I got a tune up on the huge disadvantage of a short range stickbow in wide open desert conditions…..and that I’m not nearly as limber in my 60’s as I was in my younger days. Its much harder to be stealthy creeping around on the desert floor, in fact I’m downright klutzy. I might have to take up Yoga!
With water puddles everywhere, Ambush was no longer an option. Getting 50yds was do-able…it was that extra 20 yds closer that proved to be the deal breaker.
Rant over. Its still a great feeling to spot deer in my 15’s, like opening a present on Christmas…..”There you are, got ya!” .
Welcome to mule deer spot and stalk hunting. It's how I cut my teeth deer hunting with a bow. I used to love it, but like you, now it's more painful than anything. But I still do it.
In the last stalk I had on a muley I almost fell over a couple times when trying to make slow, careful steps. It was ridiculous!
I'm 60, and I have noticed my balance isn't as good as it used to be. That could be because my center of gravity has shifted over the years, if you catch my drift. ;-)
I notice it a lot when I'm fishing in my small skiff. I used to walk around the open bow and rails, and crawl up on the poling platform like a monkey. Not so much any more. I have to be much more deliberate with my movements, or I'll end up in the water.
Its tough to accept because I used to be as nimble as Nureyev. But like most things that deteriorate with age, only so much we can do to counter it.
I think it’s just normal.
But don’t let it stop you from still going and doing or you are done !
Seriously Bruce...doing a simple Yoga Stretch ("Sun Salutations") as a daily routine, has been a game changer for me.
Been doing it for about 3 years now before my daily treadmill run, my knees no longer pop, and my flexibility is as good or better than it has been in a long time (I just turned 60 last year). A young kid I ran into on my solo elk hunt this Year, was amazed at my age, told me I "move like a 20 year old".
I also feel the posters pain,,,,, I gave up the recurve and went to a compound with 75 percent let off, at 66. For serious hunting, I had to consider, my accuracy and how I use to shoot,,,,,,,, I love to hunt, and do what you have to do
That said, when stalking a quote from Born to Run regarding trail running definitely applies "when running rough trails and deciding whether to take 1 step or two...take 3". It's a LOT easier to keep your balance with very short shuffling steps than big steps. And with short steps if one foot ends up slipping or beginning to feel noisy it's easy to regroup and adjust. With a big step, you're committed to that foot and there's no turning back...
Years ago I read a piece about an old man who practiced his balance every day by standing on one leg while he put on his socks, undies and pants. No extra time commitment so easy to do everytime. I find this helpful.
Check out this article especially the parts on CARs (controlled articular rotations). The leg movement is standing on one leg. Helps the joints as well as balance. Takes very little time. Great for first thing in the morning or before workout. https://journalofmountainhunting.com/five-steps-better-backpacking-prep-by-todd-bumgardner/
Yeah it's tough. I think it was The Duke who said it's even tougher when you're trad...... something like that.... heheheheh.... When you get in that close, unless you have some wind moving stuff around, I think getting drawn on deer is the toughest part. Gotta draw to shoot I'm told. Planets have to align. Seen the movie Dumb and Dumber? Soooo, what I'm saying is, you have a chance!
Balance slips a bit for sure, so to speak. Like stated above, exercises I never used to have to do help. For me worse yet was having to start wearing glasses a few years ago. First pair I got were progressives. Those sucked to put it kindly. I literally started having shooting issues right out of the gate, bow and shotgun. Missing easy stuff. Fought it for a year before getting some Oakleys (they do curved lens prescriptions) with single prescription and (until I had to read something) life was good again. Or almost. Problem now is all these glasses effect my depth perception, each differently.... walking by braille sometimes. Unintentional yoga...
Let me know how the yoga turns out! If nothing else I hear there is possibility of a bit more interesting company than in hunting camp. I mean, just tell me though..... don't need any Downward Dog pics...... =D
I prefer our workout room with rock and roll, with kettlebells, weights, band resistance, step ups, and leg strength exercises. That, and hiking on uneven ground. I do pretty good on our hikes but she usually kicks my butt, and walks faster than me, but is a foot shorter.
I do a lot of the same weight lifting stuff; bench, military, etc as Ive done since my 20’s….a change is definitely in order. My question; should I be trading my Kuiu Ascents for Lululemon?
Ive been stalking deer for 4 decades with a bow- love it. Honest assesment- I’m not very good at it. I did shoot an 80”+ Coues last year with my recurve…so its not all bad- grin
My all trad strategy is going to be more of a trad optional thing in tough conditions. Nothing wrong with a compound in those impossible situations.
Ive had a couple guys ask about these desert hunts. I like them but be advised; the deer density is typically much less. Finding pockets is even more important in the desert. I love 15’s on a tripod at daylight and dusk. Ive scanned with my 10x Swaros…nuthin…then scanned again with my 15x Meoptas and picked up multiple Coues deer on the same hillsides. Hand holding binos has limitations.
Calling works. My buddy has killed 2 really nice Coues bucks in the last 2 years with his Black widow recurve calling. He is one of the best deer hunters Ive ever seen. He adapts. He never picked up his recurve on our last hunt in those tough conditions.
Im also nursing that Plantar Faciatis so that didnt help in that country strewn with softball and head sized rocks.
I heard once as a rule of thumb stalking 1/10 mile in an hour was a good pace in cover. Less than that while in the open.
The older I get the slower I go, been quite a while since I snuck up on one without tripping over something or snapping a few branches, rolling over an ankle, etc. That said, hit the tip of the elbow on the bow arm last time I fell on the ice and it's affecting my shooting. Any exercises a guy should try??
Spotting for them through my 15s, they are in no hurry. My one buddy took a solid 4 hours plus to go around the mountain -1 hour, then 3 hours one foot at a time to creep in the 200 yds to get a shot on that buck. It exhausting just to watch them.
Part of my problem, besides my size 15's and being a big inflexible guy- I tend to go too fast.
I made a pretty good stalk on a decent buck last year and he decided to get up and move. I was rushing to get into shooting position on my knees....and my hammy locked up tight as a drum- I couldn't have drawn my recurve if my life depended on it.
Now I include Cytomax on every hunt- or try to...its the only thing that has helped me.
What made it possible was using my recurve like a cane to allow me to very slowly push the dry grass down with my feet. Try taking a cane/stick on these stalks. It will allow you to move much slower, helps the balance issue, and prevents falls.