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Does your hunting require any great amount of strength or stamina?

What do you do to prepare for that? Many guys and gals don't have physically demanding jobs anymore, so how do you make sure you're fit enough for your hunt?

Here in Washington, my favorite is the "High Buck Hunt." Every September for ten days, the Wilderness areas up in the Cascades are open for mule deer buck hunting. The problem is, it's remote, rugged, high country. The benefit is, a guy is hunting up in the summer range for mule deer bucks, in some of the most inspiring scenery... It's not the most productive hunt, just my favorite. I don't get there every year, but I sure try. Anymore, in my mid 50's, it's a lot tougher to get in and out than it was even 10 or 15 years ago. Gave my wife notice here not long ago that I may well start hiring a guy with horses or mules to pack my high camp in and out. That initial hike into the high country, with tent, stove, rifle, sleeping bag, a week's worth of food - that's getting tougher.

For conditioning, I try to take advantage of the different seasons to break things up a bit. In the winter I cross-country ski like a madman, really putting a lot into it. I'm not the fastest skier out there, but I work hard at it and it's a wonderful conditioning tool, combining both cardio and strength work.

After ski season it's hiking on the trails. The lower trails open up first, and I just go higher and higher as the snow recedes. When summer rolls around, I start doing short backpacking trips into the mountains, maybe just an overnighter, maybe two nights. Just enough to get used to carrying the pack again. These are also very carefully planned scouting trips, trying to find some mature mule deer bucks... Binoculars, maps, and a GPS are very important tools for me on these trips.

Used to be quite a runner, but I get some serious pain in my tendons if I do too much running anymore - so I limit my jogs to shorter distances, once or twice a week. A bicycle though, gives me a great way to do a lot of spirited training, and it's a lot of fun. I use both a road bike and a mountain bike.

Also - a year round mainstay for my fitness revolves around work. I managed to find a place to live only about a mile from work, so I can walk in and out almost every day. There's also a gym at work, that I hit every day I work. Therefore a work day almost always includes two miles of walking or jogging, as well as at least an hour in the gym split between cardio and strength training. This is year round, and really forms the foundation of my conditioning.

All in all, I usually hit that High Hunt in September in decent shape. Twenty pounds heavier than I used to be and in my mid 50's, I need to start paying more attention to lightening myself up a bit though... ;D

Some high-country & conditioning photos to follow. Guy
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
My pard hiking out from the high country with a 3x3 mulie, boned out.


My little backpack camp:


Trail leading into the high country:


A high country lake:


Skiing - notice the subtle camouflage:


More later!
 

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I've gained more than I need too, but exercise every day. I spend 1 hr. in the gym working aerobics (arctrainer etc.) daily, then walk the dog/run as my knees let me. I ran for 25 years, and finally gave it up. There aren't many 230# 6 foot 5 guys doing that in their late 40's. I lift weights off and on, but tend to gain too much weight when I do. My "farming" career is physically demanding, though my regular job is mainly lifting 20 to 150# dogs during the day. My pedometer says I walk a fair ways, but most of my walking is with the dog, or about 4 miles a day. I'm heavier than I need to be, but my wife says I'm not "skinny" the way I used to be, but still in relatively good shape. Activity is the name of the game. You'll seldom see me sittnig unless its at work on the phone or on computer for looking at MO.
 

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I am in the process now of rebuilding my quad strength, having two new knees installed really kicked my heinie,ha. And something happened to my belly during recovery; it's swollen! I walk some, but use a local gym everyday I can. Diet is an issue as everybody wants to eat in church. Being a pastor, most of my job is sitting and standing, not much walking for sure. My Tour of Duty with the Army cured me of my "backpacking fantasies", ha, so I like trucks and horses. However, I like to hunt high also, so I have to pick my terrain. Currently I hunt right on the edge of the Uinta Wilderness area, so not too many 4 wheelers to deal with. I can drive pretty close, camp, and walk out/up from there on a Forest Trail. I use a very light daypack, a filter water bottle so I can drink from the local streams and try to stay as light as I can.When game is down, well, that takes me awhile if I'm by myself ( I like to use a roll up plastic game sled) it can take awhile, but it's sweet when the son In Law is around,ha. I have a huge qtr horse, trained to pack and all, but it's such a hassle, and too much to deal with by myself anymore. If I ever get a big bull down up there, then I'd hang up the quarters and go get him and some help, otherwise, I'd bone him out and sled the meat down/out, in several trips of course!. Nice problem to have!
I think your idea of having your drop camp set up by horses is wise; gives you the chance to hunt in light, taking your time, enjoying yourself more. Life is a vapor, so use it wisely, use your heart muscle for fun, less work,ha. BTW, you notice that it is only us Baby Boomers who claim that the 50's are the new 40's,ha. :p Hey Doc, my dog weighs 7.25#, so lifting her doesn't seem to help my back/biceps at all!
 

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I pedal my bike enough through out the year that walk'n through the woods doesn't bother me. However, when bambi season gets closer this year, I'm going to start putting the portable stand on my back when I walk the dogs at night.
 

