Getting In Shape For Elk Hunting Season

When I lived in Michigan it was very easy to slack off day after day and month after month. I didn’t work out and fell into a rut of inactivity. Southern Michigan is mainly comprised of flat land; there are very few hiking trails, mountain biking is non-existent (for obvious reasons) and there is very little public land to escape to. This is a problem!

The main reason for making the move to Colorado was to be engulfed in rocky mountain wildlife. The second reason was to live a more active, healthier lifestyle.

At 7,000ft above sea level the rocky mountains force you to eat, breathe and sleep an active way of life. In order to truly enjoy all of the great things Colorado has to offer, you simply have to be in great physical condition; no questions asked!

I’m not here to show you my exact training schedule or “Adam’s Hunting Workout” type stuff but I am here to say that if you are a midwest hunter, you will need to be in the best shape of your life when you arrive to camp. If a September elk hunt is on your radar, you should have already started working out. If not – start right now! If you think you are in great shape by going on just a few jogs per week, think again.

Tips For Getting In “Hunting” Shape

  • Do Something Fun: No one likes a boring jog down a dirt road with deer flies and mosquitos biting your ass every single step of the way. Do something that is enjoyable and engage in an activity that will keep you coming back for more. Some examples would be to join a sports team with friends, riding a bike, walk 18 holes instead of riding a cart, play frisbee, etc. The point here is to do something fun so it doesn’t feel like such a drag.
  • Track Progress Using Technology: When I moved to Colorado, I decided to take up mountain biking as a new hobby because it was something fun, new and great exercise. My boss showed me an app called “Strava” which tracks your progress by timing your rides and showing weekly mileage. This app isn’t just for bikers; There is an option for walking/running too. The point here is not to tell you how wonderful Strava is but it is meant to highlight that technology can be used as a fitness motivator. Read more about Strava, HERE.
  • Train With a Partner: Whether its your wife, girlfriend, cousin, or co-worker, having someone to exercise with does two things: 1. It holds you accountable to each other and 2. It is a lot more fun.
  • Mix Up Your Routine: People get burned out easily if you do the same thing over and over again. Add some variety to your workout routine by mixing up your activities.  For example: On Monday go for a bike ride; Tuesday go for a 5 mile walk after work; Wednesday do P90X. You get the picture.

Here are a few pics of one of my most recent mountain bike rides and a screenshot of Strava!

Strava Application Home Screen.
Strava Application Home Screen.
About to head down hill.
About to head down hill.
Adam riding the trails on his mountain bike!
Adam riding the trails on his mountain bike!

The One Regret

The one regret I hear most from guys who are new to hunting the Rockies, especially when pursuing elk, is that they were not in good enough shape prior to the hunt.

I have a buddy who is an elk guide in Idaho and he has told me countless stories of clients coming out to hunt that are simply unprepared for the physical requirements. They cannot cover the ground or the client can’t make a necessary move due to them being out of shape. My buddy claims his hunter success rate would double if they came into camp at a better physical level.

Killing an elk is tough. Killing an elk with a bow is even tougher. Killing an elk with a bow when you are out of shape is nearly impossible. You spend thousands of dollars and countless hours preparing for an out of state elk hunt; Don’t ruin your it because you simply didn’t prepare.

“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”  Don’t be that guy!

-Adam

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