When hunting, hiking or just working the dogs I like to wear a pair of gloves. I like the protection while packing guns, pushing tree branches, climbing over rocks, using knives, grabbing dog collars or whatever else comes my way. When hunting you need gloves that allow enough dexterity that you can safely and efficiently use your firearm as well as protect your hands. Warmth is another issue. Usually I'm moving enough and the weather here in Utah is such that I don't need much insulation. I just need something to cover the skin and keep the wind out. But there are times I wish I was wearing a pair of thick winter gloves rather than a pair of thin ones. But those days are few and far between. I wear gloves for protection more than any other reason. Below are a few of my favorite gloves and what I can recommend  from my experience.

Deerskin Leather gloves (uninsulated)

These have been my all time favorite hunting gloves. I've owned several brands throughout the years and have had good and bad ones. Cabelas sells a nice deerskin leather glove or you can pick up a pair at any hardware store. CalRanch carries a good selection. My all time favorite glove of this type is from a company called North American Trading. The fit is perfect and they have a small elastic strap inside the back of the glove that stretches across the back of the hand, it helps with the fit. I got mine at Sierra Trading Post at a discount. I think I paid $12 for my last pair. This is my second pair of this brand. That's a good price for deerskin gloves. When buying leather gloves it's all about fit. Your gloves should be almost tight when your first get them.

Deerskin is tough yet it is soft and comfortable. The leather stays soft and pliable even after getting wet. Like all leather it does stretch so I usually buy gloves a full size smaller than I usually wear and they usually don't stretch out too much for a long time. I wear a large glove but in leather gloves I buy a medium. I usually get 2 seasons out of a pair before they become too stretched out to be effective as hunting gloves. When this happens I just use them as chore gloves. It's always good to have a pair of old work gloves in the truck to use for whenever the need arrises. When these gloves are new there is nothing better or more comfortable. Fresh deerskin leather is soft and buttery but beware, you will have yellow hands after the first few times you wear them. These gloves are a little warm for early season but come December and January I love my deerskin gloves. I treat them with the same Nikwax leather treatment as my boots. I don't use a lot of product on them to prevent the leather from stretching.

IronClad Box Handler Gloves

I got my first pair of these from a friend who uses them daily on his job. His employer hands these gloves out for their employees for free and he loved them so much he brought me a pair home to try. I didn't use them for a long time because I thought they were a little funky looking. I'm a traditionalist and love my deerskin gloves. Anyway, I went grouse hunting one day and forgot my leather gloves. I have developed such a habit of wearing gloves when I hunt I would of felt nearly the same as if I left my bird vest at home. To my relief I found this pair of Ironclad gloves my friend had given me in my truck door pocket. I unwrapped them and put them on. My first impression was that they looked funky but the fit was good. I liked the sweatband material on the back of the thumb. That was something I can use. The palm of the glove is covered in a plastic material in a hexagon pattern that is super tacky. After a few times out I was grabbing these gloves as much as my leather gloves and gradually I began to wear them more than anything else. I've been wearing them for the last two seasons. I love them for early season hunting and Summer hiking. They are breathable, machine washable and I've yet to wear a pair out. I know they were designed for box handling and for people in the shipping industry but as a lightweight hunting glove I've not found their equal. They even have reinforced trigger fingers. I also use these gloves for yard work, target shooting and my wife uses them for gardening. They're just nice pair of durable, lightweight gloves.They are not good for cold days but if the temperature is above 45 degrees these are perfect. I highly recommend trying them. The only knock I have on them is that unlike leather burs will stick to them. Checkout the Ironclad website, they have a ton of glove designs to choose from. I've stuck with the Box Handler because the price was soo right but I'm sure they have other styles that would work just as good or better. Online the box handlers sell for $20-$29. 

