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Habitat Hydration

Habitat Hydration
July 5, 2023

by Jeremy Koerber, Fit to Hunt

As a coach and personal trainer, I talk about hydration all day long. We discuss it in the gym and in the sports arena to ensure we are both performing and recovering at a high level, but there is one area we have not discussed enough; hydration for when you are out doing habitat work on your properties this summer. As you might guess, the rules to hydration do not really change but we are going to repeat some info you may already know while validating some tactics that very well could save your life.

Limited time to get things done

My farm is 90 minutes from where I live, so when I make the trip to work, I am cramming A LOT into a little bit of time. Typical jobs could include:

  • Hanging stands
  • Fertilizing food plots
  • Performing Timber Stand Improvement (TSI)
  • Terminating invasive species like bush honeysuckle and multiflora rose

I always have a list and I always plan for maximum production, but sometimes, I forget to include hydration breaks. Even mild dehydration can cause a dip in performance. Add in the heat index, high humidity and an understory that can feel like an Amazon jungle and the premium for frequent hydration breaks just went up. In fact, not taking breaks has gotten me close to heat illness twice. We know you want to get your projects completed but every 30 minutes or so, make sure you are consuming water.

Basic needs

The old rule of 6-8 eight-ounce glasses is not going to fit every person due to size and exertion level. A rule we have used in the past is to divide your weight in two and that is the number of ounces you need to consume. Using that rule, a 150-pound person should consume 75 ounces per day, but that is not taking into consideration sweating all day on the farm. A better tactic, while a little gross, is using urine color to let you know if you are dehydrated or not. A person who is well hydrated will have clear to slightly yellow urine. Someone who is dehydrated may not have to go to the bathroom at all. If they do, it will be dark colored with a bad odor.

Performance Booster or Life Saver?

Fresh off the Beastmode Archery Challenge Games in Mt. Horeb, WI, we not only preached hydration but made sure the competitors were consuming electrolytes as well.  Water is great but when you are working in extreme heat and sweating profusely like we do when performing habitat work, a sports drink or electrolyte powder I can mix in a water bottle is really important. Both Coach Nick and I have had a few situations where we were close to heat illness. Both times we used Wilderness Athlete Hydrate & Recover to rehydrate and stave off heat illness. Available in portable packets or tubs, the product provides electrolytes while also containing BCAA’s, B Vitamins and other ingredients that promote muscle recovery. We’ll use other products if necessary but we are firm believers in the Wilderness Athlete line of hydration products.

Better to have it and not need it

As you are loading up the truck to head to the farm, make sure to include plenty of water and electrolytes on your packing list. I have a bad habit of throwing things in a cooler last minute which is a terrible idea. I have been working to be more intentional to have more water than I know we will consume on top of enough electrolyte powder for both me and anyone helping get through the day.  I’d rather have more than I need than not enough; Especially if someone works too hard and gets overheated during the day.  Load up the cooler with more than you will need.  If you don’t use it on that day, it will not go to waste.

At the end of the day, I also like to consume a beer on the back of the tailgate as we wrap up the day and admire our handiwork, but while we are working, drink lots of water, plan breaks, use an electrolyte mix and stay safe while getting your property ready to hunt this summer!

What are your favorite tactics or products to stay hydrated?

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