As the season approaches and the scouting continues to take place, don’t forget to stay hydrated! Hydration is a must to allow the body to perform its duties to function properly and to think rationally. Hydrating your body is a constant continuum. There is not an exact point when you go from being hydrated to dehydrated. Thirst is not a true accurate way to measure if you are properly hydrated. If you wait until you are thirsty before you start consuming liquids, chances are, you are already dehydrated.
Dehydration occurs when the amount of water leaving the body is greater than that taken in. You lose about two liters of water a day just through skin, urine, feces, and breathing alone. Depending your activity level, you could lose about 2 liters per hour. Once you factor in weather conditions (i.e. humidity, wind speed, temperature), the amount of water loss can range up to 3 liters an hour. It can sometimes be almost impossible to consume enough water to offset your dehydration. For most outdoors men and women, early scouting before the season opens,depending on the location, is done in the heat with high humidity and heat index over a hundred degrees. Even when the temperature is cold and you are exerting yourself but not sweating as much, you are still losing water through your heavy breathing. You want to be on your toes at all times while you are on the hunt or scouting and one step ahead of your prized trophy. You never know when your window of opportunity will present itself. Dehydration can cause an electrolyte imbalance within your body that can diminish your ability to be successful and more importantly endanger your health.
It is very possible for you to reverse mild cases of dehydration by replenishing your body with consumption of liquids and food. Some symptoms of mild dehydration are dry mouth, sleepiness or tiredness, thirst, muscle weakness, decreased urination (8 hours or more without urination), dizziness or lightheadedness (The Mayo Clinic, Dehydration). All of which will impair your judgement and cause you to miss your chance at making an ethical shot or missing altogether. How many times do hunters miss the opportunity to just see the trophy game because they were sleeping or simply just not paying attention? Is dehydration the blame? It very well could be!
The process of sweating is the body trying to cool itself, just like a dog pants. The water that is lost due to sweating is derived from all over the body, including your blood. Reduced blood volume increases the cardiovascular strain by making the heart beat harder. The increase of the heart beat and cardiovascular stress hinders your strength and endurance even at mild dehydration. One of the most active tissues with in your body, MUSCLE, is chiefly responsible for getting you in range when you are on a stalk through tough unbalanced terrain. If you are weak and don’t have the strength to draw back your bow or steady up on the vitals, chances are, you just made a huge mistake by simply not being properly prepared and drinking enough valuable fluids prior to your hunt.
Severe cases of dehydration include extreme thirst, irrabilty or confusion, extreme fuzziness (unable to focus), lack of sweating, low blood pressure, rapid heart beat, or fever (The Mayo Clinic, Dehydration). These severe symptoms will force you to seek medical attention as soon as possible and cause you to shorten or end your hunt. As your core temperature rises due to dehydration, the risk of heart related disorders such as heat strokes increase along with you fighting for your life. Professional athletes along with high school and college athletes suffer from dehydration every year and some may lead to death. As I have said before, preparation is your key to success. Hunters are athletes! Be prepared and make sure that you stay hydrated at all times before, during, and after the hunt. Don’t become a statistic because you were too lazy to pack water in your backpack. Hunt Strong, Train To Hunt!