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An online space for outdoorsmen from CNY and beyond. Tell us about the one you caught or the one that got away.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Staying warm in cold weather

Even though we are used to cold and nasty weather in winter, it seems that this year it was more difficult to enjoy outdoor activities due to unpleasant conditions. One of the factors in addition to sub zero temperatures was the wind chill factor.
One of the considerations when the temperature gets this cold is always the danger of frostbite. Exposed flesh can suffer frostbite, or at least frostnip, when the temperature drops this low. Even other extremities such as hands and feet are in danger because the body constricts it circulation when it gets this cold, so make sure they are warm as well as covered.
The key is dressing in layers and choosing the right clothing. Staying warm starts with a proper base layer of synthetic underwear. Unlike the polypropylene of previous years which could not be washed normally and retained odor, today’s synthetics can be washed as long as you do not toss them in the dryer.
Many like the Under Armor line come in different weights for different activities and temperature extremes. This should fit snugly to provide warmth, yet it wicks away moisture and keeps you dry and warm no matter what your activity is. There are other brands that are also effective but I personally find that Under Armor is the warmest most comfortable.
Adding a sweater of flannel, wool or synthetic fleece keeps in the body heat. Choose the proper outerwear of wool or synthetic coat and pants to keep you warm, depending on your activity.
Choosing the right clothing is a matter of preference for fit and determining the activity that you are planning on doing. Obviously, a sport like cross country skiing where you are active and burning up calories does not require as much protection as a sport where you are inactive and subject to wind chill like ice fishing or snowmobiling.
Today there are a lot of synthetics that can provide warmth without adding bulk or weight. The old standby wool is still effective warm clothing, and is preferred by many people for certain activities like hunting. The difference now is that we have synthetic underwear and vests underneath, so the outer layer of wool pants or jacket isn’t as heavy or burdensome as it once was. Wool has the added advantage of being able to keep you warm even if it gets wet (although that is not a desirable outcome in winter weather!).
Of course we know that staying warm in winter involves more than just choosing the proper clothing. We should “stoke the body furnace” before venturing outside in cold weather. Eat a hearty meal of pasta or bread or similar carbohydrates that are easily digested. These will help keep your body warm.
Coffee isn’t really goof for winter warm ups, although it may feel good going down. Caffeine constricts the blood vessels making it more difficult for your body to keep the circulation going. It also is a diuretic, which may leave you thirsty and slightly dehydrated also having a negative effect on circulation. Instead try some hot cider or beef broth and leave the other “remedies” until you are back from the outing.
You should drink lots of water, since dehydration and lower blood volume will impair your body’s ability to circulate blood and heat. This is especially true for people who are involved in active sports like cross country skiing or those who are subject to intense wind chill factor like ice fishermen.
Proper headgear, gloves or mittens and insulated boots are essential. Footgear is vital since it not only keeps you comfortable, but prevents serious problems like frostbite. Wearing too many socks can be dangerous because that can restrict the circulation and cause heat loss. Adding hand warmers or toe warmers can help, especially in situations where you are not as active.
A little common sense and modern technology will go a long way in keeping you warm this winter. Proper preparation and a little cooperation from the weather will enable you to enjoy the last month of winter sports.
Mentor Program Annual Youth Turkey Hunt and Womens Turkey Hunt: The Oneida County Sportsmen’s Federation and NWTF are teaming up with the assistance of other groups to give youngsters a great experience during the Youth Turkey Hunting Weekend, April 26 and 27, 2014. Youngsters eligible for the youth hunt and who do not have the opportunity to learn from a family member or an adult mentor will have the opportunity to go turkey hunting with a mentor.
During the weekend of April 12, 2014, prior to the weekend of the hunt, youngsters will learn from experienced mentors the basics of turkey hunting and practice their marksmanship at a shooting range under the supervision of certified instructors.
Eligible hunters are youth 12 to 15 years of age, holding a junior hunting license and a turkey permit. Youth 12 to 13 years of age must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or relative over 21 years of age, with written permission from their parent or legal guardian. Youth 14 to 15 years of age must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or an adult over 18 years of age, with written permission from their parent or legal guardian.
The bag limit for the youth weekend is one bearded bird. This bird becomes part of the youth’s regular season bag limit of two bearded birds. A
second bird may be taken beginning May 1.
Youngsters who are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity will need to have completed their hunter safety course and have the permission of a parent or guardian. Youngsters must complete the application and submit it to the address below or by email by April 1, 2014
Women will also have the opportunity to learn to hunt with an experienced mentor. This year’s date will be May 17, 2014 with a rain date of May 18, 2014.
Some women may want to learn or participate in turkey hunting but do not have family members or someone who are experienced turkey hunters to learn from. The Oneida County Sportsmen’s Federation mentors will provide this opportunity. During the weekend of April 12, 2014, prior to the hunt, women will learn from experienced mentors the basics of turkey hunting and practice their marksmanship at a shooting range under the supervision of certified instructors.
Youth or Women interested in the mentor assisted hunts should contact: Youth Turkey Hunt/ Womens Turkey Hunt, C/O Mr. Scott Faulkner, 3720 Wells Gifford Rd.,Vernon Center, NY 13477. Phone 315-829-3588.
Great Backyard Bird Count: Last weekend’s Great Backyard Bird Count showed many of the common species at bird feeders were among the most
reported. Most people had cardinals, juncos, mourning doves, blue jays, tufted titmice and goldfinch on their lists. It also showed that the numbers of most finches were drastically down. Very few redpolls, purple finches, crossbills and pine siskins were reported. Apparently there has been plenty of seeds in the Canadian north for these birds so they did not have to migrate to this area as they have for the past two years.
One visitor from the far north that has shown up in great numbers is the snowy owl. Thousands of sightings, including several in this area, have been reported. My friend Sue Kiesel recently sent me some great photos of one that she spotted in her travels.
It isn’t know what has caused so many to come down from the arctic. Some theorize that it is food shortage if the lemming population has crashed. Or it may just be that population increases in recent years have sent excess numbers south in search of prey. They are most likely to be found in open areas where they normally feed on small animals and birds


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