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swimming. Good cardio workout without the abuse on my joints. I seem to always gain 10- 15 lbs around the gut after deer season, over the winter, but by the 2nd week of the next bow season I have lost it all. I think the biggest factor is to reduce calories over the summer.

andrew
 

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Swimming is the thing for us old pharts. I swear by it, and stretching, too. Try putting up a bar just out of reach, and hanging on it for a bit. Your back will be very happy. I use it for leg curls, to try to keep the abs tight. If I could avoid the cookies I'd be happier. I think my legs/knees/ankles tell me the high country days are long gone. Great photos, Guy, as always, thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Here's a great spot we backpacked into a few years back. Saw bear, caught fish. Enjoyed. Thankfully we didn't have to carry a buck out of there!




Favorite summertime conditioning tool - it's only bucked me off a few times:
 

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I have had one heart attack and my stamina is way down. I walk a lot but you can't get back once you've damaged the heart tissues. I try to be very careful when I'm hunting. I don't carry too much weight when I'm walking in and out, take my time, don;t climb trees, always let someone know where I'm going and when I'll be back and always carry my nitroglycerin. I try to hunt where I'll be able to drive my truck up to where ever my deer falls and I'm not too proud to call for help if I need it to drag out or load game. I've developed a technique to loading a deer in my truck that usually works for me but still occasionaly I call for help.
 

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How old are you guys?
 

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Me ? Just turned 62, and as a friend says, the 50's ain't the 40's, well, .....oh stop, Steve.... ::)
I'm a shrimper in South Carolina, I can't whine, I work around guys in their 70's still running boats. Now, they don't work long days very often, don't work crummy weather, but hey, they're out there at dark:30 when the sun cracks. Every body is different, too, there's a few 60's guys who are looking rather "rode hard and put up wet." I can only say what works for me. I've been lucky so far, my guardian angel is good to me.
 

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About to turn 44... however I'm not implying I act like 44 ;D

I learned years ago after watching other people I've known with various health problems to watch what I put in my body. So far so good :D
 

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I do electrical construction, cut a considerable amount of wood in my spare time and go backpacking in the Adirondack High Peaks region during the summer with my Son and Grandson.

riflerick
 

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Halwg, I"m 58 and somedays I feel 68, but still try to be 28.

riflerick
 

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Just turned 58, it seems the Military/Oilfield/truck driving of my "pre-Ministry days" ( I went into ministry full time at 37) made a "lasting impression" on my joiunts, ha. The main problem out here is the game is up high, and there is not much oxygen up there! Add all the up/down/ blowdowns everywhere, and it can be "work" just getting around. Where I grew up, you could drive up close to the deer stand/blind or just take off walking, heck it wasn't even 70 ft above sea level. It's a big jump from there to 10,000-12,000 ft! Oh yea, I have killed some animals out in the sage, around 3,000 ft, but it's easier walking. I have driven my truck right up to antelope, mule deer, even cow elk sometimes. Other times it was drag awhile, lay-down and breath awhile, drag some more, ha.
 

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At 58 I am still throwing weights around twice a week for one hour doing super-sets which is a cardiovascular workout while strength training. Just gave up running last year but I still walk one hour six days a week in addition to the weight training.
 

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A lot depends on where I’m planning to hunt in a given year. In years past and before three knee surgeries, I hunted a lot in the mountains of SC. I would either drive my truck as close as possible then hike a mile or two (with tree stand on my back) to the area I planned to hunt. There are no trails so the going can get pretty rough. When I was doing this type of hunting I would prepare by pushups, sit-ups, and a lot of walking before season. I also hunted some by boat. I would take a boat to the base of the mountain or area I was planning to hunt then hike in. I would train in a similar manner for this.

Our annual hog hunt does require a bit of training due to the way we hunt. I had to cut a few days short this year due to my knee but I still managed to get two hogs. Our method of hunting them is to load up a pack at day break with a days’ supply of food, water, rain gear, hunting gear, etc… and return at dark. If we kill a hog you have two options, either quarter and pack it back to camp or haul it on a two wheeled game cart. Either way is strenuous.

My third knee surgery was last August and I was told my next one will be total replacement; I’m only in my mid 40’s so I want no part of replacement yet. The last few years of deer hunting have been a lot cushier since I’ve been taking my young son with me. When he gets a little older, I plan to start back hunting by boat access so I will need to get back on a regular program. I’ve been lucky, I’m within a couple of pounds of what I weighed when I graduated high school (good genes I guess). I’m very active and watch little to no TV. I play golf a lot in the summer and I try to walk until the temperature gets above 95…
 

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Strength training 3 days a week, run 2-3 miles twice a week and play tennis 2-3 times a week. I found that walking the dog a couple miles a night helps with the walking while hunting and the strength training helps with the heavy lifting part. Most of my running and tennis is outside during the summer in Houston. The heat gets me in shape faster.
 
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