Getting In Physical & Mental Shape Before The Hunt

Divernhunter

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I can agree with all the above. When I was younger and not so disabled I was in great shape and could and did run up and down the 7000-9000 foot mountains I hunted here.

However age(63) and many injuries/surgeries(back, knees, hip, hand, etc)/medical conditions have made that not possible now. I was able to find an outfitter(Iliwa Safaris) that could work with my limitation on a spot and stalk hunt on a large tract of land. We did more shorter walks than just doing a few long ones. I am sure there are others especially if you like to set in a blind that can accommodate us more physically challenged and still get good animals. I brought home about 8 animas which made the SCI book and a few high placement ones. I got a gold Impala which went #48 for example. I am not in a wheel chair(but they did have a hunter who was) but LONG hikes/stalks especially in heavy brush and hills/mountains was/is something that I really cannot do anymore.

So I suggest that those like me not give up on a hunt to Africa. You may need to research more to find an outfitter who will make a great hunt for you.

I understand if you are in better shape you are more able to hunt in a more varied way and walk daylight to dark in tuff country as I used to be able to do.

If you are just out of shape most certainly get into shape or at least better shape. It will make your hunt be able to be a broader range of styles and more enjoyable. It will help your life in other ways also.

Just thought one of us old geezers with disabilities who will not give up hunting might add something so not to make others think you need to be a super fit person to hunt and hunt in Africa. At least SA which is where we went to hunt.

IF you can do get into good physical shape. Everyone should have a good/fit mental state/attitude. Sometimes mind over body is helpful.
 

TokkieM

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This is my off season routine 5 times a week. Just add the daily run with my dog through the forrest and that's it. Not getting any easier as age and old injuries catch up,been off for 8 months now with a bum shoulder,going to be a long while before I get into the same shape again.

 

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It certainly helps to have a gundog...I have a Gordon setter who needs excersise daily, come hell or high water (read pouring rain and blizzards....:ROFLMAO:).
 

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I hunted in some rocky terrain not the easiest to train for,for my next trip a Stair stepper will be a Must, also I found my legs got sore from actually walking down hill The Hammies just wern't used to that
Stair climber is the best. I remember ( a long ) time ago when I went "into training" for my Mtn Goat hunt, I used a stair climber at my local Gym carrying a 50 lb weight vest on for 30 minutes...Ah to be young againo_O
 

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I'm 47 now. I used to be 250 lbs, but about five years ago I decided it was a time for change and I now weigh around 187. I'm 5'6" so when I was heavy I really looked heavy. I mix my exercise routines up. I row, swim, walk, use the elliptical machine, do calisthenics and work out in my garden (weeding, squatting down, digging holes) . I also watch my eating and I don't smoke and basically don't drink alcohol. I'm not anti-alcohol. I just prefer coffee when it comes to a vice. The photo on the left was me back in 2009. The other photo was taken in March of 2013. For what it's worth people were much more willing to try to fight me ,and try to provoke me, when I was arresting them when I was out of shape. I was also quicker to lose my temper and get into scuffles with suspects. Now that I've made some changes I find that I almost never get into physical confrontations and my over all disposition is calmer. My health is also better. Oh and my qualification scores with my Glock have also improved. It applies to everything I guess.


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You look great sir. I was once 265 lbs and the day I booked my Goat hunt I went into training, 1 year later I was 65 lbs lighter, and the next year I dropped another 20 for my dall sheep hunt. That was in 1986. Glad to say I am still in 36 inch pants and I am on my tread mill 6 days a week. Not easy as we get older just becomes a life style.
 

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This is my off season routine 5 times a week. Just add the daily run with my dog through the forrest and that's it. Not getting any easier as age and old injuries catch up,been off for 8 months now with a bum shoulder,going to be a long while before I get into the same shape again.


That's an awesome workout routine @hunthardsafaris! I was doing some of that just this morning! I know the feeling with the bad shoulder, both of mine are bad. There's no way I could keep up with what you did on those rings even on the best of days.
 

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This is an interesting thread.....actually my biggest motivation for training is to be able to cope with hard hunting in Africa (and elsewhere..) Did a 5 hour stalk during mid day in Bots now in june while carrying a 5 kg rifle, no problem...pretty satisfied with that.

