Mountain Strongon Feb 12, 2013
While a good deal of mid-western bowhunters are engaged in shed hunting or contemplating next year’s food plot design, I’m spending the off-season in a different way. You see, for the “Mountain” bowhunter you either get stronger…..or you get left behind.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking the Midwestern way of bowhunting whitetails. However, contrary to popular belief there are those of us that actually chase whitetails in mountainous terrain. And with that different type of terrain there are a different set of rules to live by and a different set of obstacles to overcome. Therefore, the off-season (if there is such a thing) usually begins with physical preparation. However, don’t kid yourself because there are so many more things to consider.
While many bowhunters spend the off-season in seclusion or engaged in “low-impact” activities, the Mountain bowhunter must keep moving forward or fall behind.
By the time January rolls around you realize just how much fun you’ve had over the holidays. And, while I do my best to eat healthy (clean) year round, I am after all…only human. This typically equates to a few extra pounds of adipose tissue (fat) sitting firmly on my gut by New Year’s Day. However, 2012 was different. Just 2 weeks before opening day of bow season I suffered a devastating knee injury that almost ruined my entire year. Although I managed to fill my tags, I failed to train at all for a solid 3 months (other than shooting). Needless to say there were more calories going in than there were going out….which equated to more lbs. finding its way to my mid-section.
A lot of guys think of upper-body when considering workout routines; and that's fine. However, for Mountain terrain remember “the legs feed the wolf”.
Fast forward to the present day; my knee is operating at about 75% and I am finally training on a daily basis. Why train this hard, this time of the year, when bow season is so far off? It’s simple really….”Mountain” Bowhunting isn’t easy and sitting around feeling sorry for oneself doesn’t make it any easier. In addition, to be consistently successful on mature mountain bucks you have to go further and harder than the next guy. Otherwise, you will take the easy route which leads to mostly yearling deer or unfilled tags at best. Not that tagging small bucks is a crime, but I enjoy the challenge of trying to kill older, wiser bucks. I enjoy the “chess match” as much as the final outcome and lazy just doesn’t fit into the overall procedure of things. Embrace the Grind, Reap the Reward is my mantra.
The Road Less Traveled
To put it plainly, you’ve got to be in good physical condition to be successful in the mountains; there are no shortcuts. Daily workouts include a.m. cardio sessions and p.m. weight training sessions. Of course none of that really does much good if I’m constantly trying to fuel my body with junk food. Quality protein and low GI carbs are the norm. Yes, it’s a sacrifice when everyone around me is enjoying everything at their fingertips. But, the results are well worth it. They hang on my wall, linger in my mind, and adorn my screensaver from time to time.
"Mountain" bowhunting (and training for that type of environment) places certain demands on a hunter. Be sure to refuel your body with quality supplements.
In all honesty, I believe that had I not been in the shape I was in when I injured my knee in September I probably wouldn’t have had enough “gas in the tank” or sustained enough leg muscle to push through the pain of traversing the mountains for the short time span that I did. You see, by the time I was able to actually climb a set of tree steps my right leg was considerably smaller than my left. Luckily, I had built a strong foundation prior to the injury and done my post-season scouting the right way. The result….I tagged out on day 3 (thank you God) with a fine WV buck. If not for physical preparation, and answered prayers, who knows what my year would have turned out like.