It’s no surprise that it gets hot in Florida during this time of year. We are the “Sunshine State” of course. The National Weather Service issues heat advisories when the heat index is forecast to be over 100°F for at least 2 days and nighttime temperatures are forecast to be above 75°F. The Excessive Heat Warning is when the heat index is forecast to be above 105°F for at least 2 days and nighttime temperatures are not expected to drop below 75°F. If you are like me, I have received many notices of heat advisories and excessive heat warnings over the last few weeks. Just because we are accustomed to this heat does not mean we should not heed these advisories and warnings.
Heat related illnesses include sunburn, heat rash, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Heat rash and sunburn can happen even when temperatures are not extreme like now. Remember to apply sunscreen and wear lightweight clothing to protect your skin from the sun’s UV rays. For heat rash, do not allow moisture to stay close to your skin. Wear loose fitting clothing and try to minimize sweating.
Heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke are progressive stages of effects of excessive heat on your body. The first stage is muscle cramps or spasms. Once you notice this, you should remove yourself from the heat and physical activity. Drink water or a sports drink and wait for the cramping to subside before returning to physical activity. The next stage is heat exhaustion. The symptoms include heavy sweating, clammy skin, fast heart rate, nausea, dizziness, and fainting. If you experience these symptoms, move to a cool place, and loosen clothing. You can also put cool cloths on your body or take a cool shower or bath. Sip water. If you ignore these symptoms, you can progress to heat stroke. Symptoms of heat stroke include high body temperature, dizziness, headache, nausea, confusion, loss of consciousness. If you find someone with heat stroke, call 9-1-1 at once and move the person to a cool place.
Here are a few steps you can take to avoid heat related illness:
Wear loose fitting, lightweight clothing.
Drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated.
Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol intake.
Schedule outdoor activities during the cooler parts of the day.
Plan for breaks in cooler places when enjoying the outdoors.
Don’t forget your sunscreen.
For more information on heat related illnesses and extreme heat in Florida:
When we talk about white-tailed deer management, we often look to the states that have monster deer like Iowa, Illinois, and Ohio. Those states grow 200 plus inch bucks. It’s amazing to see for sure. But this is Florida and we can’t effectively manage deer the same way. Actually, in Florida, we can’t even manage deer the same across the state. This is why we have 12 deer management units. So, what are the reasons we can’t manage deer the same?
Plant hardiness and climate
Deer are highly adaptable to habitats. They can be found in almost every state in the US. The native vegetation is very different in Northwest Florida versus Iowa or Illinois. Deer are eating different diets depending on the habitat they are residing in. Bedding areas will vary also. This affects the body size, antler growth, and fawning rates for deer.
We can grow food plots to supplement deer diets but those will look a little different too. For example, clovers and cereal grains are normally frost seeded in late winter or planted in the spring in parts of the country that actually experience winter. In Northwest Florida, we plant clovers and cereal grains in the fall.
Finally, rut timing is a key part of deer nutrition management. In Northwest Florida, the rut (deer breeding season) is happening now. In other parts of the country such as Iowa, they are shed hunting already because their rut happens in November.
So, given these reasons, we do things a little differently here. We plant cool season food plots in the fall. These act as attractants to draw deer in during hunting season. Then our summers are when the deer need more nutrition for antler growth and fawn rearing. Warm season food plots should focus on supplying adequate crude protein and energy for this increased demand period.
Further Processed Venison Photo Credit: Jennifer Bearden
I often get questions about eating wild game by new hunters. Questions like: Is it safe to eat? How do you process it? How nutritious is it for my family? Does it taste good? A group of agents and specialists joined forces and created 4 new publications to answer these questions and more.
This publication starts with safety during the hunt. It then talks about skinning the deer and getting the meat to below 40°F as quickly as possible. It also warns hunters about zoonotic diseases and how to protect from diseases such as tuberculosis, brucellosis, and leptospirosis.
This publication talks about aging of meats, carcass cutting, grinding, storing, freezing and thawing. The ultimate goal is safe and tasty wild game meat in the forms that you and your family personally enjoy.
This publication emphasizes food safety concerns such as storage temperatures, minimum internal temperatures when cooking, thawing frozen meats properly. It also outlines how nutritious wild game meat can be.
Do you want to get into hunting and enjoying this safe, delicious, and nutritious food supply? We welcome new hunters! For Florida residents, check myFWC.com for residency qualifications, exemptions, and hunter safety requirements.