he is not for anything that adds extra tail weight. And as it pertains to high FOC, we totally understand why.

What we are saying is, we have found that in the process of bare shaft and paper tuning is tedious. It can take several, if not dozens of shots, and can knowing where you are and where you have been on that arrow shaft is critical to figuring out where the stiffest part of the spine is.

marking arrow number on the n1 outdoors n-tune arrow wrap

The N-Tune arrow wrap allows you to put a small indicator of which arrow you are shooting, so you don’t have to write on your fletchings.

So, we wanted to come up with a way to make the nock tuning process a little bit better, so that you can easily reference which parts of the shaft are tuning better through paper, as well as a way to indicate which arrow you’re working on, so that you can reference that without having to mark up your arrows too much.

How to nock tune your bowhunting arrows | Step-By-Step

Time needed: 15 minutes.

Here’s how to nock tune your arrows through paper using the N-Tune arrow wrap (estimate: 15 min per arrow):

  1. Align hole/mark on nock with line on the arrow wrap

    Line up the center of the hole in the lighted nock (if you have one) with the number 1 line on the wrap. If your nock does not have a hole, you can mark any place on the nock with a dot as a reference point.

    lining up nock with marks on n1 outdoors n-tune arrow wrap

  2. Shoot bare shaft arrow through paper

    Shoot the arrow from about 10 feet away through paper (be sure you have a heavy target, such as a speed bag or crossbow target behind the paper that will stop the arrow. Also, be sure that your target is behind your paper more than a full length of your arrow, so that the arrow will not impact the target until it has fully passed through the paper).

    man shooting bow through paper while nock tuning

  3. Mark corresponding wrap number next to hole in paper

    Next to the hole in the paper, write which position on the N-Tune arrow wrap you were on when you shot that hole.

    holes in paper from nock tuning through paper

  4. Mark your arrow shaft

    Once you have shot using all 8 positions on the wrap, examine the holes and see which one is closest to a “bullet hole.” Once you determine this, make a mark on the shaft with a sharpie or other marker and be sure to shoot the arrow with this mark facing up. (Note: If you are fletching your own arrows, you may need your fletchings pointing a certain direction in order to clear your rest of cables. Just be sure that t this mark can always be facing up when shooting.)

    marking the n1 outdoors n-tune arrow wrap for nock tuning

  5. Repeat steps 1 through 4 on all shafts

    Continue the above process for all 8 positions on the N-Tune arrow wrap. (You may have to do this process more than once on each number if you know you had a bad irregularity on one of the shots that was not necessarily the “arrow’s fault.”

  6. Fletch arrows

    If you are going to fletch your own arrows, be sure that you fletch them so that the mark you have made on your shaft is pointing UP when you nock the arrow.

    fletching arrow with nock tuning mark facing up




Nock tuning your arrows [step-by-step]

Conclusion

So maybe you’re still asking, “why are you so worried about all this bare shaft nock tuning through paper stuff? That’s what’s the fletchings are for, to correct arrow flight!”

Well, that’s true. But if you’ve bow hunted long enough, you know that a lot of things can happen when you release that arrow.

Maybe your stance wasn’t exactly right. Maybe you were wearing baggy clothing and the string slapped your sleeve when you released the arrow. Maybe you had hand torque when you released the arrow. Maybe you had facial pressure on the bow string.

All these things can negatively affect arrow flight.

Yes, when these things happen, the fletchings will help correct the flight of that arrow. But, you want them to have to correct as little as possible.


Nock tuning your bare shafts through paper is a great way to be confident of your arrow flight when it really counts.

Minimal correction is best

Would you rather your fletchings be correcting lots of imperfection because the arrow was not properly tuned? Or, would you rather the fletchings be correction small imperfections because you had taken every precaution to ensure that the bare shaft was flying as true as possible before any of that other bad stuff happened?

I’m choosing option 2, because not only do I want to be the best hunter I can be, I want my arrow to have the best chance possible of making an ethical impact on my target deer or other animal. This will result in me having the best chance possible of recovering that animal.

I hope you’ve learned some helpful information regarding nock tuning through paper.

If you’re interested in the N-Tune arrow wraps, just visit our online store!



Giles Canter of N1 outdoors with archery buck
Giles Canter of N1 Outdoors.
wild turkey gobbler

Beards, Feathers and Snoods, Oh My! | Anatomy Of A Turkey

The wild turkey is a complex creature and has some anatomical features that are pretty peculiar. Many hunters may not know what some of these features are and how they help a turkey survive in nature.

So, let’s take a closer look at the anatomy of the wild turkey.

Eyes

If you are an avid turkey hunter, you are likely aware that this bird sports some powerful eyesight and can detect a turkey hunter with ease if they are not properly concealed and camouflaged.

Unlike us human hunters, the wild turkey possesses monocular periscope vision.

turkey eye

Turkeys have powerful eyesight, nearly a 360-degree field of vision, and each eye can move independently of the other.

Monocular periscope vision allows the eyes of the turkey to act independently from one another, allowing them to scan for potential threats in two different directions simultaneously.

Turkeys also have eyes situated on the sides of their head and not in a forward-facing direction. The positioning of the eyes and the independent operation they are capable of means that turkeys have nearly 360 degrees of viewing range.

turkey eyes and ears diagram

The ears of a turkey are located right behind the eyes.

