Do YOU Train to Hunt?

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So September is around the corner...and all the weapons are probably cleaned and stored away by now.  Is it time to get the fishing gear out?  Get the turkey vest dusted off?  Or is it time to do what most professional athletes due when their season is over and start pre-season workouts?  Do you take your hunting as seriously as I do?  I live to hunt, I mean there isn't a day that goes by that I am not thinking about tree stand placement, camera placement, an old hunting experience, or imagining a new story where the Elk of a lifetime carelessly walks into my well placed set up deep in the back country.  For most of us, we get to enjoy our true passion for  no more than a couple weeks a year!  This means that for the rest of the 50 weeks or so, we are day dreaming or just lying around waiting for hunting season to return.  I have learned over the years, that to be a better hunter, I must get better in the off season.  Just like any other Professional athlete.  Sometimes it's what we do while others are at rest, that will separate the successful ones from those who are not when the season comes around. I have a couple things I always do during season that helps me remember what I need to do in the off-season.  I always takes notes on my iphone on what I "need" or wish I had during current hunts.  You know things that would make that hunt better, or things I forgot, or didn't know I needed until a certain situation presented itself.  This list can have anything from a better hand warmer, to better cold weather boots, to better high elevation training.  I simply jot down things while I'm sitting there motionless for hours on end.  And I keep this list going until right around this time.  Post Super Bowl, and the start of the day dreams of next year.  Then over the course of the next several months I try to purchase or change as much on this list until the bow is back in hand. One of the biggest things I have changed in my life has been my off season workouts.  I like many, used to just try to get in shape over the summer, or sometimes just right before I go.  I would just run around the block a couple times to settle the soul that I was committing to a particular hunt.  This type of training used to really catch up to me on my hunts.  I would be gassed from just walking to and from glassing sights, or just tired all day from the constant activity.  Then I sat against a tree one dark night packing a cow elk off a mountain at about 1am, feeling my heart beating through my ears, and my lungs screaming for help!  I sat there seriously contemplating leaving the meat and just getting back to camp so I could survive!  This in itself made me so ashamed and disappointed of who I was at that point.  I dream and plan for these hunts 350 some odd days a year, and when it got there I couldn't muster enough manhood to even get my hard earned prize off the mountain?  Needless to say, that was my turning point in my off season hunting career. I live and hunt in the west, and for anyone that has been out here or hunted here, you know there are no easy hunts and there are no flat hikes.  Everything you do, you go up and down and up and down.  You can find yourself starting at 2000 feet and end the day at over 10,000, then again just to go back to down to camp.  This type of hunting takes commitment, not only commitment during the hunt, but commitment to prepare for the hunt.  The question I propose is, can you really get ready in a month, or two months?  Or does it take a commitment like a professional athlete, that trains year round for the sport he loves? My answer, is MY answer.  I can not look deep into the soul of every hunter that I encounter in the woods.  I can though, look at myself in the mirror and ask myself how much does this really mean to me?  This simple question drives me through my early morning workouts, that last mile, or the last round of reps.  I know that there is nothing I would rather be doing than trekking my bow through the woods stalking a bull elk!  I also know that these same elk, never stop!  They run those mountains in a blink of an eye everyday.  They are always in top shape, and will always be a worthy opponent! I have decided that I will always be a worthy predator.  I shall give that elk all the respect it deserves and train for our meeting in the back country!  So when I release that magic arrow and watch it track its course towards the boiler room, I will be at peace knowing that in this split second of releasing my arrow, I have put forth the blood, sweat and effort for an entire year to get me to that point. Fly straight Mr. Arrow...find your mark and close the book on this adventure!  I am a Bowhunter...and I live for this!!! IMG_3159 IMG_2743 IMG_2885