Don’t be fooled by warm temps says Department of Wildlife
November 8, 2004
By Don Quilici
According to a recent press release, the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) is warning Nevada anglers and waterfowl hunters not to be fooled by warm air temperatures.
Comfortable air temperatures combined with a marine environment create a situation that can open the door to hypothermia, the number one killer of people recreating in the outdoors.
“Contrary to popular belief, hypothermia is not limited to times when freezing temperatures are the norm,” said Doug Nielsen, NDOW boating education officer. “In fact, people face a higher risk of suffering from hypothermia when air temperatures hover in the 60- to 70-degree range than they do when temperatures drop near freezing.”
When people expect extremely cold temperatures, they plan and dress accordingly, explained Nielsen.
But when the temperature is more comfortable, people just don’t plan for trouble.
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If people understood how hypothermia works, they might prepare better, Nielsen added.
A person suffers from hypothermia when their body’s core temperature drops below 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
The body loses heat faster than it can produce it.
Anybody who has experienced a chill or shiver has shown the beginnings of hypothermia. “This killer literally begins small and then sneaks up on people. By the time the victim realizes what’s happening, it may be too late, especially if he is alone,” he said.
Although a person who falls into cold water is in obvious danger of experiencing hypothermia, one doesn’t have to get wet to be in trouble.
Consider a hunter or angler who is sitting in a boat on a lake with a slight wind and an air temperature of 65 degrees.
The wind actually makes the temperature feel colder, and the moving air currents literally draw heat away from the sportsman’s body.
Should he choose to ignore the warning signs Ð a chill or the shivers Ð hypothermia may very well kill him.
A person who is wet will lose body heat 25 times faster than a person who is dry.
“Anglers and hunters need to dress for the current conditions and for what they might become. Fall weather can be unpredictable so they should take extra clothes just in case. They also need to carry and wear the life jacket. Falls overboard by hunters and anglers account for the largest percentage of boating fatalities nationwide each year. In most cases, the victim isn’t wearing a life jacket,” Nielsen said.