Thursday, June 18, 2009

Summertime Hunting

I know a lot of you out there do the majority of your treasure hunting during the summertime because during the winter it is cold and you are, well, a bunch of wussies. Just kidding! I’m one of the biggest wussies around, I just like the cold better than the heat.

That brings us to this article. You can consider this the annual “don’t be a dumb ass” article. Hunting during the summer months brings its own challenges, none of which will help you find treasure if you overcome them but they can make your life miserable if not extinct if you don’t pay attention to them.

The first and foremost of these is hydration. Make sure you are carrying and consuming plenty of fluids. You need to make sure that besides water, you have something along the lines of Gatorade or other electrolyte replacing drink with you.

Why not just drink water? Well for one it won’t replace everything in your body that you are sweating out. If you do this for too long you can be overcome by the heat anyway. Another reason to have the electrolyte replacement is because it will keep you from drinking too much. That’s right; you can drink too much water. This is called hyper-hydration or water intoxication which can be fatal if you are not careful.

This is rare but occurs during intensive exercise (read heavy sweating) when electrolytes aren’t replenished and large amounts of water are consumed at the same time. This lack of electrolytes will affect your brain functions and we all know there are a lot of us out there that don’t need our brains messed with any more than necessary!

The next thing you should worry about is those nasty poisonous plants. Not the ones you might eat but the ones you might brush up against and regret for several weeks. (I’m assuming at this point that you know not to be sticking unknown plants in your mouth) I’m talking about poison ivy and poison oak. There’s not much you can do about these poisonous plants except know what they look like and avoid them. Leaves of three, leave them be. How’s that for simple?

Another thing to worry about while you are tromping around in
the woods is Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. This one will really kick your butt if you get it and it’s like the poison plants, avoid the ticks. There are several varieties of ticks and more than one of them carry the disease and can transmit it through a bite. There are several ways to remove a tick and
you should take care to get the whole bug when removing one. The simplest way to remove one is with liquid soap. Put a little liquid soap on a cotton ball and hold in on the tick for about 15-20 seconds and it should come right off.

As far as avoiding these little pests go, I’m not much for spraying chemicals all over my body, that just seems like a slow way to poison yourself, but if that’s your choice of debugging yourself, then have at it. Another choice, my personal favorite, is the tick suit. I have talked about this before and I am really sold on these things. They are expensive, about sixty bucks for the shirt and another sixty bucks for the pants but they last a long time and there are no chemicals. You can find these on-line or at some of the higher-end sporting goods stores. I can tell you from experience these things are well worth the money. I’ve been wearing one every summer for about nine years now. I wouldn’t go into the woods without it!

Another bug you might keep you eyes open for is the Brown Recluse or fiddleback spider. Again, the only deterrence is to pay attention to what you are doing. The bite of this spider is a rather nasty piece of work and can literally scar you for life.

Once you get past the bugs then you have the other creepy crawlies like the rattlesnake, the copperhead and the water moccasin or cottonmouth. You really want to avoid these at all costs! I find that a 44 magnum loaded with snake shot makes me feel better around these critters! Copperhead snakes can grow up to 40 inches long, the water moccasin can make it to six feet long and the rattle snake can get longer than six feet. Some people don’t mind snakes, personally they scare the crap out of me! Yea, I know, I’m a big wussy!

This is by no means a complete list of the dangers you will face while treasure hunting during the summer months. You can always fall off the side of a mountain or meet up with a big and unfriendly cat in a cave or any number of other things. Just think about the Darwin awards and not wanting to win one before you do anything. The dangers are different in different parts of the country so know the area you are hunting in. And whatever you do, don’t get lost!!

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