Peter Fiduccia, aka the Deer Doctor, is truly an expert in the field when it comes to hunting. In his first blog with Filson Life, Peter explains a vital aspect to having a successful hunt and how he stays warm in the field, and his eyes on the prize, even in the most extreme conditions.
The most important elements to a successful hunt include accurate shooting skills, cutting edge tactics, and maximizing time afield. Without the complete combination of these basic strategies, hunting success declines considerably.
For example, on a recent hunt in Newfoundland my guide and I were forced to sit for hours at the edge of a bog in a small group of Tuckamore trees waiting for a bull moose to get up from its bed. Occasionally, we could see his huge antlers as he moved his head. It motivated us to remain in the uncomfortable conditions of sitting on wet, soggy, ground in frigid, bone chilling winds and freezing rain and snow.
Several times my guide began to shiver badly as he was severely underdressed. I knew if the bull didn’t get up soon we could lose the opportunity to get a shot. Minutes later the bull stood up and went to the edge of the bog to drink. I placed the crosshairs on his chest, flipped the safety off, and with one clean well-placed shot the bull dropped in his tracks.
The point is to maximize opportunities to take big game; a hunter has to remain focused on the hunt and not on trying to stay warm. This is particularly crucial when the weather conditions are miserable and uncomfortable. In other words, to take full advantage of hunting prospects always go afield dressed to kill!
I have stalked all types of big game throughout North America over the last 47 years, many times in severe weather conditions. I learned early on that dressing properly was not only the key to taking game, or keeping warm – but it was also an important element to staying alive – especially when hunting at 7,000 to 10,000 feet.
My choice in hunting clothing has always been quality wool products. Most savvy big game hunters are ardent about having a variety of wool clothing in their closet. Wool clothing keeps the body warm and comfortable even in the most hostile weather conditions or bitterly cold temperatures (unlike materials made of polyester that don’t absorb heat from the body). No other material can absorb moisture or keep you as warm as quality wool. Wool is also one of the most durable materials made and will last for many years. It is also ultra quiet which helps hunters get close to game.
A few years ago, on a deer hunt in Saskatchewan, I sat for eight hours each day in a deer blind in temperatures that never climbed above minus 35 degrees! I realized if I was going to get a chance at a Boone and Crockett buck, I had to stay ultra warm in order to maximize my hunting time. Luckily, I was dressed for the extreme conditions.
Each morning I put on my Merino Wool Socks, top and bottom long johns, and a Mackinaw Bib to help keep both my chest and kidneys warm. I also wore an Alaskan Guide shirt and with a heavyweight Double Mackinaw Cruiser jacket. I covered my head (the most crucial body part to keep warm) in a Double Mackinaw Cap and wore Merino Wool Gloves.
This combo of wool clothing protected me from the extreme frigid temperatures and winds that constantly blasted in from the north. On the last hour of legal daylight on the last day of the hunt, I shot a 16-point buck that green scored 207” and netted 198 6/8” Boone and Crockett. Without being able to stay warm on stand, the odds of me remaining afield to see a trophy class buck would have been slim to none! Take my word for it, dressing to kill puts meat in the freezer and trophies on the wall!