UPDATED ON: May 1st, 2015
All of us have a bowhunting bucket list. For some, the list is short. For many, their goal is to kill big whitetails repeatedly. For others, the list is much longer. For many bowhunters the list includes animals that are extremely difficult to kill. Elk, sheep, goats, dangerous bears and other species often don’t leave the bucket list because they are too expensive to hunt or because hunters must be in top notch shape to get to the areas the critters call home.
If your dream hunt includes rugged terrain, the most important area that will directly influence your success is physical conditioning.
Joel Maxfield, the Vice President of Marketing for Mathews Archery spends much of the fall chasing big game animals. This year, Maxfield was able to check one critter off his bucket list: the Dall sheep. “I have always wanted to kill a Dall sheep, but they are a tough animal to kill with a bow. They live in extremely steep terrain, they have to be old to legally kill and getting within bow range of one of them is very difficult,” Maxfield explained. To prepare himself for the hunt, Maxfield got into shape. “I have lost a lot of weight over the last year. When I found out I was going to be able to go on this sheep hunt, I decided to lose even more weight. I lost fifteen pounds in the two weeks leading up to the hunt,” Maxfield added.
Faced with the chance to check a particular animal off of his “bucket” list, Joel Maxfield immediately started preparing physically for the challenges that lied ahead on his Dall sheep hunt.
It was a good thing Maxfield prepared by getting into shape. He hunted for thirteen days before he got a shot at the ram you see in the picture. Thirteen days in the backcountry requires you to be in good shape. “I used to be a soda drinker but on this trip, I started using Energy & Focus from Wilderness Athlete. Cutting down on the sugar has helped me keep the weight off.” Maxfield didn’t just need to be in shape for his sheep hunt. In fact, a few weeks after that hunt, he tagged a monster mule deer and a big bull elk; both required good physical conditioning. One thing most western hunts have in common is you need to be in shape to accomplish them.
I have many strenuous hunts on my bucket list and I am constantly looking for ways to motivate myself and stay in shape for hunting season. Having cerebral palsy makes this a tall task. A few weeks ago, to keep myself in shape, I hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back out. I and a few friends, including one friend who lost a leg to cancer, spent four or five nights camping in the Canyon. This trip helped me get into shape physically and made me mentally tougher. Being mentally tough is a big part of bowhunting. On this trip, I relied heavily on Wilderness Athlete products to keep me going. Give Wilderness Athlete products a look if you are trying to get into or stay in shape.
The author understands the importance of physical conditioning and prepares accordingly for his own hunts.
Chances are many of you reading this have a bowhunting bucket list. Surely many of you want to hunt out west. You better be in shape if you plan to hunt out west. Many animals on my bucket list will push me mentally and physically which is what motivates me to stay in shape. As we approach the holidays, here is a friendly reminder to stay in shape. If I can stay in shape, anyone can. Joel Maxfield is often successful in the field because he is physically and mentally tough. The longer your bucket list, the more of both of these qualities you will need.
About The Author: Tracy Breen is a full time outdoor writer, speaker and marketing consultant in the outdoor industry. He works with a variety of companies including Mathews, Mission, Wilderness Athlete and Carbon Express. Learn more about him by visiting www.tracybreen.com