Outdoorsmen must be careful in heat

Aug. 7, 2010 at 3:07 a.m.

The shotgun-start of hunting season begins in less than a month. Begin a training regimen for you and your retriever.

The shotgun-start of hunting season begins in less than a month. Begin a training regimen for you and your retriever.

By Bink Grimes

About this time every year I get the same feeling - light-headed, nauseated, groggy, heavy-legged and just plain worn out. The effects of a Texas summer are taxing to an outdoorsman. Precautions should be taken.

Tuesday, with little or no breeze, I fished a charter until noon, came home, unloaded a flatbed trailer full of palm trees, took an hour break, then planted nine of those trees with the help of a backhoe until about 6:30 p.m.

Though I don't imagine I would have the strength to write this column had I had to dig the holes with a shovel, I still had spent the better of 12 hours in a feels-like temperature of 110 degrees. Over a gallon of fluids later, I fell asleep and woke up at 6 a.m., Wednesday. Nothing abnormal about that, except for the fact I didn't have to urinate after eight hours of shuteye. I had come very close to enduring another bout of heat exhaustion.

My first encounter with a heat-related illness was Sept. 4, 1989 on the practice field of Barbers Hill High School. I will never forget that day because it was my birthday and I had a host of friends waiting for me at home.

It wasn't that I was out of shape - I had run a six-minute mile the week before. However, intensity on the field combined with intense heat, put me in a bind. Extreme vomiting and a cold locker room-shower later, I was in a daze. I still can't remember how I drove home that afternoon.

For hunters, it is imminent you take precautions, not only for yourself, but your dog. Dove season opens Sept. 1 in the Central Zone and Sept. 17 in the South Zone. Chances are temperatures then will feel like they do now.

If you hunt more than you fish, begin an exercise program now. Again, 6 a.m. is a great time for you and your dog to take a walk or jog. If work doesn't allow for a morning jaunt, go late. It is still scorching at 6 p.m., so wait until closer to 8 p.m. I know, it feels like 95 in most of Texas at 8 p.m., but at least the sun isn't beating your brow.

Drink lots of fluids and make water readily available to your dog as well. Most retrievers are black or brown, and we all know how much heat is soaked in by dark colors. How many black or brown shirts do you where in the summer?

Start slow - don't try to run a six-minute mile the first day. Build you and your dog's tolerance to the heat. If you decide to brave the heat for the first time during dove season, you and your dog will have problems.

NFL training camps have begun, and players, with the exception of Albert Haynesworth, have trained months leading up to the beginning of camp so they don't have a heat-related injury setback. The same should apply to the hunter.

Anglers, my advice is to fish early. Get on the water before the sun comes up. If you begin fishing at 6 a.m., you can get five solid, safe hours of fishing before temperatures begin to swelter.

Set an earlier alarm clock, temperatures are much cooler and the sunrises are worth it.

Bink Grimes is a freelance writer, photographer, author and licensed captain (www.binkgrimesoutdoors.com).



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