Get Fit for Upland Hunting

February 18, 2009 by  

Our Outdoors
Nick Simonson


Hunting mourning doves is a great way to kick of the hunting season

Hunting mourning doves is a great way to kick of the hunting season

Safety in the field goes beyond hunter’s education, being aware of your surroundings and knowing your target and what lies beyond it. Personal physical well-being in the field is usually an afterthought, and when it is addressed, it is usually too late.

The early upland seasons are a walking hunter’s re-introduction to the stress and rigors of pursuing game. Miles of walking over rough terrain, hurdling fences and straining muscles can take a toll on an unprepared body. Take some easy steps now to make sure you can take some of the more difficult walks later.

Exercise the demons

If you are nagged each fall or winter by shortness of breath, sore legs and other symptoms that generally point to the fact you’re out of shape, now is the time to shape up! The early seasons – grouse and partridge particularly – help get the body in stride with the demands that pheasant season in October and deer season in November put on all serious walking hunters.

Try taking daily walks with family members or your dog. The trail need not be the broken dirt of a field or the tall grass of CRP. Keep it simple; walk along a nature trail or around the block. You will find that these easy trips make the walks less taxing on your body during your favorite season.

If you feel you are too out of shape, perhaps it is time to get a physical and speak with your doctor about an exercise program. Before any rigorous exercise program is started, a physician should always be consulted.

Stretch Armstrong

When opener arrives and that five mile hump through the river bottom awaits you at dawn, make certain to take five minutes that could save you a lot of pain and stiffness. Stretching is one of the most overlooked elements of any exercise. The preparation technique helps limber and warm up muscles and can prevent many cramps and strains that would occur during a hike without stretching. Consult a guide, such as Bob Anderson’s book Stretching, for tips and techniques to keep your muscles from cramping before a hard workout. The book also gives tips for every day stretching which prevent strains and provide a good workout too.

Eat Up

Don’t go into the field on an empty stomach. Your body will need fuel to keep it functioning. Eat a balanced diet throughout any hunting trip to maintain good health. Proteins from meat will help repair muscles, where complex carbohydrates provide long-lasting energy for the next day’s trip into the field. Don’t forget five helpings of vegetables and fruits each day to help provide vital minerals and vitamins.

Use small servings of simple carbohydrates such as honey or an energy bar for quick energy when you start to lag, and consult a dietician if you have special needs or are changing your diet.

Through exercise, stretching and proper diet, soreness and fatigue in the field can be a thing of the past. There’s never been a better time than right now to prepare for another healthy season of hunting in…our outdoors


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