Everyone knows that being in shape and staying active is good for your health, but just in case you needed one more reason to get motivated - it can also help your hunting success!
There are several reasons that make this true, and your physical ability can really make or break a hunt. We all make time to practice, ensure our gear is in tiptop condition so why not make sure we are prepared for the hunt as well! I’ve come up with 4 reasons being fit will help you find success this fall, but the time to start is now.
You don’t want to try and crash diet or push your limits a couple weeks before your hunt. Begin training now and start slow. The last thing you want to do is get injured, so take it easy and pace yourself!
Reason #1– Guides will take you to the best location and not worry about your physical ability. Over the years I can’t tell you how many guides who’ve said upon arrival on a western hunt, “Oh good, I’m glad to see you guys are in shape. That makes our hunt much better as we can travel wherever we need to go.” Of course they’re not saying this to people who aren’t in good shape, but think about it. Animals want to be secluded where there isn’t much pressure. If they are pressed and pressured, they move to much more secluded spots that are much harder for we hunters to get to.
Reason #2– You can make a bold move if needed, and try to get in front of the animal. We all want to plan our stalks out perfectly, have a goal of where we need to be and take our time to get there as quickly and quietly as possible. But 9 times out of 10 plans change mid-stalk…at least they do for me! Either the wind swirls or the animal changes directions, and it becomes a mad dash to get to a new location. I’ve had it happen elk hunting and on brown bear hunts. A hunter truly needs a good set of lungs. More often that not, it is the hunter (not the guide) who lags behind. Your guide is usually up to the task, you the hunter need to be too. So, by getting yourself into shape, this will significantly help your odds of success and get you where you need to be.
Reason #3– Finally it’s time for that shot…can you get your breathing in check? So you’ve run to where you need to be, you’re in position and now it’s time to make the shot. If you’re out of breath and struggling to not pass out, the chances of you making a good shot are pretty slim. In fact, I’ve seen hunters miss their opportunity because they’re breathing so hard they can’t even keep the animal in the scope. I’ve been there and nothing is more frustrating than getting to that point and not getting the shot you have worked so hard to get in position on. So again, get your cardio where it needs to be and also practice when you’re a little out of breath.
Reason #4– The Pack Out. Now that you did everything right and you have a beautiful animal down, the real work begins. You want to ensure you’re in good enough shape to not only get yourself out of the tough terrain you ended up in, but you also have an animal to pack out. Sometimes it may be numerous trips. I can promise your guide will be much happier if you have the physical capabilities to pack game out. If you can’t and it’s all on the guide, well you probably won’t be going in on some of those back country hunts and could be missing out.