How to Get in Shape for Hunting Season
Whether you’re prepping for the hunt of a lifetime in the Brooks Range, training to pack out a Colorado bull elk, or you just want to be in better shape for a long walk to the tree stand, these five tips will help you get started.
CREATE A PLAN
With the right plan for exercise like from this official website, nutrition and motivation, you will be well on your way to getting where you want to be. Start several months ahead. I try to stay fairly fit all year long, but have a harder push when it heats up in Texas and I know my Colorado elk hunt is only a couple months away. I like the diversity of the CrossFit workouts, but find whatever works for you. Make an effort to eat healthier. Once you get the process rolling, you will find that you have more energy, you sleep better and you just feel better overall. You have a target date to be in shape, so use that as your motivation all year. It will make it easier to accomplish your goals.
It’s great that you can drive tacks with your bow at 50 yards consistently, but you need to be able to make that shot after you just scaled the last 400 yards up the mountain to have a clear shot at a bull of a lifetime. How do you do that? I like to sprint a 200 or 400 and then pick up my bow and shoot 10-15 arrows, and then do it all over again…several times. This works for both bow and rifle hunting. If you are a bowhunter, remember to practice all year long. Practice. Practice. Practice.
STEP IT UP
It is worth your time to get some sort of weighted vest and a 10 pound dumbbell and knock out a few miles on a real stairmaster. I like to call it the gauntlet and people at the gym think I’m crazy (who knows…maybe I am). Start off slow and as you work into it after a few weeks, see just how far you can go. I even mixed in an airflow restrictor last year. It made my hunting that much easier in the mountains and I even out-hiked my guide.
TAKE THE PUP
Remember that your dog needs to be walked and jogged some before you take her out on opening day of dove season and expect 20-30 retrieves in 100 degree weather. It can also break up the monotony of whatever workouts you are doing through the grueling summer heat to get up early or go for a late evening jog with your best hunting buddy.
KEEP IT BASIC
Even though you might not have the budget to join a gym this year, that’s no excuse for sitting on the couch. There are plenty of body-weight exercises you can do that are just as effective. You can do pull-ups, push-ups, burpees, squats, jumping jacks, situps, crunches, etc. After a few weeks of doing those and you feel like you’re making progress, then put your pack on and do all these exercises. Start off with just a few pounds and then add more. You will be surprised what just the basics can accomplish to help you reach your goals.
It never hurts to lighten your load. You can take stuff out of your pack, but why not shed those extra pounds now before we get to hunting season?