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Heating Up & Cooling Down

May 2, 2023
Kevin "KJ" Jarnagin

Summer is nipping at our heels, and this is your friendly reminder to stay hydrated on the range.

As temperatures begin to soar on the shooting range, it becomes increasingly important for shooters to take measures to cool off and avoid the dangers of overheating. Heat-related illnesses is serious and even life-threatening, and shooters must be aware of the risks and take steps to prevent them.

When the body overheats, it leads to a range of heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke. These conditions can cause symptoms such as dizziness, confusion, nausea, and even loss of consciousness. In extreme cases, heatstroke can be fatal.

It's essential for shooters to recognize the signs of overheating and take steps to cool off before the situation becomes dangerous. Symptoms of overheating may include excessive sweating, fatigue, headache, and muscle cramps. If you experience any of these symptoms, it's crucial to take action immediately to prevent them from worsening.

One of the most effective ways to cool off on the shooting range is by staying hydrated. Drinking plenty of water is crucial to help the body regulate its temperature and prevent overheating. Shooters should make sure to bring plenty of water with them to the range and drink regularly throughout the day.

All that is understood, but how do you regain hydration and mental stability quickly? Liquids that are considered energy drinks are a no-go, however here at Gun Talk we utilize drinks and packs that are high in electrolytes. Our go to drink mix is Liquid IV. This has saved us from overheating and heat exhaustion. Chris and I step out onto the range for an entire day of filming in the hot, Louisiana sun better believe we use an electrolyte packet of some sort. Liquid IV is the favored option, but we’ve used NUUN, Biolyte, and Pedialyte.

Some sort of hydration packet should reside in every range bag out there. Water is the best, but when you don’t feel it a hydration packet turns things around. The mind is clearer and the body gets much needed nutrients to bring the body back. Hydration is key, but there are a few more options to keep cool on the range.

Another effective way to cool off on the shooting range is by taking frequent breaks. This is a tough one because range time is fun time. Make yourself either slow down or sit down. It's essential to take breaks in the shade or in an air-conditioned area to help the body regulate its temperature. Shooters should take breaks every hour or so, depending on the weather conditions.

A few years back I headed to the archery range to sight in a new Mathews I was running. The dog was running around, and the sun just beat me down too quick. My mental state wasn’t there, and I ended up dry firing the bow. Huge mistake and one I’ve never made in the past. I was drastically dehydrated, which led to my mental capacity being inhibited.

Wearing the right clothing is also essential to prevent overheating. Shooters should wear lightweight and breathable clothing, such as moisture-wicking shirts and shorts. It's also crucial to wear a hat or cap to protect the head and face from the sun's rays.

Using a cooling towel or a cooling vest is another effective way to cool off on the shooting range. These products work by absorbing sweat and evaporating water, which helps to lower body temperature. They can be a great way to stay cool and comfortable on hot days.

It's also crucial for shooters to pay attention to the weather conditions and adjust their shooting plans accordingly. If the temperature is too high or the heat index is too high, it may be best to postpone shooting until conditions improve. Shooters should also avoid shooting during the hottest part of the day and instead shoot in the morning or late afternoon when temperatures are cooler.

In addition to the dangers of overheating, shooters must also be aware of the dangers of heat exhaustion and heatstroke. These conditions can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention. Symptoms of heat exhaustion may include nausea, headache, dizziness, and muscle cramps. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can progress to heatstroke, which is a medical emergency. Symptoms of heatstroke may include confusion, seizures, loss of consciousness, and a high body temperature.

If you or someone else experiences symptoms of heat exhaustion or heatstroke on the shooting range, it's essential to take immediate action. Move to a shaded or air-conditioned area, remove excess clothing, and drink cool water or sports drinks. If the symptoms persist or worsen, seek medical attention immediately.

Staying cool on the shooting range is essential to prevent heat-related illnesses and stay safe. Shooters should take steps to stay hydrated, take frequent breaks, wear appropriate clothing, and use cooling products when necessary. They should also pay attention to the weather conditions and adjust their shooting plans accordingly. By taking these measures, we can stay comfortable and safe on the shooting range, even on the hottest of days. ~ KJ

Kevin Jarnagin (KJ) hails from Oklahoma but quickly established Louisiana roots after joining the Gun Talk team. KJ grew up as a big game hunter and often finds himself in a different venture often. His early career had him working with one of the finest PR agencies in the outdoor industry – Blue Heron Communications. Before that, KJ molded the minds of business school students at the University of Oklahoma. Quickly learning he had to grow up sometime, KJ dedicated himself to the outdoors no matter what it took.

Sporting his flat-brimmed cap, KJ traverses the country in pursuit of the greatest game and best adventures. Whether it’s making his way to British Columbia for elk or training with pistols, KJ always seems to find a gun in his hands and adventure on his mind. KJ is a skilled communicator and connector in an industry that he has loved since a child.

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