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Did The Mountains Kick Your Butt!
So, how'd you do this year. Were you in shape & felt great everyday you hunted? Did you wish you trained earlier & longer? Who's still training/working out right now in prep of next elk season?
I hunted in an area that was much gentler terrain, than the stuff I'm used to. I still trained all Year, my usual routine.
I ran the crap out of those mountains, and felt great!
And I was chasing Jeff. He isn’t lying.
Was in good shape, but it kicked my butt anyway. And I would not have it any other way ...
Made it a successful hunt but the mountains with the pack out kicked my butt.
Mountains didn't kick my ass. The elk sure did!
I didn't do nearly as much interval training as I usually do. Typical lame excuse (work, life etc). I still manage to get some hilly running in and tough hikes in a few times a week. Overall I felt good in the mountains. Not great though.
My successful deer hunt was in very challenging terrain but I felt good (not great). Brought a newbie from the midwest to experience elk hunting for the first time in mid-October. He will archery elk hunt soon and leveraged my hunt as a learning tool. He kept up well. Actually, I'm glad he wasn't in fantastic shape! We lucked out and had the EASIEST packout of my life...because I screwed up! Actually got busted and pushed a huge herd .63 miles from camp. One thing I didn't train for...packing out a very, very lopsided load! Felt like I had one too many drinks.
Last Friday my kid shot a buck. That packout was harder than I anticipated. She's 14 and could easily keep up. Pretty sure that mean's I was slacking.
We still have one more elk hunt left (daughters late rifle Wasatch LE elk tag)...so I better keep at it!
I was too busy trying to keep the cost of my arrow down.
Jeff, way to be bud! You were always a work out guy, looks like it's paying off well. Nothing like commanding the mtns instead of the other way around! (grin)
Way to go guys, no doubt whether it's the mtns, the elk, or the packout they show no mercy!! Sometimes it's a hell of a grind!
Jason, yes sir that is a lopsided load, fortunately not lots of timber & downfall to negotiate! Well done on the critters, congrats!
I did pretty good. But I'll be honest, the two times I've gone Day 4 has been when I started feeling fatigue in my legs. But it never caused me to stop hunting.
Steve, you're not alone my friend, that too is my biggest weakness. I try pretty hard every year through running & leg workouts to better myself but it's still my weakness. No doubt if we did nothing things could be worse! (grin) I do know one thing 'The Elk Don't Care' if I don't try to be in top shape! Ha Ha!
I thought I was doing fine until some trail runners with only a camelback on went running through. Miles into a wilderness area and they had miles to run before getting back into town that day. Up and over a 12k plus ridge they ran. They just ran up a ridge we dreaded climbing to our honey hole:( of course they were 30 years younger but it was a Dose of reality.
I keep telling myself I need to "hunt smarter, not harder" as I get older, but the damn elk aren't having it :^(
Physically I was ready and felt great. However, on about day 3 I started getting tired much quicker. It was unusual and never happened like that before. I suspect it had a lot to do with my diet, (1st backpack hunt). Maybe not enough carbs/protein or not right mix? Thoughts?
I felt good. But My last evening coming out was really tough. Picked up the wrong game trail in the dark and before I knew it, I was well below my intended course. It was a bit over 2 miles so I figured I’d just angle up every trail I came to going that direction. Well the trail I was on plunged much deeper then I assumed, and I never crossed a trail angling up. I ended up about 800 feet below the road.
None of this would have been an issue but, my wife was setting there in the truck waiting on me where she had dropped me off that morning. I’m already an hour late and, had to go back up through the nastiest mess I’d purposely stayed away from the whole hunt. Because you couldn’t have killed an elk at 5 yards. Seriously.
So, when I corrected my route, I came up out of there in a big hurry. I was literally exhausted when I made the road. My wife was wrung out with worry too which didn’t make things any better. That’s why I hate when someone who doesn’t hunt, goes on a hunting trip.
Anyways, it was day 10. And, we were set to leave the next morning. But, for the first time on the trip, when I rolled out the next morning, I was fatigued in my legs.
I quit tracking miles halfway through the day on day 4. I was at 39 then. I slowed down as days went on because I had found elk. But, I’m guessing I put close to 65 miles on in 10 days of hunting. I didn’t realize how tired I was until driving home.
Love it. Felt great all season. Made a few changes this spring and it helped. Can’t wait for my next adventure . Nebraska here I come !! Hunt
I was able to get around pretty good but my legs had a really hard time recovering after a few days. I just felt like I had lactic acid build up that wouldnt go away. Maybe I should look at some supplements.
Nope. Rarely went more than 2 miles from the cabin, spent time sneaking around easy ground looking for a mule deer for my 12 year old. Worked a few bulls but didnt close the deal. Slept in a soft bed, ate like kings and had a blast.
