Are you ready for deer season? Have you scoped out your hunting land? Ordered your new gear? Had your bow restrung? How about assessed your physical fitness. Oops, did you forget how physically demanding the quest for a trophy buck is? Whether you hunt out west, are a flat land hunter, or simply past your prime physically, you can make hunting less painful physically by following these five tips for staying fit and getting prepared for deer season.
- Lose the Belly – or at Least What you Can
You probably don’t want to hear this, but it’s true. One of the best ways to make hunting a bit less painful during deer season is to lose a few pounds. Otherwise, the beer belly you developed from your love of barbecue and beer during the summer is going to affect your physical abilities.
Even if you don’t have a gut, but you ride a desk 40 hours a week, you’re going to be hurting after opening day, if you don’t get your body ready for the demands of hunting. Whether you’re four weeks out from your season or 2 months, any weight you lose now will make you feel better to come to the end of September or beginning of December.
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- Exercise! Exercise! Exercise!
You don’t show up to a marathon without training first. If you did, you’d be a mess. Gasping for air, crawling along your buddies that got ready before the season started.
So? Why would you start your hunting season off without working your way into it? Whether you bow hunt from a tree or your pushing deer for gun season, you have to be prepared to walk. Miss a shot or need to help out a buddy? Then you may even have to run. Depending on where you live, you might have some difficult obstacles to overcome running or walking.
If you can – walk your hunting grounds in the weeks leading up to the opening of the season. If you don’t have access, time, or distance makes it an issue, find a park with bleachers and walk there. You can walk laps and then climb the bleachers to improve your health and endurance.
- Don’t Forget About the Equipment and Boots
Once you’ve begun to work on your stamina – start thinking about your hunting pack, bow, and boots. Believe it or not, some hunters carry bags that weigh upwards of 30lbs+. At the end of a 10-hour hunt, a 30lb. the bag can feel like 100lbs. if you’re not ready to carry it. Take the same laps mentioned earlier but wear your hunting boots and carry your pack. Your legs might burn the next day, but you’ll be happy you did when it comes time to gear up and hit the fields this fall.
- Tire Flips
Tire flips? Nope, you read that right. Think about it. Hunting includes so much more than aiming a weapon and firing. First, you have to get to the perfect spot. Then you have to climb into your tree stand or hunker down in the weeds to wait for your trophy buck to walk by. Doesn’t seem too bad yet, right? What happens when you hit your mark?
You’ve probably dragged a dead animal to your ATV or truck before, but when’s the last time you did that? Probably not often. One exercise that will help you develop the hamstring, buttock and explosive muscles that are needed to drag dead weight long distances is tire flips. It also helps you develop hand strength that will make cutting and even processing easier.
- Trail Runs
Lastly, try some trail runs. Running is good for your whole body and is one of the easiest ways to build your endurance and muscle strength. Even if the last time you ran was when you played Red Rover in Kindergarten, you should at least give it a shot.
Running on trails helps you prepare your lungs for the long hunts coming up and improves your overall health. It doesn’t even matter how long you run, how fast you go, or whether you walk more than you run. What’s more important is that you’re moving, which will make your hunts more fun than torture come fall.
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Instead of being covered in sweat with burning legs and gasping for air this deer season, you can enjoy your time in the woods by getting in shape now. Whether you follow all the tips above or just a few, you owe it to yourself, your freezer, and your trophy room to get in shape now and make your hunting season better. The better you feel, the more you will be able to concentrate on the task at hand, which means you’re giving yourself the best opportunity to bag the buck of a lifetime.
Brandon Cox is the founder of StayHunting, who is passionate about all things of hunting and fitness. Through his hunting website, he would like to share tips & tricks, finest tech that will excite all of the intricacies of hunting whether you be an amateur or a professional.