Winter Weather Safety

Always dress for the weather. It’s about layers, layers, layers. Cover your head, face and hands as frostbite can occur very quickly. The most susceptible areas are you fingers, toes, ear lobes and the tip of your nose. Some symptoms of frostbite include:

Sensory: pins and needles, reduced sensation of touch, skin burning sensation, or stinging sensation

Skin: blue skin from poor circulation or redness. skin gets very cold, then numb, hard, and pale

Also common: blistering, feeling cold, or waxy skin


Careful not to over-exert when shoveling. It is best to push snow to the side rather than lift. Especially if it is a wet snow it can be very heavy. If you must lift remember to bend your knees so your muscles in your legs do the work. Some useful hacks include: rubbing vegetable oil, paraffin wax, or spraying cooking spray on your shovel helps keep the snow from sticking and allows you to shovel more quickly and easier. Be sure to take breaks while shoveling snow. It is a WORKOUT! Lastly, drink in moderation and stay hydrated.


Baby steps. Caution is the key. An old axiom to keep in mind is when it is cold and icy the path is dicey. Be sure to take it slow, keep your toes pointed out and your hands outside of your pockets. This tip is helpful if you feel like you’re going to lose your balance, then you will be able to brace yourself.


Salt is more than just a seasoning. After a snowfall, be sure to use salt, ice melt or sand as these will help to increase traction on driveways and sidewalks. Additional traction can be a deciding factor in whether you slip and fall.


Winter in the Midwest can be beautiful as well as dangerous. Protect yourself by keeping these winter safety tips in mind. Stay warm and stay safe!

January's Outdoor Column


January, the coldest, longest month of the year as far as I’m concerned, and it doesn’t appear it will get much better.

The arctic blasts through the Midwest have been extremely bitter this time of the year and the damage to wildlife I’m sure will be apparent as time goes on. The one good thing these frigid temperatures have given us is ice. Ice that we can use to fish on and your local Big R Stores have everything you need to have a great day ice fishing.

I’ve ice fished most all my life and there are some things a novice or even a veteran should know before venturing out on the ice. Never put your life at risk because you don’t know the ice. The difference between good ice and bad ice is generally easy to tell if you scrape the snow off the top and drill a hole.

Good ice is clear and hard like a block of ice we used to get from an ice dealer to put in one of the old refrigerators called an ice box. Bad ice is much more like a snow cone; full of pores (tiny holes) and not tightly compacted together. You can’t get a good look at the ice from above; a snow may have fallen on the ice and then melted turning the top layer into a cloudy, milky looking layer. Once you drill through this top layer you will find some good solid ice particularly now.

Milky rotten ice occurs when the temperatures warm and slush develops on top and refreezes at night. When water comes through your ice hole; when the ice is milky and porous, it’s time to stay off. During a cold winter this usually occurs in mid to late February. During a warm winter it can happen anytime, especially if temperatures reach into the forty’s or fifty’s.
Fish light line tests such as 2, 4, and 6-pound tests if you are after bluegill or crappie; higher if you are after game fish. Use small bobber’s as well!

It is safe for one person to fish on 4 inches of ice, more if the ice is clear and hard. Four inches is iffy if the ice is rotten. Never risk your life for a fish! We hear this all the time yet, inevitably someone drowns every year and we must wonder why? It is simple, they chose to challenge nature and they lost.
Don’t be a statistic this ice fishing season. Learn to read the ice and use good common sense and live to enjoy ice fishing next season. I hope to see you on the ice!