For several years I have help guided elk hunters in northern New Mexico, around the Chama area. I have found the majority of hunters I guide come from the mid-west or the eastern part of the country. I have discovered many, if not most, of those hunters are not in good enough shape to really enjoy their hunts. It is simply a lack of cardiovascular conditioning.
I have experienced hunters being so out of breath that when the moment of truth came, they could not steady themselves to draw their bow or steady their rifle. In most all of those cases the hunter never got a opportunity to shoot. We have found that once an elk gets withing shooting range, either with a bow or rifle, you have around 11 to 15 seconds to make the shot. Once you get in that range there is very little time to catch your breath, steady your rest or calm yourself down. If you can eliminate a couple of those elements at the critical moment, you will increase your opportunity for success.
Getting yourself in really good shape, referring to your cardiovascular conditioning, you can take care of the heavy breathing interference. If you can control that part then becoming steady to draw your bow, mount or shoulder your rifle becomes a none factor. Calming yourself is a matter of focus. If you are out of shape your focus and attention to details leading up to your shot no longer exists. Everyone gets excited when a shooting scenario presents itself, it’s natural, it is those hunters who are in good physical condition and that can bring their emotions under control quicker, will experience success more often.
The conditioning philosophy is relevant in just about every sport. When professional athletes get fatigued, their performances quickly declines. The same will happen with hunters. I know when quarterbacks throws come up short it is usually because their legs are tired. You have seen it with major league pitchers, when they begin to loose command of their pitches, it is normally their legs that get tired not their arms.
Getting in shape for a western hunt requires that you must improve your cardiovascular condition. Work your legs and your core. Exercises to Improve Cardiovascular Endurance. This year make your western hunt more enjoyable, get in shape!
The Outdoor Quarterback