Predawn, Iowa, the rut just starting to kick in, as evidenced by last afternoon’s parade of small bucks chasing one hapless doe. I started my borrowed ATV and braced myself for a long ride around expansive cut bean fields.
I debated. Should I go fast, shortening the travel time, but getting colder? Or should I just putt along and possibly not get as cold. I wondered how wind chill affects a moving object, as compared to a stationary object standing still in the wind.
In just minutes, I was so cold I was incapable of any debating or wondering. I arrived at a chosen location, where I’d meet my hunting buddy Shelley. We’d walk in from there to our separate stands.
Shutting off the ATV, I could barely climb from it. My hands felt like claws and I wondered how long it would be before I could operate the release for my bow. By contrast, Shelley, who’d arrived at approximately the same time, didn’t seem cold at all.
It took an Iowa farm girl to teach me some lessons she’d grown up learning:
Wind chill effects – Yes, wind chill is a measurement of heat loss from exposed skin, and I don’t know any people who hunt naked. But even clothed, body heat can be reduced by wind speed. Shelly told me later that on a 20-degree morning, such as the one we were experiencing, riding on an ATV at 8 miles per hour made the wind chill factor about 8 degrees!
How to combat wind chill – In addition to covering skin, cover the areas where heat can escape such as your neck. Shelly almost always wore a neck gaiter, which does wonders for helping you retain body heat.
Staying warm on the ATV – To help your hands stay warm on the ATV, wear a thin pair of liner gloves under insulated mittens. You can also slip a chemical warmer packet inside each of the mittens. In addition, cover the ends of the handlebars with covers to block the wind and help keep your hands warm. The hand covers are a bit of bling that are well worth the cost. They also protect your hands when you’re driving through brush and sticker bushes.
Another vital bit of bling for your ATV is the addition of a winch. In Iowa, I arrowed both a doe and a buck. Both were much heavier than the deer I was used to dragging out of the Pennsylvania woods. Field dressed, the doe weighed 145 pounds and the buck, 220. Each time, I could barely budge them. And each time, Shelly arrived with her ATV and ran the end of the winch down to the deer. Once it was attached, all I had to do was guide the deer’s body as she backed up the ATV and rewound the winch.
August is a great month for adding these two vital pieces of gear to your ATV, so you’re not rushing to get it done before hunting season. For less than $200, you can make your life easier, and warmer!
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