Hunting through a rain storm can be a game changer for hunters. A normal response for most hunters when the rain starts coming down is to leave the woods. Those hunters are missing out on the best time to hunt!
Fred Bear agrees
I was recently reading some Fred Bear articles and came across his Ten commandments of bowhunting. Number 6 on his list is ” A rainstorm isn’t a reason to quit the hunt. It’s a reason to stay”. If that one quote made its way into the top ten list for the Father of Modern Bowhunting, don’t you feel it’s important too?
Number 5 on His list is” Take only the gear to the field that allows you to hunt longer, harder, and smarter.” So stop thinking about if you need to hunt in the rain and get everything you need. That way next time the sky darkens you aren’t running for your truck.
Rain Gear Qualities
There are certain attributes to look for when selecting proper rain gear for bowhunting.
- Durable, water-resistant fabric You can’t bow hunt for long without proper protection from the elements. Modern humans are not built to properly maintain body temperature with wet clothing on. This can be as inconvenient as being uncomfortable, to being as dangerous as causing hypothermia. Either way, staying dry is important.
- Wind resistant Wind resistant fabrics and techniques keep the wind away from your body. This allows you to stay warmer therefore keeping you in your stand.
- breathability When you’re on a hunt you don’t want material that can retain sweat and leave you exposed. Today’s modern materials actually wick sweat away from your skin and keep you drier than outdated equipment.
- packable- Wearing your rain gear to every hunt is not a great idea. Buy gear that is packable so that it can be taken to the stand. At a minimum keep your rain gear in your vehicle but I highly recommend buying something made for backpacking. Specifically that can be folded into a small enough package that you can bring it to the stand with you.
Modern Options for packable rain jackets
*Listed by price in descending order
- This is the perfect option for the bowhunter that demands the best gear possible. Huk jackets come with their own pouch to keep it tucked away neatly in a backpack until it’s needed. This gear has strategic venting allowing it to remain waterproof while still keeping you cool. Most waterproof clothing keeps the rain out but also keeps the sweat in. Huk puts moisture wicking fabrics inside their jackets that will keep the sweat off your skin and allow faster evaporation. Until you’ve tried it you don’t know what you’re missing.
- Coming in at less than 16 ounces this is a great option. The fabric used to make this jacket is very stretchable and quiet. It comes with a packable pouch that will allow it to be stored almost anywhere. Also at a bargain price this jacket is half the cost of Huk products.
For half the price of most competitors, this is a great package. Breathable, lightweight, wind and water-resistant, this is a great option if you don’t have anything else. For less than half the cost of Huk jackets this is a complete package.
Packable rain pants for bowhunting
- With great camo options available these pants are a great investment for your bowhunting pack. A great lightweight option they can actually be packed into a back pocket. These are the only pants I recommend because keeping your legs dry is easily accomplished when hunting. The King’s brand are made with elastic waistbands and rip stop fabrics. They will last a lifetime as long as you keep them tucked away until needed.
Tricks to staying warm when bowhunting in the rain
Keep your gloves handy
Don’t forget a good pair of gloves to keep in your hunting pack. When bowhunting I love using fingerless gloves on my shooting hand and a full glove on my bow hand. This makes it very easy to relax my bow hand and not torque the bow when firing. Your extremities are the first thing to get uncomfortably cold. Keeping them warm is critical to having a long successful hunt.
Hand warmers are a hunters best friend
keeping a few packs of chemical hand warmers in your pack is very inexpensive and affordable. These can typically be purchased for around a dollar each and will make a HUGE difference in being very comfortable and wanting to go home. putting them in your pants pockets, boots, and layered into your shirt will boost your hunting enthusiasm greatly.
Have a ground blind ready
When you wake up and see the weather report showing rain what do you do? If you are a typical tree stand hunter maybe you just go back to sleep? Why not have a backup plan in place specifically for those rainy forecasts? A waterproof portable ground blind is a fantastic option for this. By keeping one readily available you give yourself the option to stay dry and still hunt while everyone else is home.There are so many great options available today on Amazon.com. For around $100 you can be absolutely prepared for any rainstorm and never miss another hunt due to weather.
What else do you need to bowhunt in the rain
I wrote an article on this a while back and If you are interested you can read it here. Do not go to the woods and thing you can be fully successful without being fully prepared. Going back to Fred Bear’s commandments there is a reason bringing equipment to stay comfortable made that list. By keeping yourself dry, fed, warm and mosquito free you will be able to hunt longer and sit more still. This all goes back to seeing more deer and higher quality deer. Stay still and if you’re in the right spot you will see deer.
Tactics and tips to hunt successfully in the rain
If possible avoid areas where tracking will become an issue after heavy rains.
I have a great place to hunt in a very low area of Osceola National Forest. After a good hard rain it basically becomes an ankle-deep swamp impossible to blood trail in. If you have the resources to pick a few different hunting locations use this to your advantage before leaving your house.
Hunt with heavy cover overhead
This is typically where I see the most deer on rainy days. You will be provided with some protection from overhead. This also helps some with not compromising your blood trail after a shot.
Take care of your bow after a rain
I always keep my string waxed. But on a rainy florida week I will usually re-wax it to keep it protected. Dry your bow off when you get home and lubricate the axles a bit. Don’t neglect your broadheads. Wipe them dry and a very light coat of cooking oil works wonders. Not only will the cooking oil protect your metal it is also safe to consume.
Buy a tree umbrella
No seriously, just buy one. They are very inexpensive and may seem gimmicky but leave one over your head for a season and you will be thankful. I bought this one on Amazon a few years back and it still works great. It will provide shade and camouflage on hot early season days and keep you dry during the rainy ones.
Hunting in a heavy rain you are 100% more likely to kill a deer than sitting at home on the couch.
- Enough said.