Seeking help from all members.....

Finsandtines

Very Active Member
Jun 16, 2015
556
81
Florida
Hey all,

I'm looking for some feedback from every member on the forum for a project I'm going to work on. Who knows it could benefit everyone on here!

I know hunting out west requires very good physical conditioning in most cases. Regardless of your style of hunting, or your level of fitness, I am curious to know what each of you find to be the most difficult or physically demanding part(s) of the hunt. This could be simply climbing up the tree stand, climbing over deadfall, hiking downhill, the 2000 vertical foot climb every day to your glassing spot, or running after your dogs hunting bears or hogs. You get the point.....think about the things you struggled the most with in the past or present. Feel free to send a PM if it's something you're not comfortable posting for all to see. Talk to your hunting buddies that may not be on the forum, coworkers, etc. I would greatly appreciate anyone and everyones help on this.

And if you haven't started getting in shape already, let's get it going, opening day will be here soon in unit near you! How many days til the archery opener Slugz?
 
Last edited:

Slugz

Veteran member
Oct 12, 2014
3,551
2,028
53
Woodland Park, Colorado
148 days and a wake up sir!

The most difficult or physically demanding part for me is mental. I figured out the physical portion even though it changes every few years depending on age, injury or GMU we hop into. I just change my PT plan a little to suite the terrain.

For me developing a mental game plan was key....it helped me a lot by keeping a log book on me 24 hours a day from Aug 1 till Sep 30th, regardless where I was I'd be writing in it. I have the luxury now of spending a good amount of time in the woods but before I was on that 10-14 day clock to get it done...I didn't want to leave the woods knowing I didn't do everything possible to get an animal down....for me that was fun......and most years I wasn't even the one with the tag.

I think the 1st 48 hours in camp are critical to having the game plan set in order to flex from there depending on what happened. Weather rolling in was another lesson learned. I love hunting in the rain in September.....everyone else is sitting in camp and my son and I are still getting down the trail an hour before before first light. It took me a few years to realize that but it takes the correct mental attitude to get moving out of camp in weather. Everyone talks a mean game, but I see different in the woods every year.

Next was what I called the 4-5 day hump. Everyone can hunt hard for 48 hours.....numbers get smaller at 72 hours...then at 96 hours really drop off.....I had a "ahah" moment one year in camp when 2 years in a row the same two older gentlemen rolled in the second weekend or last few days of Colorado muzzleloader.......both years they wack a cow/bull and are packing out within 24 hours.....I thought it was the area they were going down the trail into until one year I filled a tag early then went high and glassed a bunch and saw the very noticeable vacancy of orange after 96 hours. It took a year or two until I put that together " with the help of the notebook" those animals got pushed opening day, hunters got tired and slowed down about day 5, didn't hunt hard and get away from camp....and the animals made their cycle back to their happy place. All that being said I figured I should capitalize on that and ensure I had men/women in camp that hunted hard like me, so for 10 days we went at it. Now when in myself I have a plan to ensure I don't slow down. Lots of animals in the log book went down on day 4-5. Data from the logbook.

So for me mental.....having a good starting point/plan.....knowing that after 4-5 days my body is gonna want to slow me down......and hunting in the weather. Each year I make sure I have those checked off the list. Courtesy of the logbook! Hope that helps.
 

Gr8bawana

Veteran member
Aug 14, 2014
2,611
481
Nevada
For me climbing up the mountain is getting harder every year. Now that I am retired I work out 3 times a week, cardio and weights so the last 2 years have been much better as far as conditioning. Since I live a 2700 ft elevation it takes a couple of days to get acclimated to the 7-11,000 foot mountains we usually hunt. At 53 I figure I still have about 15 good years of being able to climb those mountains. We have to hike up from the bottom because there are no roads past the foothills.DSCN1226.jpg
 

nebowhunter

Member
Mar 10, 2011
94
0
Northeast Nebraska
Acclimating to the altitude above 10000 ft coming from around 1000. Also struggle keeping going on a routine after the hunting season is over. even knowing its easier to stay in shape then getting in shape.
 

ivorytip

Veteran member
Mar 24, 2012
3,760
30
41
SE Idaho
my hardest thing to deal with is the walk back down a steep mountain. I can get up just fine, the down part gets me every time.
 

Brianh

Member
Jan 1, 2013
98
0
Rhinelander, WI
Coming from the Midwest there is nothing I can do to acclimate. I bike and cross country ski marathons so I have really good cardio. But I suck air at anything above a few thousand feet. Learning to take it slowwwwww the first two days is critical. And in elk hunting, I've learned its all about not wasting energy. Its not a sprint, its a marathon. And as above, getting past day 3 is critical to me. I always feel lousy on the morning of day 3, but that's when I really get my rhythm and my fitness comes back. And as above, I really don't like hiking down hill, as its hard on my back. And sleep...is very hard for me on an air mattress. I use Tylenol pm every nite as sleep is so important.
 

