Get in shape now and be a deer hunting machine this fall.
At this moment, time is on your side. Archery season opening days across the country are still a few months away, leaving plenty of time to unleash the deer hunting machine inside you.
It's there, it just needs development. But you don't have to be a 1980s Schwarzenegger to be a better hunter, just fit enough to out-hustle a buck. Here's what you need to get in shape for deer season.
Being strong helps you climb and maneuver around treestands quickly, quietly and safely. Strength allows you to shoot a heavier draw weight yielding more kinetic energy for a pass through on that unsuspecting granddaddy buck. You'll be able to draw your bow with minimal excess movement and drag your trophy out of the timber.
You don't need expensive weights or special equipment to get strong. Good old-fashioned pull-ups, push-ups, squats and other body-weight exercises can build muscle at home in your spare time.
You're going to have to be sharp sitting up in that treestand or scanning a field edge from your ground blind. Whitetail hunters also have to make multiple sound decisions to adapt to their changing environment. It only takes one bad choice to blow a chance at the deer of a lifetime.
In addition, mental fitness tends to make people more optimistic which helps get you up when the early alarm goes off and stay in the stand just a little longer at the end of the day.
Are you getting enough sleep? Most Americans (and by extension whitetail hunters) aren't and a clouded mind dulls your senses. Consider sleep a part of your mental fitness regimen. It'll motivate you to get to bed on time and not stay up so late. This may be the easiest component of all your conditioning.
Just go to bed!
Endurance will get you back into the deep, tangly, dark whitetail woods where you'll have the element of surprise. Extend your range from other hunters and push into unhunted ground by hiking farther in than anyone else is willing or capable. Also, the more endurance you have, the less likely you are to sweat, which helps minimize your scent profile.
Do cardio work like running, biking or high intensity walking. Bad knees? Consider getting to a pool for some low-impact training.
Part of a successful whitetail strategy is playing the numbers game. The more time you're hunting, the greater the odds that you'll encounter a bruiser. Stay in the game by reducing your risk of injury by becoming more durable through flexibility.
A good stretching program once a week will help you survive twisted joints and pulled muscles if you take a tumble. Condition your body to withstand those inevitable accidents.
Finally (you knew it was coming), you'll need to consider your nutrition. Chasing whitetails is real work and fueling up on gas station burritos (or anything else kept under a warming lamp) makes it hard to stay on top of your game.
If possible, prepare food ahead of time like almonds, Clif bars, jerky, fruit...all things that are real foods that will complement the conditioning you're doing. Make good choices if you have to stop at a restaurant for a meal.
Time is on your side...for a little while. Get to work now and come opening day, you'll be a deer hunting machine!
Images via Tim Kjellesvik