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Ted, we don't get the minus 30 to minus 40 temps you get in Minnesota, but we do get occasional sub-zero weather. It was minus 22 F when I left camp on the morning I shot my first deer with a flintlock. Deer guts never felt so good. I never minded the cold much except when the wind is also howling. I've had mild hypothermia several times, but like you, the worst by far was with the temperature in the low teens.

The day started out with temps in the mid 20's, but around 9:30 am, a front moved through causing the temperature to fall and the wind to ramp up. I had shot a deer with my flintlock, and it went down as if struck by lightning. It began thrashing a bit as I reloaded, which I was certain was just nerves. Then, while ramming a patched roundball, I watched it jump up and take off, just as snow began falling faster. I hurried to track it because the scant blood trail was getting covered, and it took me through pure hell, and an area that was laced with other deer tracks. I had to give up after a couple hours because the tracks became impossible to follow due to the drifting snow. That was the only deer I ever wounded and lost, and I still feel bad about it.

Rushing so much through wooded ravines and thick brush caused me to perspire, and my damp hunting clothes combined with the driving cold wind caused me to start shivering almost uncontrollably. I tried everything to warm up, but by 3:00 we were in full blizzard conditions and I decided it was time to quit. It was very hard to even find my way toward the road where I parked. The last 1/4 mile across an open field was brutal, with visibility almost zero, and stinging sleet and snow blowing horizontal. I hoped I was heading the right direction. Much to my relief, I finally found the car. My fingers quit working, so getting my keys out of my pocket to unlock the door took forever. I kept dropping the keys, and had to use both hands to hold the key and get it in the lock. The door locks became stiff to operate, and I was afraid I was going to break the key in the lock. I finally got in, but I was driving my old Ford Tempo diesel, and although it had a pretty good heater, it just wouldn't make heat until you drove it under load. I hit the glow plugs twice to make sure it started. If it hadn't started on that isolated dirt road far from any farms, I'd have really been up shit creek without a paddle. Of couse, with blizzard conditions, the windows were totally iced up, so I had to stick my head out the side window and drive a couple miles until the defroster finally began working. When I got home over an hour later, I was still shivering very badly, and got into a hot bathtub to thaw out. That was one out of three times in my life that I quit hunting early. You are 100% right about wind making a difference when it gets cold.


A true sign of mental illness is any gun owner who would vote for an Anti-Gunner like Joe Biden.

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Pretty sobering story Keith. When it gets really cold, trouble is never too-far away it seems. When hunting alone in extreme conditions it's all to easy to find yourself in an escalating situation. Ted, would it kill you to buy a "burner" phone so your bride wouldn't have to worry so-much? They're dirt cheap (even the homeless have them here in Denver). Cell phones can be pretty darn useful when things get sticky, and even when coverage is spotty texts seem to still work. Look at it this way....it's pretty nice to have someone who actually worries about you a bit.

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Dang, Keith. From someone who's "seen the elephant" ............ be careful, please.


May God bless America and those who defend her.
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Keith,
Been there, done that. Youth isn’t always an asset. 30-40 below usually brings bright, clear sky’s from the high pressure it takes to drive the temp that low, and no wind. But, it is still cold enough to get in trouble.

Lloyd, I’ve tried a bunch of phones in southern Minnesota bird country, short of a satellite phone, they are dead to the world in that area. Having an EPIRB on hand seems to be overkill, but, as I posted, I’ve done this before. More precautions, later starts, and shorter trips when I’m alone. 4-5 hours is plenty if the weather is OK, wife knows exactly where I’ll be, as I’ve written it down, and told her about when I’ll be home. I’m pretty close on time at this point in my life.

Might get an EPIRB when I’m old/retired. Like Lonny.

Best,
Ted
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That dude should have one when he goes out for a smoke on his porch.

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Originally Posted by Ted Schefelbein
Might get an EPIRB when I’m old/retired. Like Lonny.

That's my laugh for the night. Thanks.


May God bless America and those who defend her.
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Ted:

Nice account of your outing to a place of paternal nostalgia and early hunting.