Worked out mid summer for work related stuff, but I don’t train as much as I should. That said I go into beast mode when the time comes for the mountains. I can’t really explain it other than an intense drive that pushes my body past the limits it thinks it has. 17 days straight in the back country was definitely grueling, but that was nothing compared to the one day of rifle hunting I had yesterday. Shot a bull early in the morning. Took me six hours to find him thinking I hadn’t killed him, only to walk up on him in his bed six steps away! Finished him off and ended up packing him out. 21 hours from the time I woke up to hunt till the time I got home and got everything unloaded. The six hours of constant up-and-down hiking looking for him with basically no breaks definitely took its toll. Between the hiking and the horses, my knees and back are feeling the affects of the past month.
The chiropractor’s always amazed how bad my back is after I get done in the mountains. I just tell her that’s what wearing a pack for six hours a day, for over two weeks straight, will do. Add in the bino harness pulling on the front and you’ve got all sorts of fun Pains and aches! As hard and as rough as it is, it is immensely satisfying when you’re successful. The pain lets you know you’re alive and getting to do something most people can’t even think of doing.
It’s amazing what the body can do when the mind pushes it where it doesn’t want to go.
Along the lines of what midwest said...the mountains didn’t kick my butt, however hauling my elk out of those mountains certainly did!
The mountains usually don't kick my ass, and yes I am in training for next years elk hunt. This year I just watched them, wishing I was hunting. I lost weight due to an illness but now I am in better shape than in a long time because of it. Crushed all the hikes is year.
The altitude bothered me a bit this year on my earlier hunt. Early each day i had a short acclamation period where my heart rate was rise faster then it should have for the level of Exertion that I put out. It would quickly pass and then I would be at baseline the rest or the day. I felt it got better as the days went on leading me to believe it had more to do with the Altitude then my conditioning.
I felt really good this year. For the last few years I quit trying to get in shape and just stayed in shape all year. What a difference! I bump things up in June July and August but that's just adding some extra running biking and pack workouts to what I'm already doing.
My buddy has two young kids at home and struggled to find time to workout as much as he wanted to. He could tell.
Our second bull required a whoping 1/4 mile pack out, which also made things easier.
need to find a workout for over 65 . We had one canyon, when we went down and got into elk and climb back-out i could not convince anyone to go down with me again.
Great to hear so many had their workouts pay off in a big way! Packing out elk usually is no picnic, putting it in veggie mode sometimes is the best thing to do it can help get us through the grind! I packed out 3 different bulls this year & it doesn't get any funner but I wouldn't trade it for anything. 63 & still giving it my all!
WV, you may want to consider an inreach mini & bluetooth it to your phone. It comes with an APP called earthmate you can download free from garmin. It would be next to impossible to get turned around with it, it's damn cool plus you can text your wife with it!
HUNTMAN, you don't count! You're far to young to compare too! (big grin) Good luck in Nebraska, must be a muley hunt?
goelk, I'm 63 & have a pretty solid workout I do year around, it helps me out quite a bit, if interested let me know & I'll be happy to share it!
Heat was brutal but I own the mountains ;). I can't get enough!
For my last hunt in 2016 I felt like I had found the right combination of work out vs. pack training. This year though by late August my body was so beat up I was wore out before I left. It was probably all the stress I was enduring for the previous 7 months and working hundreds of hours of overtime.
It didn't effect the outcome of my hunt as the drought killed my plans. Even though I had a great time exploring new country. I could not help being disappointed in the fact I never even worked a bull. I do believe I am going to start doing some pack training all year though.
I found that there is a lot less oxygen at 12,000’ than I remember from years ago.
I guess I’m lucky. My legs are my strong point. Solid as a rock. My mindset, whiis what drives the body, is rock solid too. My job is very physical so in a way I work out every day. I eat right too. For those reasons I don’t dedicate time to working out per say.
I trained for several gravel cycling events this year including the 206 mile Dirty Kanza, so I was in fine shape. What amazed me was my buddy, who did no working out, and did really well considering.
I wasn't in as good of shape as I should've been, but got lucky and scored on day 3.
I'm in much better shape now, been hitting the YMCA like a madman.
The altitude was the only thing that affected me but it was only for a couple days. I did pack two elk out but both packouts weren't that bad. The first was two trips a little under 2 miles the second was closer to 4 miles but downhill the whole way. That one my legs did get a little tired because halfway back one of my buddies packs busted and so I added his load to mine the rest of the way. Glad I bought a new pack this year for that because the one I have used in the past would have killed me
70 yrs old ,hunt co unit 62, packed in. Did just fine passed on a cow at fourty yds with my recurve.
