Hi, Rob. A heat gun is probably the best tool to use for this. Be sure that you do not get the paint over 600 degrees where the lead in the paint starts to vaporize. Get it hot enough to where you can remove the paint with a putty knife but nowhere near where the wood starts to char. And be sure to put dropcloths on the ground so you can dispose of the scraped off paint responsibily. Many local areas have restrictions on how to dispose of residues containing lead so call your local authorities. Be sure that you wear a good dust mask also.
Your timing is not the best. This will be much harder to do in a Wisconsin winter and you will have many problems with paint. Most paints cannot be applied in wet or cold conditions. Read the instructions and follow them.