I enjoy hunting alone quite a bit myself, though I try to be more cautious as the weather and terrain increasingly challenges my all-day abilities. Getting a rooster every time wouldn't make it so much the challenge.

Happy New Year!

Ben

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On the other end of the spectrum, I got out of work a couple hours early while on midnight turn about 20 years ago to go hunting on the last day of flintlock deer season. I was hunting along Bullion Run, in Venango County, very close to where Lloyd grew up. The day was crisp and cold, but sunny and clear with no wind. Around noon. I paused to eat a sandwich an apple, and a candy bar, and then resumed still hunting. About 1:00 pm, I became very tired and the thought of a little nap in the woods seemed like a great idea.

I soon saw a large deadfall tree that had a big limb sticking out of the trunk at a suitable angle. I thought, "That looks like a Lazy-Boy chair to me." I brushed off the snow and climbed onto the trunk and leaned back for a 20 minute nap. I pulled the bill of my hat down over my face, and cradled my rifle so I wouldn't drop it. Then I quickly nodded off.

When I woke up, it was very dark. I had to grab my flashlight to see my watch. It was 6:30 pm, over an hour past sundown. I thought, "Well crap... deer season is over." I was totally covered with about an inch of powder snow that had fallen some time during my siesta. I got up and brushed myself off, and hiked about a mile back to my truck. When I arrived, I unlocked the door and put my rifle and possibles bag inside. Then I started the engine. The radio had been on and tuned to a local station, and the first thing I heard was the tail-end of the weather report. The announcer said "... current Oil City temperature is minus 5 degrees"

I was pretty shocked because the temp had fallen faster and further than the prediction I'd heard that morning. But mostly, I was surprised that I had been napping very comfortably outdoors when it was below zero. I really enjoy the cold and snow for deer hunting, but that was unusual. In that case, being properly dressed and having no wind or perspiration dampened clothes made all the difference in the world. And DuPont Thermax long johns under good wool is pretty good stuff too.


A true sign of mental illness is any gun owner who would vote for an Anti-Gunner like Joe Biden.

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My last outing for game was New Years eve. I had a cow elk tag that ran until Dec 31st. Unfortunately, we've had a ton of snow here making it almost impossible to get off the plowed county roads. Did see some shootable cows, but unfortunately, they were on tribal ground, and I didn't buy a tribal license since they raised the cost almost 300%.

Been there and done that in the cold and windy temperatures, when I was living in AK. Broke through some ice on a slough where it entered the large river while on my sno go, out fox calling. Fortunately, the ski's caught on the edge of the ice and I was able to climb out and pull it back onto the ice. I did lose an 870 12 ga Wingmaster, which was sitting across my lap and slid off into the water. I beat cheeks about 3-4 miles home on the sno go and fired up the sauna I had in the house when I got back, shivering and freezing cold, probably on the verge of hypothermia. I cringe when I think about that and what could have happened had it gone, more wrong!


Cameron Hughes
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Stuff sneaks up on you in a hurry.

I’ve had hypothermia many times, it comes with the territory.

The biggest surprise was we were crappy fishing one year in early April, and the morning started out at 50°. A squall came through soaking both of us while we were catching fish hand over hand. I think anybody can see where this went, the backside of the front was 30°, and in short order both of us had progressed past intense shivering to what is called “dumb brain”. Which means that your ability to reason and coordinate your movements is impacted by the lower core temperature.

It was pretty scary. You just don’t expect to get hypothermia spring time crappy fishing.

Took several hours in a lukewarm bath to bring my temperature back up.

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The Garmin Inreach Mini is not just a satellite enabled gps emergency locator beacon, it also has text messaging and email capability. It weighs a quarter pound and is smaller than a pack of cigarettes. I have the minimum cost plan which runs about $20 a month which can be suspended and restarted without additional cost. It doesn't depend on cell phone coverage. I also have an emergency extraction/evacuation/rescue insurance policy through Garmin on an annual basis which will cover the costs. Not all rescue teams and first responders provide services for free. The mini can be bought off Amazon Prime for $329. Gil
Gil

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