How important is fitness?

Tips on how to keep yourself in top form for the hunting season.
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How important is fitness?

Postby JPH » Mon Jan 05, 2009 8:20 am

I am so pumped that an area has been opened for this on the forum b/c I am of the opinion that physical fitness is a huge factor in how successful a hunter will be, and it is too often overlooked.

It is a lot easier to sell secret potions and gadgets to hunters than to ask them to face reality. Your ability to get at that deer is limited by how far you can go, how long you can endure, how much gear you can tote, how high you can climb and how you can protect yourself from injury. ATV's and hunting partners can help ease the workload, but it is still demanding.

The descriptions of the legendary hunters of old all paint the picture of very athletic men. Ancient people knew there was a direct correlation between hunting and war. Men trained their bodies to hunt and to fight. We still hunt the same animals today.

Don't get me wrong. One does not need to be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound to be a deer hunter, but improving ones strength and conditioning will improve ones ability to hunt.

At least that's my opinion (rant). What say the rest of you? How important is being fit to the overall recipe for hunting success?

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RE: How important is fitness?

Postby kribbz » Mon Jan 05, 2009 9:01 am

I can say first hand fitness is key!!! I shot two deer this year that have gone down some very steep hills to expire.  I could not get a 4 wheeler down there and since i have not been keeping up with my exercise the drag out of the woods resulted in me being extremely achy for the next few days!

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RE: How important is fitness?

Postby 8uck5nort » Mon Jan 05, 2009 10:25 am

First off I am not in peak condition. However, I am in reasonbly good confdition for my age, and do excersize pretty regularly except for last week when I stuffed my face on all the Hoiday left overs! [:D]. Some how eatings mass quantities of very rich food makes one lethargic...
If you bowhunt, staying physically fit is essential. The bow, no matter if it is compound, or traditional is a martial weapon. In reality is an extension of ones body. You owe it to the game you pursue to stay fit and practiced  to give yourself the best possible chance of making a clean and ethical kill.
Other methods of hunting really depends on your terrain. The more rugged the better in shape you should be. I doubt I could hop on a plane, land in Alaska, and chase game for several days regardless of what type of weapon you give me, and make it back without wheezing and puffing. I would need to build up to that type of activity prior to going.
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Corey Graff
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RE: How important is fitness?

Postby Corey Graff » Mon Jan 05, 2009 10:44 am

The best I ever felt was the year I trained for western mule deer hunting. I should get back on that plan. But I wonder how much we overlook the importance of physical conditioning as it relates to one's circulation - and ability to stay warm in cold weather after many hours of sitting still?


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RE: How important is fitness?

Postby Patriot » Mon Jan 05, 2009 11:34 am

I think it depends on the terrain you are hunting, how far you need to walk, can you access the property with vehicles to retrieve deer, etc.
I'm in decent shape, and can hunt my property with ease.  I would however, need some serious training to hunt the Wild West for elk....for example.
Paul K. "aim small, miss small"

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RE: How important is fitness?

Postby JPH » Mon Jan 05, 2009 1:36 pm

ORIGINAL: Corey Graff
I wonder how much we overlook the importance of physical conditioning as it relates to one's circulation - and ability to stay warm in cold weather after many hours of sitting still?

Absolutely! Being healthy and in good condition has a direct impact on circulation. Circulation has a direct impact on one's ability to endure cold (and hot for that matter).

Another factor is the mental toughness that comes from adhering to a PT program and enduring discomfort in order to attain goals. The Nat. Geo. Channel ran a show on how Special Forces soldiers are able to endure extremes of hot and cold, and retain the ability to think and shoot. Their point was it was largely a matter of these guys conditioning their minds to overcome what their body is telling them. 

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RE: How important is fitness?

Postby Everyday Hunter » Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:33 am

My best physical condition as an adult was the year I went on a D-I-Y moose hunt in Alaska. I spend all summer running, dieting, and packing 100 pounds of free weights on my pack frame. I lost 25-30 pounds. It ended up being an incredibly difficult hunt. My brother and I killed two big bulls and had to haul them a mile up the mountain where our pilot would pick us up. I was barely in good enough shape to do that, but a big part of the "shape" I was in had to do with mental preparation.

I'm not sure I could do it again, but as I get older I'm learning that I need to pay more attention to my physical condition in order to be a good hunter. Being in good physical shape means you can hunt harder and stay in the woods longer. Good physical condition also has a lot to do with your confidence and your mental preparedness. When you body is weary, your mind wants to quit.


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RE: How important is fitness?

Postby TrapperJohn » Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:51 am

Fitness is both physical and mental. I am nearing retirement and am looking forward to more time in the woods. It is harder to remain fit and hunt the hills as you grow older. You must find time to dedicate to a fitness regimen.  For me this means getting up early every week day - to be at the pool when it opens at 5:30AM. I know that if I waited for after work - I would find an excuse NOT to workout. I feel better in all that I do - especially hunting.
I live in WI and have found that getting cold helps me build a mental and physical tolerance. I dress too lightly during the early fall to condition myself to withstand the falling temps. Do I get cold - of course, but I feel this helps body and mind put the discomfort aside for the purpose at hand.
I also agree that the improved circulation from exercise helps keep cold feet and hands from sending me out of the woods.

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Re: How important is fitness?

Postby strampoline » Thu Jan 12, 2012 5:47 am

Fitness is the most important to be healthy and strong. If we are fit then we can do lot of work very easily and fast. I do fitness every day as I am very health conscious. If you are fit then it means your are not over weight and the chances of getting disease is minimum.

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Re: How important is fitness?

Postby SwampLife » Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:25 am

Fitness to me is more of a mindset, being disciplined. Not about body fat % but just being strong and healthy. I absolutely think this same mindset, along with experience and woodsmanship account for a lot of deer in the freezer across the nation.

You have to be physically and mentally tough to consistently kill big bucks that are pressured, that is pretty much the long term goal for my hunting 'career' (I hate that term).

I believe all facets of life are deeply integrated and this is just a small example.
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