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Archery Tips

Getting in Shape for Backcountry Hunting

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When it comes to backcountry hunting two things that come to mind are fitness and nutrition. As a previous NCAA Division 1 athlete I have extensive knowledge and experience with both. I attended numerous conferences on the subject, worked with trainers and coaches, and experienced first hand how these two aspects of training play an important role when its game time. The only difference for me is that this time game time isn’t sitting at the starting line with Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and CalBerkeley at the IRA National Championships – this time the game begins at the base of the mountain in the backcountry.

There’s no doubt about it, no matter what physical condition you are in, hunting the backcountry is rough and will give anyone a good beating. The difference between those who succeed and those who fail – and we’re not talking about harvesting game here – is the preparation before the hunt. Hunting is not a once a year affair. In fact, pre-season training begins the day after the season closes. Long strenuous hikes require preparation in the form of both cardio exercise and strength training. Running on a treadmill everyday is great, but if you can get outside and run in conditions that represent the conditions you expect when you are hunting it is better. If you’re going to be climbing mountains don’t spend all of your time running on flat ground, make sure you run up hill too – preferably both ways! I know it sounds like torture, but keep your end goal in mind. The harder you train now, the longer you’ll last in the backcountry and the less of a chance you’ll have of being tired and making a poor decision when the moment of truth arrives. I try to run a few miles a day, usually between 3 and 5 miles. It doesn’t take that long and you should be able to easily accomplish this in 45 minutes or less. Just make sure you stretch and warm up with a brisk walk before getting into your run. The same goes for when you have completed your run – make sure you walk off the lactic acid that has built up in your legs and stretch again to loosen your muscles. If you’re not into running try biking or swimming, both will help your lungs and give you a full body workout.

As far as strength training is concerned, we’re not trying to be Mr. Universe here and you don’t want to bulk up and decrease your range of motion. Taking supplements like creatine which make your muscles retain water and expand are not going to help you in the backcountry even though the ladies at the beach might disagree. Again, make sure that you stretch both before and after your workout. If you have time I prefer creating a five day workout plan with a day for arms, legs, shoulders, back, and chest – I also do an abdominal exercises every day. It is important to note that you must workout every muscle group in order to achieve your maximum strength capabilities. If you don’t have the time for a five day workout plan a three day cycle will suffice. For this I prefer back/bicepts, chest/tricepts, shoulders/legs with abs done every day. Each muscle group gets 3 different excercises. Each exercise gets has three sets with 8 – 12 reps and an increase in weight (between 5 and 10lbs depending on the muscle group – arms would get 5lbs, chest would get 10lbs). For example, for arms I would do 3 sets of 8 hammer curls, 3 sets of 8 cable curls, and 3 sets of 8 preacher curls.

If you haven’t worked out in awhile don’t over do it. Don’t be afraid to do hammer curls with 15lb dumbbells while the meat head next to you is using 45lbs. Start light and know that it will get easier once you get into a routine. The next day you can expect to be sore, but as you go through your 3 or 5 day cycle more and more you will get less and less sore. What’s happening here is that when you work out you actually tear you muscles and then repair themselves, which in essence is why your muscles increase in size.

The last part of getting in shape and staying in shape is eating healthy. If you stick to your workout plan and run and lift regularly you will get into better shape, but if you eat take out food three times a day, you’ll be carrying along more weight in fat in the backcountry than you will need to and in the end you will be the one who looses as your body works harder to get you from point A to point B.

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Archery Tips

Keep Your Bowhunting Skills Sharp with 3D Shooting

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Over the last few weekends we’ve been headed over to Blue Mountain Sportsman Center to shoot 3D. The course has been a lot of fun to shoot. There’s several targets to shoot at including deer, turkey, bear, and fox. The terrain makes it very realistic practice for hunting with shots at inclines and declines to simulate actual hunting scenarios.

One thing I like to do is shoot from the furthest stakes and guess the yardage. Then after we all shoot we range the target to see how close we were to guessing the distance. This really helps me to learn how to judge distance in the field and is a valuable tool for when an animal catches you off guard in the field. Shooting from the furthest stakes also make the closer shots seem easier.

If you haven’t been out shooting 3D this summer then you better hurry up and get out there because hunting season will be here before you know it. Blue Mountain Sportsman Center is open Thursday – Sunday and holidays. Shooting a round of 3D costs $12 with a county park pass and is $15 without a park pass.

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Archery Tips

Indoor Archery Leagues at Extreme Archery

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Team NYB will be joining the Hunter League at Extreme Archery set to begin on September 3rd. The Hunter League will be held on Fridays for 6 weeks and feature various animal targets.

We’re looking forward to participating in the league and sharpening our skills for the upcoming season. The indoor league is a great way to meet fellow archers and practice shooting under a little bit of pressure!

Here are the details on the Indoor Archery Leagues at Extreme Archery:

Kids League ($70, 8 weeks)
– begins Saturday, September 4th @ 10:00am

300 Target League ($90, 7 weeks)
– begins Wednesday, September 1st @ 6:30pm

Hunter League ($90, 6 weeks)
– begins Friday, September 3rd @ 6:30pm

Traditional League (TBD)
– call to find out more

To sign up for any of the Indoor Archery Leagues call Extreme Archery at 914-777-7500.

Extreme Archery is located at 801 East Boston Post Rd, Mamaroneck, NY 10543.

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Archery Tips

How to Set the Perfect Treestand

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This is something new I’m adding to my arsenal of tricks this season to help me set the perfect stand (works for trail cams too)! It’s called the Photographer’s Ephemeris, a tool designed to help landscape photographers take the perfect picture at sunrise or sunset.

The tool allows you to pick a location, date and time to see exactly where the sun and moon will be. This allows you to follow the path of the sun and moon on any given date and at any given time.

So how does this help the hunter? Simple. It allows the hunter to find a stand location on the map and then see how the sun will rise and set during the hunting season so that the sun is never in the hunter’s eyes.

I entered the location of our lease in the program and changed the date to opening day. Where we have our stands situated is in the perfect spot with the sun rising to our right and circling behind us before setting to our left. That means if the deer are out in the hunting plot where we hope to shoot them we will have the sun behind us which will make it much harder for the deer to pick us out of the tree.

This is a great tool I will be playing around with more and more this season as I hang some tree stands over the next few weeks. Below is a video on how it works:

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