Matthoek21

Veteran member
Mar 18, 2011
1,904
0
Peachtree City, GA.
Sitting down sucks. We are so used to pulling up a chair and having a seat. In the backcountry in order to sit down you have to sit on the ground, and the ground is so uncomfortable. It's like doing a burpee to rest. Like my dad always said everything is harder in the back country, brushing your teeth, getting water, putting your shoes on...etc. Going down hill was always harder on my knees and also like slugz said, mental toughness after day 3. I've had several buddy's and family members give up early. Best characteristic to have, is to love being miserable. Once your happy being miserable your a happy elk hunter! Or western back country hunter. Everything is relative.
 

JimP

Veteran member
Mar 28, 2016
6,647
7,726
69
Gypsum, Co
Sitting on the ground has never been a problem for me. I'll sit in one place and glass for hours and if all the animals are bedded down mid day I'll lay down on the ground and take a nap. Sometimes getting back up is a problem.

I used to say that when I was young I could run up these mole hills that they call the Rocky Mountains, then I started to jog up them, then I just slowly walked up them. Now that I am in my 60's I just poke up them, but as I tell everyone with me "I'll get there it just takes me a little bit longer"

For me the biggest problem is going downhill. All my years climbing telephone poles, ladders, and crawling around on my knees has taken it's toll. Going up them is no problem, my body and legs are willing but old age creeps up on you and smacks you with a log as far as my lung capacity is concerned. I found out a few years ago that I only have 3/4's of my normal lung capacity and that hurts when headed up one of those mole hills.
 

Finsandtines

Very Active Member
Jun 16, 2015
556
81
Florida
This is great! Keep it coming.... For the 79 viewers that didn't reply, feel free to just add one word responses! Climbing, descending, sitting, breathing......etc. thanks for the responses thus far. My intent for this is to help everyone......in time.

Matt and Pete, no bee pattern answers!:)
 

HeartElk1

Active Member
Mar 30, 2011
193
0
The pack out (retrieval) after successful hunts. Very rewarding but hard on the body getting all the extra weight out no matter what method you are able to use -- pack, game cart, dragging, etc. You'll likely stress parts of your body you weren't even aware of. Well worth it though.
 

DRUSS

Active Member
Jun 22, 2014
464
95
nw oregon
Getting used to altitudes, live close to sea level. Mental drive to keep going in no matter the weather ,soreness from the day before, or getting in the last evening of the last day.
 

marshmstr

Member
Nov 27, 2014
105
0
Port Allen, LA
Overdoing it on day one...when we normally drive 20+ hours straight and l live and train at a whopping nose bleeding height of 22' above sea level, I tend to over exert myself day one when I'm already exhausted from the drive....I just can't help myself though.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

WELDO

New Member
Jan 1, 2016
47
0
For me its the constant glassing and mental acutness needed to locate what I'm after. Staying at it and keeping optamistic even when times are bleak are my challenges .
 

RICMIC

Veteran member
Feb 21, 2012
1,819
1,456
Two Harbors, Minnesota
Definitely, packing game out is the toughest part. I never make the drive non-stop, and always sleep as high as I can (even in a motel) before the pack in. Then be the turtle and not the hare. I find it is easiest when hunting solo, as I can set my own pace and there is no "competition. Properly packing meat and hiking poles are my saving grace. And the biggest lesson learned....don't take any shortcuts unless you absolutely KNOW where it goes and what the terrain is like.
 

mnhoundman

Veteran member
Oct 25, 2012
1,262
67
Minnesota
Definitely, packing game out is the toughest part. I never make the drive non-stop, and always sleep as high as I can (even in a motel) before the pack in. Then be the turtle and not the hare. I find it is easiest when hunting solo, as I can set my own pace and there is no "competition. Properly packing meat and hiking poles are my saving grace. And the biggest lesson learned....don't take any shortcuts unless you absolutely KNOW where it goes and what the terrain is like.
Exactly this! Packing out is definitely tough for us that don't do it enough, the long drive and what really gets me is being so excited we take off and burn ourselves out!

We also learned to follow the GPS trail until your ready to leave. On our first backpack hunt we took off up the mountain like race horses only to find a cliff and going all the way back down to the trail. Needless to say we follow the trails now!!
Another is gassing like others have stated, we don't do that here in mn so it is probably the toughest thing to do for us for hours, but we are getting a little better at it.
Just trying not to let the animals get the best of you, we drive so far and are so excited to get on n the mountain by the time we get there we are mentally and physically drained, just need to relax, replenish and enjoy the hunt, that's a big one!!
 

LaHunter

Active Member
Aug 24, 2012
322
0
N.E. LA
1) The 24 hour straight through drive to my hunting destination
2) Climbing steep grades in general. Seems like the first 10-15 minutes of the first climb of the morning is toughest, then I seem to get my second wind and I am usually good the rest of the day, as long as I pace myself.
3) Acclimating to 9000+ ft of elevation. I live at about 100 ft above sea level
 

JimP

Veteran member
Mar 28, 2016
6,647
7,726
69
Gypsum, Co
I do have to admit that I feel for the hunter that lives at sea level or under 1000'.

While I live at 6500' I can just imaging what you feel like when you get up to 9000'+