Mention hypothermia and most folks think of sub-zero temperatures and snowbanks waist deep. Quite the contrary, you can die of hypothermia in 50 degree weather. Imagine the following:
You are miles from camp and come to a shallow stream barely above your ankles. Having bought Danner boots with Gortex, you roll up your Levis and confidently begin fording the stream.
Not paying attention, you slip on some mossy rocks in the water and land on your back knocking the wind from your sails. You lie in the stream for just a few seconds stunned at the turn of events. Getting back to your feet you are soaked from head to toe, your Levis and cotton sweatshirt are dripping wet. Those fancy boots have now become water storage containers as you wring out the cotton socks you bought because the wool ones felt funny.
Itís late in the afternoon as the sun sets behind the ridge, the wind comes up and the temperature begins to drop. The water dripping from your shirt runs down your hands and the wind chill starts to take effect. You stumble occasionally and continue to blow hot air into your hands in an attempt to warm them up. Itís still a long walk back to camp across those barren ridges, and with darkness approaching it will take longer.
At a comfy 50 degrees with a 5-10 mph wind blowing you can die under the above circumstances. Wet cotton clothes, poor planning and preparedness are to blame.... Mother Nature rubs her hands together and claims another victim.
You arise early in the morning to an overcast sky. Another beautiful day in paradise! You are in Arizona with a once in a lifetime mule deer tag. Running a little behind, you leave camp without taking any water. You are just going to hunt the canyon to the east of camp and return for lunch in a few hours. Itís cool out, itís overcast, you wonít need any water until lunch.
About 10:00 am you catch the flicker of a deerís tail as it breaks over the distant ridge only 400 yards ahead. These narrow ravines and draws are excellent cover for mule deer, you quicken your pace to close the gap between you and the deer.
The ridge was considerably steeper than it looked when you first spotted the deer, the overcast sky has vanished like tax dollars given to a politician. You are panting slightly as you break over the ridge line to see a magnificent buck staring at you from the next ridge over. Heís got you pegged, slowly lifting your rifle he bolts over the ridge. The chase is on! If you can only get a decent shot with your Holland Rifle the trophy of a lifetime will be yours!
Running through the mesquite and ironwood trees, a branch knocks your hat from your head. No time to waste, youíll pick it up on the way back, you keep running after the buck. Itís now 11:30 and youíve spotted the buck twice more, but heís been obstructed by brush and an ethical shot is out of the question. Those horns, the mass, the matching drop tines, this is the buck of your dreams. You push on, the terrain and ground cover are changing. The buck has turned south and is headed for the big flat in the distance. If you hurry you can get to the rocky outcropping. Youíll have an elevation advantage over the country and the buck canít possibly escape.