Mental preparation is also a thing when facing DG. Or can one really prepare oneself mentally...?

Not sure about that....but it was awesome to hunt ele under difficult circumstances.....now I understand the obsession expressed by some of the old ivory hunters to hunt these magnificent animals..

I know that partially it was just the lifestyle, but when you look at photos of the great African Legends such as Frederick Selous, Fredrick Burnham, Harry Selby and Philip Percival the one thing that stands out is they were very fit looking, but also compact and wiry. No super broad shoulders and bulging muscles. While I'm sure they were strong it appears that endurance and overall fitness was more important. Believe it or not when I decided to start changing it was guys like those fellows that served as my inspiration.

My son is bigger than me. He is now 6'00" tall, 210 lbs and a football player (nose-guard for those who are interested) who lifts weights religiously (takes after a few of his very large uncles). He's seventeen and calls me a tiny little man. I acknowledge his size and strength, but I also tell him that in his later years it's healthier to be compact and lighter. He doesn't believe me, but then what teenager listens to his elders. I didn't. Anyway I am a big believer in overall fitness..........now.
 

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You look great sir. I was once 265 lbs and the day I booked my Goat hunt I went into training, 1 year later I was 65 lbs lighter, and the next year I dropped another 20 for my dall sheep hunt. That was in 1986. Glad to say I am still in 36 inch pants and I am on my tread mill 6 days a week. Not easy as we get older just becomes a life style.

So very true. It does have to become a habit doesn't it?
 

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So very true. It does have to become a habit doesn't it?
Absolutely. I run 6 days a week on my treadmill and try to watch what I eat. Not an angel but considering I pretty much kept off 90% of the weight I can't complain. As we get older it gets real easy to get lazy. I don't allow myself too much leaway.
 

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A lot of great advice about getting into physical shape. It's absolutely the second most important thing you can do to assure yourself of a great or at least a good, hunt.

But we can't forget mental preparation. The amount you need to do will depend on the type of hunt you're planning. I had been on six or so safaris when I went to Cameroon to hunt the jungle (or forest, as they call it). I will readily admit to not being mentally prepared for how tough that hunt would be, how uncomfortable I would be day and night, and, especially, how little game I would see. I didn't get the bongo until day 12 of a 14 day hunt; we didn't see a bongo until day 10. I had completely convinced myself by then that there were no bongo there, that if there were, I wouldn't get one, I'd have to come back, etc. All in, I fired my rifle 3 times in two weeks, and one of those shots was to finish off the bongo.

Fortunately, I had a PH who understood what was going on, and gave me the kick in the pants I needed to stay positive and get the hunt done.

So being in good physical shape is a necessary but not sufficient condition for tougher hunts. Mental toughness gets you over the top.
 

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Can't agree more,big muscle does not travel well went it comes to distance and endurance. Getting older means getting smarter and training both mentally and physically in different ways. Having strong legs and endurance will only get you so far, the most neglected part of the body is the core. Abs and back stabilizers will serve you well for those off balance mountain hikes or bent over hourly long stalks. There is a fine balance between endurance and in the legs and overall fitness. At my age the power is still on tap,endurance and reflexes as well as hand eye coordination start slipping and that's were I focus a lot of energy towards.

Mental toughness seems to be a non starter for me as I get older, I train till I puke somedays and then just carry on a while longer. As we get older we know the body can take more if the mind plays along. Last night I took a 220pound boar and dragged it a 1/2 mile to the truck through the Canola fields,could made few phone calls and got some help,bu. I feel that everything we do to challange the body and mind can only benefit it.
 

paladin100

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Try and read "Mzee never miss" - doing the hard hunts in your 60's, 70's and 80's. Its written by a retired American doctor or vet - William Pritchard - but it certainly changed my life. You can get it on kindle.
Following from that I started my gym regime to get fitter, but after about a year of that I sat the trainers down and said - "where are we going with this?" Answer was pretty much more of the same, but I asked them to create a "hunter/gatherer" programme. This they really enjoyed as it gave the gym work much more relevance.
Think about it. You walk slowly, sometimes you have to sprint, a little crawling, uphill, downhill, pick up a beast, carry it back, get it into the larder etc, etc, etc.
Great fun. Hopefully I'll be like Dr Bill and keep going.
Good hunting.
 
