Enjoyed a really great airgunning year making mixed bags of rabbits and woodpigeons? Reluctant to let cold weather stop play? Mat Manning offers some top tips to keep your outings comfortable during the chilly months…
There’s absolutely no reason why your shooting shouldn’t remain productive and enjoyable during the coldest part of the year – in fact, autumn and winter are my favourite seasons to be out with the gun.
Wearing layers is the secret to regulating your body temperature in cold conditions. My preferred upper layers for extreme weather comprise a long-sleeved bamboo-fibre vest, a long-sleeved cotton shirt, a lightweight fleece, a heavyweight fleece, and my usual waterproof and windproof shooting jacket. The jacket provides camouflage and a shield to keep out the elements, while the layers trap the warmth from my body on the inside. And if I get too hot, which often happens, it’s easy to remove one of those fleeces.
My usual lightweight shooting trousers are swapped for a lined pair, and I’ll wear two pairs of thick socks if there’s snow or frost on the ground. My winter wellies are lined with 5mm neoprene, and have enough room to allow proper circulation with that extra pair of socks. Good gloves are vitally important, of course; I usually opt for a pair with foldback fingers, which helps with tasks like reloading.
Keeping your head warm is very important. I wear a fleece hat that I can pull down over my ears. The upper layer is completed with a fleece neck snood, which creates a seal around my collar and can be pulled up over my face to improve warmth and concealment.
It’s a good idea to take a flask of hot tea or soup with you on cold-weather forays. It’s a great way to boost morale, and the quick shot of warmth it delivers should be enough to stop you from heading home early.