The eyes being able to scan so much of the immediate area around them means they can pick up the slightest movements with ease and is one of the reasons they are so challenging to hunt.



Ears

Like all birds, the turkey doesn’t have any external ear features, and their ears are essential, just holes in their head directly behind their eyes.

The ears of the turkey feature pinpoint hearing, and if you have ever called in a turkey from a long distance, you will have observed how they can pinpoint the exact location of the sound and track directly to you.

a turkey's ears

Turkey’s have an uncanny ability to judge distance with their ears.

Despite not having external ears that serve as a sort of “radar dish” to detect noises from a wide range of directions like a deer, the turkey has hearing that can easily pinpoint the exact location of noise, and their brains will even register the distance of the sound from the bird.



Snood

The snood is an anatomical feature that a turkey possesses that causes most hunters to scratch their heads and ask, “what is that thing for?”

The most noticeable feature which has the fitting name of a snood is the familiar bright red lumpy area located on the throats of male turkeys.

turkey snood

A turkey’s snood helps to regulate body temperature, and in males, help to attract female turkeys (hens).

The snood serves a few different purposes for male turkeys, with the biggest being attraction to the opposite sex, with the bright ornamentation helping attract females for breeding.

This weird anatomical feature also serves another critical role for tom turkeys. It helps dissipate excess heat and helps regulate the bird’s body temperature on those hot summer days.



Head Coloration

The colorations of the head of a male wild turkey are to this day not fully understood, and the colors can change depending on the bird’s mood.

The Coloration of the head can change from blue to white to red, and the bird can do so based on moods like agitation, excitement, irritation, fear, and others.

turkey head coloration

A turkey’s head colors can change, depending on factors like fear, anger and during mating.

When it comes to mating, there will often be a prominent white coloration at the top of the head, and this occurs when a tom is approaching hens or, in many cases, a hunter or decoy that the tom thinks is a hen.




Beard

The beard of a tom turkey serves the same purpose as the coloration and snood, to attract hens. The beard of a tom turkey isn’t actually a beard at all but a modified form of a feather.

While males use it to attract hens, hen turkeys are also known to sport a beard, albeit on a rare basis. This has led some experts to not definitely hold the beard as a definitive in terms of its’ role.

turkey gobblers with beards

The beard of a make turkey has a texture similar to a thick monofilament fishing line, and is used to attract hens.



Spurs

One of the anatomical features of a turkey that is a trophy feature among hunters are the spurs.

turkey spurs

A turkey grows spurs on the back of each leg near the foot, and can be used for defense as well as for fighting.

The spurs serve two primary purposes for a tom turkey; it is the major form of defense for the bird, and hunters try to avoid them when retrieving a recently downed bird for this very reason.

Tom turkeys also use these spurs to fight other toms for the same reasons bucks or rams fight, to establish a hierarchy within the flock, as turkeys are social animals.

Just like the antlers of a buck, the spurs of a tom turkey can cause severe lacerations, cuts, and bruising, so be cautious when approaching a wounded tom.



Tail Feathers

The tail feathers are probably the most prized feature of a tom turkey among hunters, and both hunters and toms love to display them.

turkey tail feathers

A turkey’s tail feathers are the prize possession of turkey hunters.

The tail fan of a turkey serves a few purposes; it makes them look larger when they are fully displayed, which serves as a form of intimidation to other toms when fighting during the mating season and attracts hens.

The large tail feathers also serve as a rudder when flying, helping the bird control their direction of flight and helping them brake and slow down when they come in for a landing or when roosting in the trees at night.

turkey tail feathers rear view

Here’s a look at a turkey’s tail feathers from behind the bird.



Wings

Unlike other birds, a turkey will rarely use flight to simply get around due to being a relatively heavy bird and use flight for the purposes of getting up into trees for roosting and back down again.

But don’t be fooled, as a threatened turkey can kick into high gear and escape nearly any potential threat quickly by flying fast and low, albeit in relatively short bursts compared to other birds.

turkey profile shot showing wings

Although turkeys can fly, their wings are used primarily to fly up and down from their roosting locations.

The wings also serve a purpose in establishing dominance in the flock hierarchy, with “wing slapping” being a common way for toms to fight and work their way to the top of the pecking order.

turkey wings

during mating season, a male turkey will often “strut” with it’s tail feathers up and its wings pointed in a downward fashion

Wings also come in handy for dusting, which is when a turkey wallows down into dry dirt and ruffles its feathers to spread a fine powdery coat of dust on itself.

Dust baths keep the feathers of the turkey in optimum condition and are a part of their preening and plumbing maintenance, as the dust absorbs excess oils and moisture.

turkey feather dusting area

A turkey will “dust” its feathers, in an area like this, to keep their wings from being matted and to help prevent parasites and mites.

Dusting keeps the feathers of the bird from becoming matted and greasy and provides clean and aerodynamic feathers for maximum efficiency during flight, and also helps prevent feather mites and parasites.



Final Thoughts On Turkey Anatomy

The turkey is a very intriguing animal and a great resource for hunters.

Understanding details about the animals you pursue in the field will help you become a better hunter and will also give hunters a larger appreciation and understanding of the resources they enjoy.

So, whether you are a turkey hunter of just wanting to learn more about these amazing birds, we hope this article on the anatomy of a turkey helped you understand these amazing birds better!