Hypothermia: The #1 Killer Of Outdoor Recreationists


Reprinted From The USDA Forest Service as a public service

Hunting Safety And Hypothermia

Our national forests are a refuge for wild animals, including dangerous animals like bears and venomous snakes. Wild animals can be upset by human presence and can unexpectedly become aggressive. Do not give them a reason or an opportunity to attack. Always keep your distance. Your safety is your responsibility.

  • Tell someone where you will be hunting.
  • Avoid outings alone. If you go alone, be extra careful and hunt in familiar areas.
  • Dress properly and be prepared for the worst possible conditions. Protect against hypothermia.

Hypothermia is the number one killer of outdoor recreationists. It occurs when the body temperature is lowered and unable to produce heat. Most everyone has experienced mild hypothermia, however, if the process is not stopped, death can occur.

Hypothermia can develop in temperatures as high as the 60’s or 70’s. It is caused by cool to cold temperatures, wind, lack of sunshine, and most importantly, wet or damp clothing.

Signs include shivering, slow or slurred speech, fumbling or immobile fingers, stumbling, sleepiness and exhaustion.

Take the following precautions to avoid hypothermia:

  • Check weather reports before visiting the forest.
  • Utilize layering techniques to wick away moisture while retaining body warmth. Always bring rain gear. Carry a spare set of dry clothing.
  • Drink water and nibble on snacks frequently.
  • Should you or your partner begin to develop hypothermia, replace all wet clothing with dry. Put on a hat and a warm coat. Wrap up in a blanket or sleeping bag. Get into a warm, dry environment. Do not sleep until all signs of hypothermia are gone. Do not give anything containing caffeine or alcohol.

To avoid hypothermia, be aware and take the necessary precautions. If there are early signs of hypothermia, take steps immediately to rest and get warm.

  • Check the weather forecast before going into the woods.
  • Identify your target before shooting.
  • Check hunting equipment before and after each outing, and maintain it properly. Familiarize yourself with its operation before using it in the field.
  • Always wear enough blaze orange to be highly visible to other hunters.
  • Learn about hunting within the Osceola National Forest by visiting the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at http://myfwc.com/hunting/.http://myfwc.com/hunting/

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