LL BEAN Technical Hunting Gloves

LL BEAN just put these gloves out on the market this past year. Since the moment I first saw them I wanted a pair. This past Christmas I finally got them. My first impression was  kind of a  "MMMEH" moment. Nothing special and I was expecting more. I put them on and the fit was good. And in my opinion they look pretty cool. I remember thinking that they weren't the most comfortable glove, they felt kind of "scratchy" on the inside. I wore them on a preserve hunt and at the end of the day they were feeling better and my opinion was raised. By the end of the third day I hunted with them I really liked them. Once these gloves were broke-in they are very comfortable. My dexterity wasn't hampered and they seem to be well made. All the materials are synthetic. The only thing about them that I'm iffy about is how wide the neoprene panel on top of the knuckles. I can see why they used that material in that spot. The neoprene flexes with your knuckles making the glove have a nice tight fit over the top of your hand. We will see how durable these gloves are next fall in the grouse woods. For Chuckars and Pheasant hunting the gloves seem perfect. I recommend them for 36+ degree days. They are not very wind resistant. Chukar hunting with a stiff cold wind blowing in my face while wearing these gloves my hands got cold. The mesh between the fingers is what seemed to be were the cold air was getting in.  Overall I would recommend these gloves but I think they could be improved on. I'm not sure I like the material between the fingers and I really need to use them for a year in the woods to see how durable they are. On colder, windy days I would stick with leather gloves. I love my ironclad gloves and I'm a hard sale but I'm sure these will last a long time and I can recommend them. Only place to get them is from LLBean. http://www.llbean.com/

Note: After using these for about half a hunting season I can strongly recommend them. They've totally grown on me. These are my go-to gloves right now.

Note 2: During the 2nd season with these gloves the index fingers on both hands have worn through. Overall I am satisfied with the gloves I only wish they were more durable. I have to say I've never worn throughout the fingertips on the ironclads. The wear on the fingertips comes mostly from climbing over rocks and ledges while chukar hunting.

Outdoor Research Silencer Gloves (Added November 2014)

I found these last spring (2014) on Sierra Trading Post for about $25. I needed another pair of lightweight hunting gloves and these looked like they would fit the bill.

These are tactical gloves made for soldiers and law enforcement. They are very well made and look like they will last a long time. They are pretty basic and don't have any hard plastic inserts or knuckle coverings like other tactical gloves. The cloth side is very tough and protects me from stickers and other pokey things I come across in the woods and fields.

I ordered a pair in large and what I got was a little too big to have the dexterity I like to have while hunting. The thumb was a little long and the fingertips were slightly loose. The fit around the palm and wrist were good. I ordered another pair in medium hoping that they would be closer to what I wanted. They came in a little tight.  Hoping that they would break in I put some beeswax on the leather and used them while I did yard work and after a couple of weeks the broke right in.

These are the gloves I've used this entire past season and I really like them. They breath well the goatskin palms and fingers are wearing very well and I have the dexterity I want.

They are a little difficult to get on but once on they are very comfortable. They clean up well. Blood doesn't seem to soak into the cloth material and washes away easily with a spot washing. They also claim to be fire resistant so they have that going for them. So far I'm very happy with them. Last week while pheasant hunting both dogs were covered in those thick spiky type of cockle burs. I probably pulled a hundred off the dogs during the hunt and was never poked by them while I had these gloves on. I can't say that for some of the other gloves I've discussed in this post. They are very well made, tough, solid gloves and I can recommend them. Prices fluctuate all over on these. These were last years models and like I said I got mine for $25 on STP but I've seen them as high as $75 on other sites so shop around.

Cabela's Thinsulate™ Deluxe Shooting Gloves

These are my current cold weather gloves. Basically they are a nice thinsulate® insulated winter-glove dressed up in camo but the difference is the trigger finger is not as insulated as the rest of the glove so you still have enough dexterity to handle a gun.
They are good warm gloves and I've worn them many times. These are not my favorite for upland hunting but on cold days below freezing I'm glad to have them. When the weather is debatable I will pack these in my bird-vest so they are available if I need them. These are great for duck hunting or any cold weather hunting situation. The new version uses Cabela's Dry Plus fabric and claim to be very water resistant yet breathable. Prices on these fluctuate.  $49 in season but you can pick them up for cheaper during the summer months in the Cabela's bargain cave. I believe I got mine for $29 a couple of years ago. I've been very satisfied with the purchase.


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