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Hunting Prep in the Offseason: Staying in Shape

With all of the fun stuff that takes place in the summer – camping, fishing, and BBQ’s  just to name a few – it is easy to put that upcoming hunting season in the back of your mind and not give it much thought. Then, before you know it, the hunting season is just a few weeks away and you are left completely unprepared. In this three part series, I will help you to be as prepared for your next hunting season as possible.

We are first going to talk about the need to stay in shape. Now I know that this isn’t the most popular topic and not necessarily one that many people want to hear about, or even consider when thinking about hunting, but it is a critical one, nonetheless. If you don’t have a regular workout plan you need to develop a plan that’s right for you, and stick with it. Not only will this help your next hunting season be more productive but it may even help to save your life.

It doesn’t matter how experienced you are as a hunter, there is always a situation that may arise where your physical condition may be the difference between a serious injury, your life, or even death. You can have all the right equipment and still get caught unawares with unpredictable weather changes, storms and other unforeseen emergencies. Even the actions, unintentional of course, of another person may inadvertently endanger you or another person in your party. If you happen to find yourself in one of these dangerous situations, you will need all of the advantages you can get and a big personal advantage is your own physical abilities.

What type of workout do you need?

When you are thinking about a workout it is critical that you think of the different terrain you may be encountering. If you know that you are going to be in the mountains, for example, then you can run or walk stairs to simulate the mountain climbing you will have to do during your hunt. You can also swim to increase your lung capacity and your endurance level.

It is also critical that you think of the altitude that you will be hunting at. For me, I hunt in the Colorado Rockies. I currently live at about 7,000 feet and know I will be hunting at around 10,000-11,000 feet.  This isn’t a huge adjustment for me but still one that I need to plan on during my off-season conditioning. Fortunately, my summers are filled with frequent trips to the mountains where I camp, fish, and most importantly, hike with my family. The hiking is critical because I am engaging in the same type of physical activity that I will be doing during my hunt – but I am also doing it at the same altitude.

If you are coming from a much lower elevation it is important that you are aware of the effects that the altitude will have on you – especially if you are hunting in a higher altitude such as what the Colorado Rockies has to offer. There is nothing that will ruin a hunting trip faster than getting altitude sickness.

Another good tip to getting yourself in the physical shape necessary to endure a long hunt is to add a backpack to your walks and runs. This will allow your shoulders and back to start getting used to carrying more weight as well as building up endurance and lung capacity. To give yourself an idea of what you need to work towards you should pack your backpack with the supplies you will be taking on your next hunting trip – then weigh the backpack. From there you can gradually add weight to your backpack and work up towards that weight.

As much as we may want to focus on other things during the off-season it is very important to keep up our physical condition. When hunting season rolls around – which, remember, is just a couple of months away -your body will be happy that you did. You will also be improving the quality of your hunt and helping your success rate as well because you will be able to hunt harder and longer to ensure that you fill your tag this next season. So, if you are already working out – keep it up. If you haven’t started one yet – there is still plenty of time to get in shape if you start soon.  The better physical shape you are in, the more strength and endurance you will have – and experience the thrill of the hunt all that much easier.

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