I have found it problematic to shoot a bow while wearing a hood.
What has been your experiences with hoods for archery?
During the driest breeziest coldest times of year, I prefer wearing a coat with a hood for maximum comfort. Where I live, we sometimes have daily high temperatures in the teens. We seldom, but occasionally, have subzero temperatures for a daily high temperature. Though, typically our yearly coldest weather consists of a month or two with daily highs in the 30s. During this time, I would also like to wear a coat with a hood for outdoor archery practice and for bowhunting. I have previously not been able to successfully do so.
I find this inability to use a hood while shooting a bow and arrow to be particularly perplexing because it seems to me that a hooded medieval archer is often the stereotypical signature image of an archer in books, comic books, TV shows, movies, etc. It has also not gone unnoticed by me that some popular wool garments sold by Fred Asbel have neat looking hoods.
I might have a rather unique obstacle not faced by others. I am partially blind in my dominant right eye, plus I just simply cannot see well out of this eye in general. I continue to shoot right-handed. The hood blocks my remaining “good eye”, so to speak, after my head rotates sideways within the hood towards my left shoulder. Just the same, I do not believe that I could tolerate having 50% of my vision obstructed even should I not have my condition.
Long ago I considered that wearing a ball cap under the hood could possibly offer a solution. I perhaps did not explore this possibility sufficiently because I have never liked ball caps. I prefer boonie hats, bucket hats, and Fedoras. The ball cap forces the hood to turn with the ball cap while I aim at the target. This still would not explain all the trademark images of hooded archers. They are not depicted as wearing ball caps. I have previously found that the length of the bill or brim of the ball cap would interfere with the bow string.
I received a free ball cap as a perk for renewing my NRA membership. I have received many NRA ball caps over the years. They were standard looking ball caps. However, this otherwise particularly well-made ball cap immediately looked out of place and starkly strange. This ball cap had a very narrow short bill. The shortness of the bill was sort of reminiscent of a civil war soldier’s cap, except the bill on a civil war soldier’s cap was much wider. I immediately took it to the range on a warm day. I found that the bill length did not interfere with the bow string. The low last night was 22 with an expected high near 30. I was going to try that ball cap inside a winter hood today at the range, but my plans were cancelled. So, I am writing this instead LOL.
The only time I appreciate a hood while hunting is for the added protection from the weather to make it comfortably through a quick downpour or mild rain. Other than that, the loss of peripheral vision is the reason why I won't wear one. The only way I found to make one functional while shooting is to wear a short brimmed beanie so the hood moves with my head. I usually just wear a beanie and a neck gaiter to cover my face, so the hood doesn't work with that combo. Hoods can be nice, but I never utilize one constantly.
I find that most hoods will not turn with your head and so they obscure your vision. I put on a sweatshirt hoodie that has a draw string and found out that it will turn with your head.
Years back we had a farmer supply us with as many crop degradation tags as we wanted. Late season, I was stir crazy, had a doe tag, 10 below zero. A nice doe with no fawns in tow came by. I was shooting a left hand 60@26 hinge Robertson take down, I turned to make the shot. My hood completely covered my right eye. I shot using strict secondary image aiming protocols, I even held the bow back for at least 3/4s of a second. The doe went down in plane sight about 60 yards away, across the little river. Maybe I should always shoot that way, but I will never forget needing to go across the still flowing Mill Creek to get that doe. I would have given a new 20 dollar bill to have legs about two inches longer. You hear how wool is warmer when it is wet, that is about the biggest bunch of bull crap that i have ever heard.
I didn't read every post, so if a balaclava, or stretch head band and/or a fleece neck gaiter were mentioned I didn't see it. All three work in subfreezing weather, or wind; the balaclava and stretch head band shouldn't interfere with sight, or hearing. The gaiter is stretch and pull-on. Just carry it in a pocket. Sportings goods with snow skiing apparel is a place to look.
I use a ghillie suit with a ghillie hat. This hat drapes down like a bad mullet and its purpose is to make head and shoulders blend, keeping a human form from being obvious. I am so used to it that a well fitting hood is no big deal. Well fitted being the word. I love my Asbell wool, but the hood on it is huge and can, literally cover my entire head. Keeps me warm when I need it, keeps me hidden when I nap. But, that sounds like another project.... figure out what a hood has to look like for it to work on an archer.
I'm not a hood fan for hunting but I don't see why wearing a hooded sweatshirt under your outer jacket and simply pulling it up when you're cold, pulling it down as you warm up wouldn't work pretty well. As for seriously cold weather where face/nose protection is needed a sock hat 'mask' with eye holes is hard to beat and helps hide the face (important for most of us, lol). Just be sure the eye holes don't interfere with your vision when shooting...practicing with the mask on can address that.
