I felt like I was swimming in ice. The cold bit into every part of me, covered or not, cutting through every layer of clothing. It was so cold, the moisture in my breath frosted under my balaclava seconds after it left my throat.
It was late November and I was sitting in an oak tree holding a rifle. I didn’t know if I’d be able to actually pull the trigger if I saw a deer. I couldn’t feel my trigger finger.
I knew there had to be a better way to hunt these icy days. I knew that if I could learn to love the cold, I could hunt long after all the other hunters had packed it in for the season. I’d be tagging bucks while they were wrapped up in blankets trying to warm their fingers and toes.
Fast forward one month
I was hunting in December, even though I’d never killed a deer in December before. I was looking over an expanse of woodland that was clear cut the year before. At a little past 9AM, three does walked out to my left.
When the biggest doe of the bunch bent over to bite a green briar, I turned my rifle on her. I found her in my scope, flicked off the safety with my ungloved hand, and pressed the trigger.
What had changed from November to December?
I was freezing my ass off in November. In December, I was wearing two layers and no gloves. In one month, I had conditioned my body. The cold went from being incapacitating to invigorating.
How did I do it?
I took cold showers.
Cold showers have been covered by damn near every self improvement site. Not once have I seen a hunter talk about taking cold showers.
Are there health benefits to cold showers?
Hell if I know. Hell if I care. I’m a hunter, not a doctor.
Are there hunting benefits to cold showers?
Cold showers make you a better hunter. There’s no could, no should, no would.
Cold showers make you a better hunter by:
Conditioning your body to the cold, allowing you to hunt longer than other hunters
Build discipline, which allows you to force yourself to be motionless for hours
Invigorate you, eliminating the common problem of falling asleep in your tree stand
Teach you to act while cold, so you’re watching for movement instead of thinking “I’m freezing!”
Cold Showers Condition Your Body to the Cold
Almost every hunter I know will easily hunt from dawn til dusk during the early season. All they have to do is bring some food and water. It takes zero effort to sit on your ass in the comfort and beauty of the forest in autumn.
Then winter sets in and slaps you in the face.
The all-day hunter now becomes a three hour hunter. They’ll be in the stand thirty minutes before dawn and out of the woods long before noon.
Taking cold showers every day increases your resistance to the cold, allowing you to hunt all day when the average hunter has called it quits. Bonus: when they get out of the tree, they might push a buck your way.
Cold Showers Build Discipline
A large part of hunting is remaining motionless. If you’re fidgeting and shivering and chattering in your stand, a deer is going to see you and you’ll never get a shot off.
You have to force yourself to remain motionless. You do this with discipline. You build discipline by taking cold showers.
Your body says, “I’m freezing!“. You say, “You move when I tell you to move.” Don’t say it out loud, though, or you’ll spook the deer.
Cold Showers Invigorate You
How many times have you gone to bed late and forced yourself to wake up and hunt, only to fall asleep in the stand? It’s a common problem.
That morning sun rises and you feel the warmth wash over you, next thing you know it’s four hours later. Every deer in the woods came by to look at the thing snoring on the side of a tree.
Cold showers eliminate this by jolting you awake with icy water first thing in the morning.
You were nice and toasty warm in your bed before. Now you’re frantically scrubbing so you can get out of the shower as soon as possible. You couldn’t go back to sleep if you tried.
Cold Showers Teach You To Act While Cold
When you’re hunting late season, all you can think is “I’m freezing!” You’re not looking for deer, so you’re not really hunting. You’re just sitting in the woods and thinking about how you feel.
Taking cold showers will teach you to take action instead of just thinking about being cold.
Unless you’re a filthy person, you don’t just stand under the water when you shower. You’re scrubbing your body clean. You scrub your body clean frantically, so you can get the shower done faster.
Instead of thinking “I’m freezing!“, you’re thinking about what you should be doing. You’re on task. You’re focused on what you should be doing instead of how you feel.
How to Take Cold Showers
Turn on cold water
You might need to condition yourself to cold showers before you start taking them. If you do, start off in a hot shower then gradually turn the water colder. Play with the temperature until the water is cold.
Do this for a week, starting your shower a little colder each time. By the start of week two, you can start out in a cold shower. Do this for a month, and you’ll have conditioned yourself to the cold.