Summer football workouts were held in the evenings back 30 years ago when I played, with weights and stadium work comprised of sprints, grass drills, sprints and hops up the bleachers, and laps around the field.
It was hot, of course. We sweated like dogs or horses or whatever sweats profusely. Our coaches exhorted us — “C’mon, Clemons, don’t be last!” (hey, I wasn’t a lap-running distance guy at all) — and pushed and joked and prodded us to keep on.
By Alan Clemons
We thought it was hell, although hindsight has proven, as it usually does, that those were some of the best times of our lives.
We didn’t think too much about our shoes back then other than whether they were cool. Sneakers, at least in our world, were just sneakers. We didn’t think about running shoes or if the ones we wore playing tennis at midnight on the city courts were, or weren’t designed for what we were doing three nights a week in the football field workouts.
Today we have specialty shoes for just about every sport. I’ve started my spring-summer walking-jogging routine and have found I prefer the Asics brand shoes, specifically the GT-1000. I went through two pair of them last summer, since I walk-jog on asphalt, and early this spring I bought some Nike shoes. They’re comfortable but don’t feel the same as the Asics. Neither are the Saucony shoes I bought last year on the road when I forgot to pack my Asics. And so I’ll probably wear the Nikes as kick-arounds and buy some more GT-1000s for my daily walking.
My point is this: We get accustomed to something that feels good, works well, gives us confidence. Our hunting gear, such as boots, clothing, ammo and bow goodies, should be the same way. We want the best deer hunting gear possible and we want that to work reliably every single time.
It may be a specific ammo for your rifle, like the Hornady 165-grain that works better in my Steyr .30-06 than the 150- or 180-grain versions. Why? I don’t know. It just does. I have boots that feel better, arrows that fly better. Last year I bought an Under Armor top to wear in summer and after a couple of tries, decided it wasn’t for me. I love Under Armor gear but this summer top was uncomfortable. I felt like I was wearing a Hefty bag. I gave it to a friend who said he loves it. To each, his own.
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I don’t know of anyone who continually, season after season, uses something they don’t like, enjoy or have confidence in when in the field. I’ve never heard anyone continually say, “Yeah, it’s OK but I don’t really like the way it jiggles when I use it” or “It keeps me warm but those arm seams really are rough.” Right? I mean, if something we’re hunting with sucks even a little bit then we’re going to get rid of it or take care of it.
Know your equipment. Summer’s the time to get all that squared away. Shoot the arrows and maybe get a buddy to help give you an extra set of eyes. Go to your bow shop and talk with them. Take your targets, ammo, guns and gear to the shooting range for a day. Go over your tree stands and other gear.
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Our football coaches used to say, “Take care of the little things” and at the time, it seemed silly. But they were right, of course. Proper footwork and hand alignment. Proper stance and blocking or tackling techniques. It all adds up.
It may be old advice. You’ve heard it before. But it’s good to hear again. Practice now, get comfortable now, eliminate or fix problems now. Like my Asics shoes that feel good, you have a few months before deer season arrives to get into feel-good mode. Now’s the time to get started.
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