I like scarves. I included them as "etc." above in my previous posts. I probably should have highlighted scarves more. Scarves are very effective plus versatile for all but the coldest days. I have three scarves that I regularly use for cold weather hunting. I combine scarves with my boonie hats, bucket hats, Trilby hats, and Fedora hats for cold weather hunting.
To be honest I haven’t tried a hooded anything for hunting or shooting. I wear a hat and a long scarf my wife made me. The hat keeps my head warm and the scarf protects my neck. it’s about 12” wide so I can cover my ears and face if necessary. At one time I considered one of the pull overs with the big hood that Fred Asbell offers. Also one of those pull overs with hood that Ron LaClaire offers.
This thread is a small sample size, but it appears that few archers even care about the possibly of overcoming the drawbacks of a hood. The majority just are not interested in hoods.
I do not want to put myself in the position of championing hoods. I only think that I might like to use a hood for a couple of hunts per season. Even then, I could easily be wrong. I might solve my “hood-issues” only to discover that the hood was not the benefit for which I had hoped. The vast majority of hunts, I do not want to use a hood.
I would like to describe my motivation in the case that others have had the same experiences. Since I do not use a hood for hunting, my actual experiences with a hood are from other outdoor activities. My experience with the other gear comes from sitting still for a number of hours in a treestand or on the ground.
Stocking caps, facemasks, winter hats, etc. are excellent for all but the bitterest bitingly cold days. This definition probably depends on the climate to which one is acclimated. For me this means brisk dry Northern winds, a solidly frozen environment from a cold spell, plus daily high temperatures less than 35 degrees Fahrenheit (i.e., near freezing, freezing, or below freezing). I find that given enough time with almost no movement (i.e., physical activity) that my ears, nose, and eventually even my face become painfully cold. It seems that no covering can maintain the necessary warmth just from the heat generated from the head, face, ears, and nose. Eventually the cold wind overwhelms and depletes any generated warmth.
On these same days a good winter coat hood that has a wind proof exterior, insulation, and a good lining will capture and hold a bubble of heat continually rising up from one’s core. The body’s metabolism keeps the core warm even after the body has restricted blood flow to the extremities. As long as my head is inside this hood, it is similar to looking out an open door while standing inside a cozily warm house. I can be outdoors for many more hours without my ears, nose, and face becoming painfully cold. My ears, nose tip, and to a lesser extent my face are the problems for me. Unlike my late father, I have never yet experienced any problems with cold feet. Increasing age worsens my cold ears and cold nose tip problems each year.
Luckily, in Georgia we don't have the kind of cold you have, but I am still pretty sensitive to it. I have a bomber cap with fur that works weel, but often the temperature does not require this much warmth. Generally, I do well with a fleece pull over hood (not the kind attached to a jacket) with a neck gaiter. I also have a knitted pull over head covering, like a watch cap, that also comes down over my face, and it works nicely. Hoods attached to the jacket obstruct my vision, so I won't use them.
I won’t buy any piece of hunting clothing with a hood. Hoods just don’t work for me!
I’m not a hood fan. Even the Asbell hood doesn’t really work for me its just unneeded extra weight on a light weight mild temperature jacket. I wear a ball cap in warm weather with a First Lite brimmed merino Beanie I can pull out if needed. I also add a First Lite mid weight merino neck gaiter for extra ear and neck protection. When it gets really cold I wear a King of the Mountain bomber hat or Sitka bomber hat. The Sitka hat is wind proof and lighter in the pack with as much warmth as the King of the Mountain. That’s what I use for my head protection that gets me from elk to turkeys and everything in between. The only time I use a hood is when needed with rain gear to keep my mid and base layers dry.
I find I often shoot my best when the hood is completely over my face / eyes.
I, too, would like to wear hoods while hunting, but most don't work for me, partiularly the big floppy ones. I don't have any problems shooting with the hood up, but they tend to obstruct my periheral vision, which I find very annoying. Turn my head, and my vision is mostly blocked by the hood. I've taken to sewing the sides of my hoods back a little so they don't obstruct vision to the side. That works pretty well, but they still tend to work the stocking cap underneath loose as I continually (but slowly) rotate my head from side to side, which I also find annoying. Long story short, I don't put my hood up unless the wind is really howling.
I've always worn a fedora since the 60's. Baseball caps are useless in the rain and snow. Hoodies are just not my style. I wear presciption glasses and sunglasses and the hoodie would block my vision and limit my hearing.
Good luck BTW... Mr Asbel wears a hat...😄