We’re back with our Outdoor specialist, Mick Garvey. He is giving his top tips to help you make the most of hunting in winter despite the cooler climate.
“With the colder UK weather having chased the last of the summer sun away, I have been planning for the winter months and how I’ll be tackling the change in seasons. But is there much of a change for the species we hunt? It probably affects us hunters more than it affects our quarry. They do after all have fur coats and adapt to the change in season better than we do.
For me the late autumn and winter months are a great time to hunt. The trees have lost their foliage, the natural food has become scarce and spotting your prey is all of a sudden easier. But on the flip side we are easily spotted by our target species too. So subterfuge is of the highest importance at this time.
Keeping warm and comfortable is key to a successful day… or night. Layering up with your chosen clothing is the way to procced and for myself I find the Jack Pyke Evo gear works just fine. With three to four layers under the jacket and maybe a tracksuit or thermal bottoms under the trousers will suffice in the coldest conditions. A hat, gloves and good boots will set you up perfectly. And of course a hot drink is a must to keep your inner core at operating temperature.
The first cold snap of the year tends to put every animal on hold, then it’s business as usual. They still need to eat … more so in fact as the food intake provides fuel for them. Squirrels will now be taking the free offerings from the feeders I have set up and wood pigeons can also be seen at the feeders too along with the usual magpies, jays and all the song birds. These are great at attracting wary squirrels, as they’ll be sat up high watching the area, on seeing the robins and finches feeding freely they soon be down to join them.
Thermal spotters are invaluable at this time of year, easily identifying incoming vermin from way out giving you plenty of time to prepare the shot.
Rabbits are another great target species, especially at night when the cold really sets in. They stand out like a beacon against the cold and maybe freezing ground through the thermal but this brings other problems. Namely, announcing your presence through the crunchy frozen ground underfoot. Stealth and patience is needed. There’s no need to rush. Take it slowly and even take a longer route if needed to get into position. Little bits all add up towards success. Again the thermal spotter will be a valuable tool.
To summarise it’s not just the animals that change their habits. In fact, they probably change less than we do. All the P’s are needed, but planning and patience are of utmost importance. My numbers actually rise during this time of year. Squirrels and rabbits are all increasing bringing some great winter numbers.
To view ELEY’s full range of .22lr pest control rounds, visit our hunting ammunition page.