The final 90 days are upon us before the season opener. This is when I shift from “Slacker Dude” into “The Elk Killer”. I work 60 to 72 hours in my normal work week, so it’s hard to find alot of time for physical conditioning. Here are a few things that help me get rid of some of the donuts and ice cream I consumed the last few months.
Pre season scouting
As the snow leaves the surrounding mountains, you should be out hiking in the woods, finding elk sign from last years rut. Also, spring time shed antler hunting can be a fun and very demanding activity that will get your lungs and legs refreshed and ready for the up and coming summer. Not only is it great exercise, but you may also gain some insite on what caliber of bulls are, or aren’t, in your area. If you’ve done your homework all winter searching topo maps and Google Earth, then you have picked out some hidden areas, or places you have never been before. Now is the time to break in that new pair of boots and cruise through the elk woods absorbing data and formulating a plan for fall.
We recently purchased an elliptical exercise machine. June 1st I plan on getting on that thing at least twenty minutes a day at first, and also pumping some iron with free weights. Get off that couch! Instead of sitting on the couch for a couple hours every week night all summer, I gather up the family and we take a nice walk in the cool evening air. At first the walks are shorter distances through the neighborhood and bike path, but by the end of August the walks have turned into long cross country speed-walks through the harvested farm fields next to my home. Sometimes I mix it up by loading fifty pounds on my pack frame to get my shoulders accustomed to packing meat.
Summer Time Fun
Every summer we take camping trips in areas that are relevant to where I want to hunt for elk. I take this opportunity to spend some time on trail improvement by removing dead fall and brush from my favorite hunting trails, or possible elk extraction trails. We also enjoy riding dirt bikes and ATVs, learning where unfamilier mountain roads cut through the landscape. Camping near water is a great way to give the rest of the family some refreshing fun away from the trail work and makes for a happier trip. I plan on hiking into some high mountain lakes with my son Austin this summer now that he is big enough to carry his own pack. This will help condition our body’s for hunting season and will prepare us for any up coming “Bivy” type hunts.
These are some of the ways I stay in shape all summer with my busy schedule. I’m not a marathon runner kind of guy (I wish I was) and if you’re like me, these fun activities keep me chasing big bulls in the fall!