It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the connection between hunting and fitness. But if you’re like me, it’s usually something you think of after you sit in your tree stand trying to catch your breath for half an hour. Maybe being out of shape hasn’t cost you any trophies. But I tend to think that the fittest hunters find themselves in position to take meaningful shots more often–and usually with greater success.
It only took me having my wife, brother, friends and doctor telling me I needed to get in better shape to finally start listening. I figured that being outdoors kept me healthier than most. But when I thought about it, all the moving around I did outside was mostly aided by a truck, ATV or boat. So I started simple, and each activity I added improved my hunts in different ways.
I started with walking. Once that bored me senseless, I jogged. I know what you’re thinking. You wouldn’t be caught dead in running shorts and sneakers on some track or making laps in the suburbs. I’m right there with you. So I got a pair of trail running shoes and I did my jogging on some of the property I hunt. It help me get a better feel for the land and it got me in better shape. And increased cardiovascular fitness meant I could stay sharper longer–both physically and mentally. No more panting in tree stands or huffing and puffing up steep inclines.
When I added weight training, things jumped up another level. I didn’t get ripped or anything, I just woke up the muscles that I used to have back in high school. All of the sudden, my rifles felt lighter, My bow pulled easier. And aiming was much easier and a whole lot more fun. No shakes. No quivers. I got just a little deadlier.
When I added a stretching routine, the other things got easier and I found that any soreness or stiffness either went away or got much, much better. Now not many days go by that I don’t do some serious stretching. I sleep better, wake feeling better and I almost always feel up for a run or a quick go on some weights.
I don’t expect anyone to do an infomercial about my little system, but it’s helped me in the field (and just about everywhere else). So make getting in better shape part of your pre-season hunting preparation.