By Eric Christensen
It’s November in the mid-west – time to hike out into the forest to your tree stand just before daylight, climb 20 feet in the air to your stand and then sit for hours in freezing temperatures. However, when the whitetails are rutting, I can’t think of a better place to test your hunting dexterity. Being from the Rockies and growing up hunting mule deer, I was totally surprised to see the difference in deer species activity. It seemed like about every 20 minutes, a new deer or a group of deer would stroll past my location. Successfully harvesting a mature whitetail buck most often requires long hours on a small metal platform in frigid weather rather than the customary spot and stock that I am used to out west.
It’s no wonder Sitka Gear developed a Whitetail Series of clothing to master the elements that come along with fall stand hunting. Sitka Whitetail Gear encompasses seasons that are mild to severe, including sub-zero weather. Elevated II is a newer version of their Optifade pattern that helps conceal you with a fall canopy design, as the leaves fall and there is more sky for animals to pick out movement.
The Fanatic line-up is designed for mid-weather. In fact, the Fanatic Lite Jacket is one of my new favorite jackets for fall bow hunting. It features a diagonal full length zipper, which matches my bow string angle when I’m at full draw. This will prevent your clothing or stored gear in your pockets from interfering with the release of the bow string. It really compliments firing arrows down range while wearing a fall jacket. The bottom portion of the jacket has hand muffs to keep your digits warm while waiting for a shooter buck to appear. It also features a small item pocket on the outside of the muff to keep calls or a cell phone. Sitka added a chest pouch opposite of where you would draw your bow to accommodate a range finder for quick access. It also has a pass-through harness port to keep you safe and comfortable.
The newest members to the Whitetail Family are the Fanatic Jacket and Bib. Adding GORE WINDSTOPPER and body mapping Primaloft to the Berber fleece makes these pieces quieter, warmer and more advanced. The Fanatic Jacket has the same features as the Fanatic Lite. A cross body full zip, hand muff, magnetic rangefinder pouch enclosure, call pouch, harness port and a chest zip pocket. The Berber fleece and Silver insulation keep the warm air and body heat surrounding your torso and the GORE
WINDSTOPPER with Primaloft keeps the cold air at bay. The Fanatic Bib fits easily over your regular layered Sitka clothing. Side zippers run from your hip to your boot for ease of operation. Each leg has a cargo snap pocket and zip pockets to store your smaller gear. Rubber boots fit comfortably over the low bulk hems and Sitka kept the traditional archer in mind with a small dedicated ankle pocket for your traditional bow to rest hands free.
Most of our body heat escapes from our head and Sitka has also delivered a Fanatic Beanie to fight heat loss with comfort. The beanie has the same property as the jacket and bib with GORE WINDSTOPPER and Primaloft. When adding a next to skin layer with stratus pants and jacket, the combination keeps you toasty warm and you can focus more on hunting rather than trying to keep from freezing.
Sitka took GORE WINDSTOPPER membrane and sandwiched it with wet printed Micro-Fleece and a Micro grid fleece backer to create their quietest jacket available and of course, its still 100% windproof. This combination is perfect for a mid-season hunt or combined it with under laying to take you well into November. The hood is completely removable if desired and the back of the jacket is equipped with a pass-through harness port. The technology of this jacket really makes it a versatile garment for many seasons through late fall.
Stratus Pants have the same technology as the Jacket. The outer fleece shell is extremely quiet when brushing through dried, leafless branches that the winter hunting month’s offer. Three cargo pockets and two small zip pockets give plenty of storage space for small items. The adjustable belt make for a very comfortable fit.
I was blown away at how well the technology of Sitka’s Whitetail Gear proved to be. Being cold while hunting is a recipe for failure. Keeping warm and comfortable while having the ability to block a cold breeze will definitely give you the opportunity to become more successful on those late fall hunts – good job Sitka Gear!