After returning home from a teal hunting trip in Texas with Academy Sports + Outdoors, I decided I wanted to learn how to hunt waterfowl at home. Living in western Colorado, duck hunting is a bit different here than in southern Texas. While some aspects of duck hunting remain the same no matter where you hunt, some vary drastically. When hunting waterfowl in Colorado, one still needs calls, decoys, camo, and a shotgun to get the job done. However, Texas temperatures aren't reciprocated on the western slope. I have to stay warm when it's below freezing to hunt ducks in my home state. Thankfully, SITKA had me covered.
I'm a hunting guide with Uncharted Outdoorswomen, the only women-run outfitter in Colorado. The founder, Erin Crider, is an avid waterfowler and was thrilled by my newfound passion for duck hunting. She generously gifted me some mallard decoys, a teal call, and valuable hunting knowledge so I could try to be successful hunting at home. She also sold me her beloved SITKA Gear Women's Hudson Jacket. After picking up a pair of insulated waders, I was ready to hit the reservoir.
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SITKA Hudson Jacket: Made for Waterfowl Hunting
After waterfowl hunting in Texas, I learned a little bit about what gear you want at the ready while sitting in the blind. Extra boxes of ammo, calls ready to be used at a moment's notice, your phone to snap pictures and videos, and even a snack are a few items I realized I don't want to dig out of the bottom of my pack every time I need them. Having shells and calls at arm's reach is incredibly handy when blowing through ammo, and when flocks are hesitant to decoy.
SITKA's Hudson Jacket became my pack when I started hunting at home. The bellowed lower pockets are built to hold ammo boxes. I can have 40+ shotgun shells on my person without rummaging them out of my pack. The upper chest has a spot to attach a call strap, and a zippered pocket is next to it to stash your calls in when you're not using them. Hunters can hold up to eight calls this way. For me, this covers every species I call to. More pockets are built into this jacket to stick your phone, a snack, and your hands when they get chilly. The functionality of the Hudson is remarkable.
Although this jacket is just a shell, the Hudson does a fantastic job of keeping me warm and dry. I'm 5' 4" with an athletic build, and the Extra Small size fits me like a glove. The strategically-placed PrimaLoft insulation is right where it needs to be. Thanks to the three-layer GORE-TEX stretch technology, I can comfortably stack up a few wool layers underneath the Hudson without losing shooting mobility in my arms and shoulders. Paired with my insulated Gator Waders, I'm sealed up from head to toe and protected from the water, wind, snow, and cold temps.
My favorite part of the entire piece is the gasket cuffs. They protect me against the cold water when setting and removing my decoys. Having dry sleeves when it's 15 degrees outside isn't just nice; it keeps my extremities safe from the elements, too.
SITKA's GORE OPTIFADE Concealment Waterfowl Marsh Camo
The Hudson's Waterfowl Marsh camo pattern is highly effective, too. The best early-season spots to hunt around my home are reservoir inlets. As a result of Colorado's recent low water levels, these spots are incredibly mucky and don't have any vegetation close to the water line. I just sit out in the open in the mud when hunting these spots, and if I don't look like a weird rock or a tumbleweed that blew into the mud, the ducks see me immediately. When I wear this jacket, I can sit out in the open and have ducks decoy even without a blind. I blend in that well.
SITKA's Hudson Jacket is my new cold-weather waterfowl hunting staple. While the rest of my waterfowl hunting gear is relatively modest, it was important to me to splurge on high-quality layers that keep me warm and dry during Colorado winters. Once mid-January rolls around, I can expect temperatures to range from -20 to the teens at 5:00 a.m. Water close to my home freezes long before then, so I drive at least an hour away to access late-season duck spots. If I get too wet, fall into the water, or my layers aren't keeping me warm, my life can be in danger if I need to drive an hour and twenty minutes back to the hospital.
Being prepared when it comes to outdoor adventures in the winter is something I take seriously. The quality, functionality, and warmth of SITKA's Hudson Jacket are truly impressive and worth every penny.
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