Been dealing with planter fasciitis since Aug and that has really put a major crimp in this year bowhunting. Dealt with busted ribs last year and got by but planter fasciitis is really restrict one's mobility.
I hear you jjs!!! I've got it in both feet right now and it sucks!!!
These old catchers knees are my limiting factor!
I started training late June, which is too late, and had hip problems. Later diagnosed as calcium deposits on tendons. Anyhow, I did not train. Camped at 10400 which is as high as i have ever camped for elk. Breathing hard just setting up camp. But to my surprise, my son and I hiked almost anywhere. This was at the rock pile in UT, trust me that there are places nobody should go. I an still confounded as I have had tougher going 20 years ago when I started out in better shape. When the pack out ended up being doable, it was all icing on the cake. I have been doing this for over 40 years and I will get the hip working better hopefully, but I am encouraged that maybe I have another 5 elk hunts left. When I could not train i took off 13 #'s.
Felt like I was in great shape, hiking hard and efficiently with my new Mystery Ranch pack. Then, I all-out sprinted 200yd across a flattop @ 12k’ (in an attempt to intercept 2 bulls) which was humbling!
A little slow this year. Too much time down in the low country (Denver) over the summer driving a desk in an office.
Certainly felt it up at 12k poking around for deer the few days I was able to get out last year.
Much easier when I get to spend all my time up in the hills.
This work thing must be for people that don’t hunt! At least not the guys that want to hunt treeline mulies!
I trained at Dairy Queen. Took it for granted I was hunting very easy terrain. After 2 weeks of hunting I was definitely in better shape then when I got there.
I’d just come off of a sheep hunt and hunted a lower level unit than usual so it was pretty easy.
I did great physically this year, but Montana and the elk kicked my rear. I was on the mtn up there 25 days from Aug 29th through Oct 3rd. One of the funnest and most trying elk season's I've ever had. Here's what 50 days looks like in the most south western corner of the state. https://youtu.be/nZOtwhhKsBE
Think I'm going to spend my 10 points in Wyoming next year :)
Seven weeks guiding and one week hunting on my own so far. Two more weeks to go. Feeling pretty strong at this point. I would have to say the sleep deprivation is actually the most difficult thing for me. It really throws off my eating habits and I get stupid and lose stuff. It gets better as the season goes on. A lot less daylight now than there was in early Sept. The other thing that I really notice as I get older is that I need longer recovery time. I feel like I can do just about as much as ever on any given day, but after too many in a row I am really fatigued. Good luck to all that are still hunting.
Spent the spring and summer prepping for a sheep hunt. Sure made a big difference during elk season. Time to sit in a treestand now, but planning to keep hitting the gym when I get back from vacation. I've read on Bowsite...the best way to get in sheep shape is to stay in sheep shape...and figure that applies to elk too!
Re altitude: I live at 45 feet above sea level all summer. So, I carry an oxygen canister in my pack/saddle bags when hunting. The canisters are aluminum, about the size of a water bottle, and weigh nothing. I only use them very occasionally. Work great. There may be an overdose factor, because I was singing on the hike off the mountain at one thirty in the morning, and I can't sing a lick.
John, LOL! Where can I get that! (grin)
pav, X2! No doubt staying in shape year around is the recipe I've used for years. Still hittin it now getting ready for Sept.!
No, but my wife’s broken leg sure did.
My body felt pretty good the whole time and I never got worn down. But it still amazes me how little distance I can cover before needing to stop to catch my breath.
I hung out with Jeff(elkmtngear) and deertick this year as well. I train all year but i still have to chase Jeff around the damn mountains. Only time he slows down is when he gets loaded with 80-100lbs of meat! I am leaving for NW Montana elk/deer in a couple of days. Hoping my training holds out!!
I shoot an email to you elknut1. Thanks
8 day Montana moose hunt in Gallatin range. Yes the mountain kicked my butt big time. Now I know why some refer to Shiras at mountain moose. Was either up or down tough going for eastern flat lander. Was not in shape nor will Could I ever be . Do what you can do with what you have to work with. I thought going up slope would be the hardest it was slower than going down slope but going down is harder on the body the knees the hips and to my suprise the toes. Toenails turned black and blue . If it wasn’t for past picture stories of other Bowsiters I would have been puzzled as to what happen. Didn’t get any blisters but constant pressure on toes going down slope has its affect on toes. Kept at it slower than most would tolerate and finally got it done. Contracted a packer to bring moose out . And riding a horse on steep mountain trails is no fun either if your not conditioned for it. Have new found respect for guides that do it for weeks on end. Need to prepare as much for horse back hunt as a back back if you want walk upright after a week in a horse.
Heck of a bull, Huntcell!
Was in pretty good shape....still training...woodland caribou hunt coming up that will be a tough hunt. These bogs are not getting any easier.