D

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this season I have two main hunts: Africa in September and lion in New Mexico.

two weeks after I came home from the UK in the middle of this past January, I had an accident that resulted in breaking both heel bones. I was confined to a wheelchair and the couch for some months before I even wanted to go outside! once I was able to get up and start walking, it still held me back cause I was in air boots and a walker. haha. in the last month, I have been in regular shoes. now ive always had an active lifestyle as well as trained muay thai for about four years. but if youre stuck not being able to fully function, you lose a lot of muscle mass. that's exactly what happened to me. I lost about ninety percent of the muscle mass in my legs, calves, hams and quads as well as a lot of my upper body muscle. im 5'9" and was a solid 205 pounds before I got hurt. no joke, I squatted 365 and hiking through deserts and mountains wasn't a big deal for me. when I started walking again, I was almost 245 pounds of saggy legs and softness.

with that all said, ive been hitting the gym at least once, every day! some days twice. as well as riding my bike 8-10 miles a day. I haven't stepped on a scale but im definitely trimming down and gaining mass back. my legs are coming back, but as im still not 100% I cant lift heavy and put too much pressure on my feet yet.

so, in all... training for hunts, nothing beats a good diet, fun exercise with a mixture of cardio and lifting. I also like the treadmill at the highest angle at about 4mph. resistance always helps!

(sorry for the drawn out story haha)
 

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Thinking about carrying the 10 lb pipe, I recall that the big guns of the Victorian era-or some of them - (I seem to recall Walsingham and Grey) - had their walking sticks, which every British gentleman carried, made the same weight as their guns, so that, come the start of the grouse season - our earliest game bird - they were fit and strong and ready to go.
Plus ca change indeed.
Good hunting guys.
 

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To be very honest, my African hunts have not been all that physically challenging. After 10 days in Zim and 7 in Namibia, I gained weight. Too much fine dining on these safaris! For my elk hunts in Montana and my planned sheep hunt in the Yukon next year, I work out a lot. I live at sea level and the big elevation change kicks my butt. I usually plan to arrive a day or two early to acclimate to the altitude. About a year ago, I purchased a 50 pound weight vest and workout on the stairmaster and treadmill for 1 hour, 3 times a week with it. On the other 4 days, I go without the vest, do my weight lifting and then some more cardio workout (biking, rowing, etc). Just picking up a 50 pound vest and putting it on is a bit of a workout. Go to a website called weightvest.com and take a look at what some better quality vests look like, as the kind you find in the local sporting goods stores are usually low quality, vinyl plastic junk. The experts say working out with about 25% of your body weight is good target. I weigh around 200 lbs, so that' why I purchased the 50 lb V-Force vest. Weights can be removed too, so you can start with a lower weight and slowly build up. The first couple of weeks that I used the weight vest, my legs and feet really felt it. But after that, it became the new normal.
 

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Nothing wrong with running or walking with a pipe or rod to add the weight of a rifle. I run with my "Green Gun" but do so through the Forrest. One reason is not to get reported too often to the police,they hate to send out a SWAT team too often:ROFLMAO::D The other reason is because the gun will throw you of balance when running and combined with the almost non existence of footpaths through the Forrest it helps with developing balance and stability in muscles and tendons that do not normally work on a flat surface like a road or treadmill. That being said,any training is better than no training.
IMAG0642.jpg
 

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I like that green gun! That would never work where I live. Someone will still freak out and call the cops. :A Bonk:

When I was in the ROTC (military training at college for officers in the US) we used old M1 rifles for physical training, which are about 9 pounds but they were made inert by filling the barrels with some lead. Ah, good times.
 

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Worked hard to get in shape for my last Safari and it paid off. there was one thing that did catch me off guard, my PH quite often would squat on his heels when glassing leaving me in pain or kneeling on a rock or thorn. Next time I will spend time getting use to glassing from a squat.
 

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