Tips & Tactics

Yoga Mats — for Deer Hunters?

Yoga Mats — for Deer Hunters?

By Phillip Larsen

Photo: Phillip Larsen shares useful tips on hunters using yoga mats. Here, Phillip poses with a dandy 11-pointer he arrowed in western Maryland last season.

One very common and inexpensive item that has several uses for deer hunters is a yoga mat.

If you don’t have an old one lying around the garage, you can find yoga mats at most any retail store. A good, cushiony mat costs less than $20, and each one yields three useful pieces.

Mine is an old mat, which I cut into three equal-sized portions. Each piece has its own job.

The primary function of mat number one is to keep my feet warm. Place one square on the floor of your treestand and it will help insulate your feet from cold metal. The foam also reduces noise your feet make.

I keep mat number two rolled up in my hunting pack. If I am hunting on the ground, I can slip the string or rubber bands off, unroll it and place the mat at the base of a tree. It keeps my fanny warm, comfortable and dry. If I need to go through my pack while hiking or walking to or from the stand, I also use this one to kneel on.

The third mat is the one I store inside my vehicle.

If I have to change shoes or clothing at my hunting land, I take this mat out and place it on the ground. Now I can stand on it in my stocking feet and change clothes. It keeps my feet clean and the chill at bay.

— Editor's Note by Tim H. Martin

A cold hunter is an uncomfortable hunter. An uncomfortable hunter is going make unnecessary movement.

Phillip Larsen’s yoga mat tip reminds me of an old guide’s trick for keeping feet warm in frigid places like Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Alberta.

Retired Buckmasters Editor Russell Thornberry guided in Canada for many years. He taught me that the frozen metal in the bottom of a treestand will pull body heat right through hunting boots, even if the boots are high quality and well insulated.

Russ taught me to bring some sort of insulation to stand on, such as old carpeting. This added one more layer of separation between feet and metal, and it really works!

I began lining my treestand bottoms with old carpet squares and never had an issue with cold feet, even on brutally cold days.

Carpeting is effective, but I like Phillip Larsen’s idea even better. Yoga mats are lighter, more portable and have multiple uses.

— Photo Courtesy of Phillip Larsen

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