Merino Wool Is Still King: Northwoods Whitetails Hunting Kits
Here at Northwoods Whitetails we specialize in tracking mature whitetail deer through the snow in some of the most remote areas of the Northeast. The concept is simple - find a deer track that sparks your interest and follow it until you either catch up to that deer, or the sun sets - the latter occurring more often than not.
It’s a unique way of hunting and is regionally specific to the far reaches of the Northeast, where the wilderness is vast, and deer numbers are low. Instead of waiting for a deer to come to us, we go out and find them.
Hunting the Northeast
It’s not uncommon to log 15-20 miles while following a buck track in Northern Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, or the Adirondacks — and because this technique requires snow, we are always venturing into the woods on cold snowy days. These are the days we live for.
Unlike most forms of hunting, we are often miles away from the truck or any proper form of shelter and heat. These factors create an intense demand from the gear we take into the field. Not only does our gear need to keep us warm and dry, but it also must perform day after day on these long treks in the woods.
Not to state it too drastically, but the apparel we hunt with can very quickly become the difference between life and death when things go wrong miles away from shelter.
Our Hunting Kits
Below is an example of the kits that the Northwoods Team uses, every piece of apparel has years of testing and thought behind why it is used.
On Our Body:
- Merino Wool long johns (upper and lower body)
- Johnson Woolen Mills pants and jackets
- Merino Wool hat
- Darn Tough Merino Wool Socks
- Lacrosse 18” rubber boots
- ¾ length wool gloves
In Our Packs:
- Emergency blanket
- Bic Lighter
- Waterproof matches
- Lightweight down jacket
- Pocket knife
- 10’-15’ of parachute cord
We're All About Merino Wool
From the above, it’s very easy to see a general theme, WOOL.
Even with all the advances in modern fabrics, Merino Wool clothing is still the king — nothing comes close to providing the same performance and protection. You aren’t going to hike 15 miles up and down mountains in fresh snow without getting wet, and nothing breathes better while maintaining its insulating properties even when wet better than wool.
In addition to wool being the primary fabric in the products we choose, there are several other considerations that go into our selection — performance and weight.
Our apparel needs to be lightweight so we can cover these distances and it needs to perform. Having a sock blown out or a seam rip on your pants can not only ruin your hunt, but it can also put your life in jeopardy with instant exposure to the elements.
Wool Where It Counts: Your Feet
Given the distance and terrain we cover, our feet are one of our biggest considerations - we must keep them warm and injury free if we want to be back in the woods the following day. If things do go sideways, our two feet are the only thing that is going to deliver us to safety.
Darn Tough socks exceed these expectations, and the Merino Wool quality is world class. Even when they are wet, they provide sufficient insulation against the elements.
Having had several moderate cases of frostbite on my toes from ski racing as a child, my feet have poor circulation and get cold quickly, but Darn Tough socks are the only socks that always provide total peace of mind and keep my feet warm and cozy.
Additionally, after years of use, they maintain their elasticity. This is probably overlooked by most folks, but a sock that doesn’t fit properly and is stretched from years of use is a sure way to develop blisters. A sore and blistered foot is last thing you want when you are miles from the truck and darkness is settling in for the night.
We can count on years of service from each pair of our Darn tough socks without a worry. Our socks have held up so well we have never had to utilize Darn Tough’s Lifetime Warranty, but know that if they do ever fail, Darn Tough will happily replace them; we can’t say that about any other apparel we take into the field.
After trying about everything on the market, we can confidently say there are imitators but no competitors in the Merino Wool sock market. Thank you, Darn Tough, for making such an incredible product.
About the Author
Northwoods Whitetails is a group of three native Vermonters who are passionate about conservation and whitetail deer hunting. They specialize in tracking whitetails in the snow and focus primarily on hunting public land in the Northeast. Their mission is to shift the focus away from the trophy and back to the pursuit while trying to bring the next generation into a sport that has been steadily losing participants over the last few decades. To see more, check out Northwood Whitetails' latest video — November, a Month in Pursuit.