Did good....still sucked......but it sucked less than other years. WTG Will.......I'd like to say the same someday but I know better. LOL
Way to get it done Huntcell, very nice!
Thanks & good luck to you who still have hunts!
Nothing too bad. Packing meat fitness was not utilized, but all went well. Nothing a mid day nap couldn't fix.
Adequate during September. My hunting partner has gotten the spartan race bug. We train for those in July and August. He talked me into doing the 12+ miler in December... so yes I’m still training.
At 53 I did excellent on CO this year chasing elk everyday. The only problem I had was dry air causing blood crusts inside nostrils. No other negative effect for this flat-lander running from 9000 to 12000 feet and back almost every day. Ohh, I lost about 12 lbs in 3 weeks and did not go hungry at all.
I’m almost 50 and went to CO on my first elk hunt this season. I’ve been in good shape my whole life, gym, exercise, active etc. I added heavy pack training several months before the trip to get ready. Everything was fine but my left knee really started to hurt after about 5 miles. I’ve never had knee problems before, and my hunting pack was much lighter than the training pack. So I can only guess that it was the elevation changes. One of the downsides to being a flat lander I suppose...
Hmm, confused here? How would elevation make ones knee hurt? Is it possible the mountains offered a different terrain on your knee than it was used to training with back home?
Ibuprofen & keep trucking! (grin) Thanks!
I knew I would be packing a lot of meat this year for others so I spent the 60 days before my Idaho hunt backpacking everyday. I put between 40 and 80 pounds of salt in my pack and hiked at 4 in the morning (between 4 and 11 miles).
This was the first time I had done any Pack training to go with my usual running and swimming. It paid off. So far we have packed three elk and 2 mule deer with one more hunt to go.
The mule deer were on the same day. I had the close one (1.5mi) out at 12:30 and the far one off by 4:30 (2.7mi).
Longest hiking day during the mule deer hunt was 17.95 mi. Granted that was in Montana at 4000 feet.
At 53, I need to work out all year at something to keep up (or ahead) of the youngsters.
ElkNut-yes, terrain/hills is what I meant. I don’t know what else could have caused my knee pain, since my pack was lighter and we hiked less than my training. Ibuprofen didn’t seem to help much. It sucks getting old! mg
mg, yes it does but I look at it as another challenge! My left knee & calf have giving me issues for several years now but no way will I allow it to keep me from elk hunting! I'd have to be on crutches first! (grin) I've found that jogging has helped, it hurts on every step but I grind through it knowing The Elk Don't Care! I'm not ready to toss the proverbial towel in yet, Ha Ha there's always Treestanding too! Good Luck to you, I hope your knee issue was just temporary!
Hunted Idaho for the first time this year. Felt great, hunted hard every day, no real issues. The elk weren't vocal at all, but still found animals everyday and just about killed a bull. It was a great hunt and can't wait to hunt again next year! So much of it is mental, your body is capable of far more than you think if you just keep going!
I don't care how good of shape I'm in, the mountains always kick my butt! Everything to do with hydration, diet and sleep. Can never get enough with my style of hunting.
Never been better. Felt great all year but I wasn't in the Elk mountains, just sheep hills & stuff.
Felt good, solo packed a bull out of a hell hole, but since then have gotten out of shape again sitting in a treestand hunting whiteys. Too many peanutbutter snickers and Pepsi!
Nick Muche's Link
Ya those PBJ's & snickers would be pretty tempting! Crud though what else is there to do in that down time while sitting! (grin)
Nick, awesome! What would you say was the most helpful aspect of your workout to prepare you?
Paul, it's my goal every year to get a better PT score than all my much younger troops. So I spend my free time running and I kick their ass every year. The mountains are pretty easy compared to that, it's mostly mental anyhow.
Nick, thanks! When you say you run what kind of distances are we talking here? I've been doing 3-1/2 miles every other day & it helped a bunch this elk season. My legs felt great & I had no real limitations until I had a 100# on my back, I hunted 24 days out of 30. Then 3 miles of downfall & up & down elevations with the 100# I could feel my legs weaken but upper body was solid as a rock. A 2nd bull was 4.5 miles but we had a lot of trail & that wasn't nearly as bad. I want to do better though! -- I need to buy back some youth! (grin) Thanks bud!
I do anywhere from 5-12 each day depending on how I feel. Nothing quick but I get it done and feel great doing it. I run every day I'm at work, if I'm off of work I'm hunting or doing other stuff.
They didn't kick my butt, but it did take a little longer to get to the top. Seems even harder coming straight down anymore than up.
hawkeye, I hear ya bud, downhill is definitely tough for me especially when loaded with meat but it beats straight up hill with same load! (grin)
They did not. I was in the best shape of my life, but to be fair I only called for others, and only had to pack out 2 this year.