Training One of the most enjoyable parts of a hunting trip is the adventure. It is a sense of living like a hunter used to off the land and in the wild. A hunt can be very frustrating if I am not in shape. Most of my hunting involves going straight uphill for miles on end, setting up a base camp, and then hiking out of base camp sometimes up to 15-20 miles a day round trip. While elk hunting which is usually starting at 8500 feet elevation and going to 12000+ feet elevation in archery season. Here in Alaska, early season deer hunting involved the same straight up hike but starting at sea level and until I reach the alpine at about 3000 ft, I blaze my way through thick alder, devil club, and blueberry bushes usually in the rain. Because I like these strenuous hunts, I also find them more enjoyable when I am in good shape. I try to stay in shape all year but sometimes in the winter I find it hard to do. I also can’t go out a week before a hunt and get in shape. I try to start cardio workouts or running at least two month before season. It is always that first run getting back into it that is the hardest after not running for a while. Once I break that ice of the first run it only gets easier. I also find it easier for me to run in the mornings while everyone is still sleeping. If I wait till after work I am usually too tired or too busy chasing kids to get a chance to run. By no means do I have to get into the shape of a super athlete or a marathoner to enjoy a strenuous hunt but I try to get cardiovascular fit. After months of running I find that even after hikes with lots of weight in my pack and at high elevations I get winded and I get tired, but I recover faster because I am in shape. I can stop for quick breather and then continue on. I also find it helpful to go on some extended hikes with hunting boots and pack to get use to the weight on your back as well. I found out one year that although I was in good shape and my legs were strong enough for the weight on my back, the weight of the straps on my shoulder and waist make me extremely sore for the rest of my hunt. I can deal with a little soreness in my shoulders and waist but if I wasn’t in shape I would have been dealing with burning lungs, cramping and sore legs, and a hurt spirit. Some of us hunters may need to join a gym or a running group so that it motivates us to get in shape for hunting season. But remember, went the wife asks why you are suddenly working out; just tell her you are doing it for her! Working out will also sharpen your mind for those long archery season days!