Editor’s Note: Christopher Perkins from Athens, Ontario, Canada, has been shooting for PSE for the last 2 years. In 4 weeks of 2012, this 20 year old earned $18,000 in two professional archery tournaments – not bad for a summer job. But, Perkins never really set out to be a tournament archer winning championships and money and gaining sponsors. Like many tournament pros, Perkins just wanted to shoot better, so he could become a more proficient bowhunter. However, Perkin’s love of bowhunting and the desire to become a better bowhunter lead him to participate in archery competitions and world championships. He discovered like many of us have that the marriage between target archery and bowhunting produces a much better target archer and bowhunter than just choosing one of these two archery sports.
Question: Christopher, what are the differences in shooting target archery and bowhunting as to the clothes you wear when in many target archery contests, you wear shorts and a tee shirt, but when you’re hunting at -27 degrees F at the end of a rut in Canada, and you have to sit in the cold for 6 hours to take a buck and must dress differently?
Since I live in Canada, I’m more accustomed to this type of weather than someone from Alabama maybe. The real secret to being able to shoot well in cold weather is to dress in layers and practice shooting the bow with all the clothes on that you’ll need to wear to hunt in cold weather. Or, that’s how I do it here in Canada. Another secret is not to bulk up too much. We have such good quality new high tech clothing that you really don’t have to get bulked up to stay warm and shoot accurately in extremely cold weather. I think your base layer (underwear) is the most important part of your cold weather clothing. I start off with tight layers of Under Armour underwear that fits very tight to my skin. That small zone between your skin and your clothing is where moisture first builds up. Moisture on your skin is a major factor in being cold. One misconception that some hunters have about constrictive type of underwear is that it can inhibit the shot. However, this Under Armour is the same type of underwear that many professional football players wear when they’re playing in extremely cold weather. And, they have to be far more mobile than a bowhunter does. So, I wear that type of base layer to keep moisture away from my skin and keep me warmer. Then I wear a little heavier layer on top of that to add an insulating layer that also helps to keep me warm. On top of that, I put my outer layer, which is usually windproof and waterproof bib coveralls and a heavier jacket.
Question: One of the big advantages that we have now that archers haven’t had in the past is that much of the hunting clothing we’re wearing today is being designed and engineered with more wicking and insulation properties, wind blocking and waterproofing than ever before. The hunting garment industry has become very aware of creating layering systems that are lightweight, very flexible and extremely warm. One of the big advantages that the bowhunter of today has is that much of today’s outdoor clothing is being designed for and created by garment makers who are bowhunters. Therefore, in today’s marketplace if you do a little bit of research and study, you can find lighter weight clothing that’s extremely warm that makes bowhunting in extreme temperatures much better and easier without having to put on clothes that are too bulky.
I don’t want to layer up with so much clothing that I can’t get off an accurate shot. One of the garments that I wear that I’ve found is extremely useful in cold weather is a bowhunter’s vest is made by Primos that allows me to keep everything packed in and tight on my chest and helps to keep my clothing away from my bowstring.