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Muley Hntr's picture
Joined: 07/11/2012
Posts: 1
In shape for Mountains??

Hey all,
I'm heading on my first big-game hunting trip this October to Wyoming elk hunting. I'm in halfways decent shape and in my 40's. I've heard from quite a few guys that you need to be in great shape to enjoy your time in the mountains, especially if your a flatlander like me. Are there any good resources out there for excercises specific to training for mountain hunting? I want to be able to tackle whatever the hunting gods throw at me.

Critter's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4423
There is really no training

There is really no training that will get you into "mountain" shape except to get into the mountains. The best suggestion would be to do a lot more cardio and the more the better. Also while you are at it strap on a pack with at least 50 pounds in it. Also when you arrive at your hunting location take it easy the first couple of days and get used to the hills. Depending on the altitude that you will be hunting at you might want to read up on altitude sickness. Keep hydrated and take it real easy on the alcohol if you do drink.

Topgun 30-06's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Allegan, MI
Joined: 12/11/2010
Posts: 693
Excellent advice!!!

Excellent advice!!!

Location: north idaho
Joined: 06/11/2004
Posts: 610
climbing hills with weight on

climbing hills with weight on your back works really good. however not everyone has hills to climb. the local bleachers works really good for this. also climbing with weight is awesome. descending with weight kills the knees.
If you have access to a big slope, a little trick that i was tought is this. Put jugs of water in your backpack and cclimb. once at the top pour the water out of the jugs.
that way you have the weight for the climb and no weight for the descent.

and than if you want to get into excellent shape, start mountain biking. and make sure there is lots of hills in your ride.

Location: Colorado
Joined: 07/13/2011
Posts: 924
You really should work with

You really should work with progressive backpack weight going downhill too. It uses different muscles, and you'll be in trouble on the hunt if you don't develop them.

Start slow so you don't hurt your knees.

hunter25's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Colorado western slope
Joined: 11/13/2009
Posts: 3040
You need the cardio workout

You need the cardio workout for going uphill, just take it slow for awhile even if you feel good at first.

Downhill is harder on the body overall especially with a loaded pack. Practice carrying the weight will help with your balance going downhill as well. Trust me a downhill tumble with a loaded pack isn't any fun at all.

WesternHunter's picture
Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2374
cardio and hill climbing

If you live where there are hilly trail then use them as your running path, the steeper the better.  Find a stair stepper machine at a gym.  Also highschool stadiums or local amphitheaters with high bleechers are great for jogging up and down. As much cardio as you can.  Develope a routine.  To echo what Critter said - Once you get in the high country from lower elevation don't overdo it right away. If you are in shape you may feel like you can do a lot an excert yourself, but after a few minutes you may be blue in the face and feeling terribly sick.  Just take it easy at first and acclimate.  What elevation are you coming from?

PackInLight's picture
Joined: 02/12/2011
Posts: 18
Cardio is key without a

Cardio is key without a doubt.  Training those lungs to work efficiently under oxygen debt is the name of the game for mountain hunting.  But cardio is only half the story.  If you have a local gym it would be worth getting in some leg presses and lunges (with a barbell on your upper back, or a dumbell in each hand, or alternate between both).  You don't need hills do get in "hill" shape either. Try doing 10 (or start at whatever feels do-able for you) 50 meter sprints at the local track, with 90 seconds rest in between.  That will bring your cardio up to a new threshold, and strengthen leg muscles as just good or better than hill training can.  I like to do those 50 meter sprints and shoot an arrow or two during the 90 second rest period.  If you can make 6" groups at 40 yards after your tenth sprint you can kill your elk this year if given the opportunity.  Good luck!

BoneCollector's picture
Location: Ohio woods
Joined: 02/01/2011
Posts: 290
I've been walking a mile or

I've been walking a mile or two a day (when I have time) with a 40lb weighted vest. Will switch to pack, more weight, and increase distance very soon.

Location: Montana
Joined: 06/08/2005
Posts: 86
I'm only able to work out

I'm only able to work out twice a week, but I work outside on my job at higher elevations. I still believe you need strong leg and back muscles to effectively elk hunt. The back muscles will get their share of use from lifting legs through snow, stepping over timber, skinning game, packing game, etc. Lunges, Squats, Power-clings, and Dead-lifts will acheive the same result, along will lots of stair machines and/or running. 

I had a guy tell me that too effectively hunt the mountains you needed to be able to run for and hour (about 6 miles) three days a week to consider yourself in good enough shape. I thought man your crazy. But each year after the first morning of crawling through snowcovered oakbrush, I realize he is probably right. Do what you can and just enjoy hunt. And probably more game is killed by hunters setting up over a good area and waiting for animals to push through than any other method.


Location: Denver
Joined: 10/16/2009
Posts: 70
Can't say I've tried this myself...

... but I heard doing your cardio while breathing through a straw ;o)

On a more serious note, you'll have a much better time if your careful and don't try and over do it when you get here -- especially your first two or three days at altitude.

If you are a couple pounds overweight, do everything you can to drop them.

Also give some thought to your footwear. Good boots are only good if they are well broken in.

Also, leave any and all alcohol at home. At altitude it will zap you, and some say it can increase your chances for alt. sickness.

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