Hunting in the winter can be exciting, fun, rewarding and a real adventure, especially when there’s snow on the ground and the world around you looks like a sea of white. Hunting in the winter can also be exhausting, dangerous and a real drain on the system, meaning that you need to take every precaution to ensure that you stay safe, don’t get in to trouble and return home to your family with your hunting trophies and a big smile on your face after a few days of roughing it in freezing climates.
We’ve compiled some useful information from various sources here in New Zealand to help you prepare for the great outdoors, especially in winter! Whether you’re bird watching in the bush or hunting in the mountains, familiarise yourself with this useful information and ensure that you stay safe and warm and return to civilisation in the same health that you left in. Remember: failing to prepare is preparing to fail!
Take a look at our awesome new and totally FREE Outdoor Safety Information page for more information.
FAQ's about staying safe whilst hunting in winter
What are the top tips for staying safe while hunting in the winter?
Going hunting can be an exciting, exhilarating, happy activity that can result in you catching your very own food to feed your family. It can be a hugely rewarding activity but also a very frustrating and sometimes dangerous venture. Whether you’re hunting in summer or winter, it’s vital that you do everything you can to plan for the worst, stay safe and make it home. Key factors to consider when hunting in winter are ensuring you have enough equipment to stay warm, especially if you have an accident, enough supplies to eat, that you tell people where you plan to go, and that you know your limits. You can find out more in the guides available here.
What are the most important safety precautions to take while hunting in the winter?
Always tell someone where you plan on going and when you plan on being back. Be sure to check the weather for any extreme weather events that may be heading your way before you set off and be prepared to change your plans should the weather start to close in.
What clothing should I wear to stay warm and safe while hunting in the winter?
The key to dressing for hunting in the cold is to layer up with thermal layers to retain your body heat. The weather can change quickly so a good quality waterproof outer shell, jacket with hood and over trousers, a warm hat and gloves, warm socks, fleece and decent shoes are vital. In addition, if it will be an overnight trip you’ll need a quality thick, yet lightweight sleeping bag.
How can I prepare for the unexpected while hunting in the winter?
Always have a plan and make sure you’re over prepared. Ensure that you have enough supplies to last longer than you plan to be away incase you get injured or stuck somewhere. Always tell someone your plans before you leave so that they can raise the alarm if you don’t return.
What are the best hunting tools to use in the winter to stay safe?
One of the best tools you can use to stay safe is your brain. Planning is the first important part of keeping yourself safe. Before venturing out on a hunting adventure in NZ in winter, be sure to read everything you can to learn as much as you can about being prepared for the great outdoors.
What should I do if I get lost or injured while hunting in the winter?
The best way to avoid this is to try your very best to prevent this from happening by planning your trip carefully. Should you get in to trouble, think STAR. Stop, Think, Assess, Respond. Essentially, don’t act before thinking things through. If you find yourself lost, stay put as it only makes it harder to find you. Build yourself a shelter, keep warm and well fed and use your personal locator beacon (PLB), mountain radio, satellite phone or satellite messenger device to try and make contact to inform someone of your situation. There’s heaps of tips and advice in this handy guide from MSC.
What should I bring with me while hunting in the winter to ensure my safety?
First of all, the best way to ensure safety is to plan well so that you know what you’re heading into. Ensure you have the right clothing, communication devices, food and equipment. Be sure to concentrate whilst you’re on the move to limit the chances of an injury or getting lost. Make sure you have a basic survival kit with you including a survival blanket, knife, compass, first aid kit, matches and a whistle. You can check out a full list here.
Image courtesy of Paxson Woelber - "A hunter at sunrise on Adak, with Mt. Moffett in the background. Adak Island, Aleutian Islands, Alaska" by Paxson Woelber - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.