This is the post that almost wasn’t. I had planned on being in the woods today but a successful weekend and rain has me at home. I was thinking while I was hunting how complete a training regimen hunting can be. At least the way I do it.
Fully loaded with all my hunting gear I weigh 180 lbs, which is about 34lbs of
gear including a 8.5 lb rifle that is carried in various positions. It’s rarely on my shoulder. That’s a workout just holding this weight, now let’s add the fact I have to walk a mile to the GOOD hunting territory, let alone where I go after. Also I hunt in the mountains so that’s terrain changes that work stabilizer muscles too. Thats a low-level aerobic exercise right there.
Then there’s the method I use to hunt, still-hunting. Which is moving slowly and looking for deer. Or as I prefer to call it…prowling. Sounds cooler. This engages all your senses and forces you to focus. You have to know your prey. And move…silently as possible. This is an exercise in awareness, strategy, and stealth. This works the brain, mental and psychologically.
Plus by being aware, it renews you spiritually by taking in nature. The tactile feeling of the wind, scents from your surroundings, the sounds of wind, animals and the background. Watching the small animals, leaves and bigger animals plus the beauty of the terrain. Though all of this is in this paragraph is possible only if you don’t make hunting a life or death competitive situation with 130% seriousness.
Then you have when you see the deer, then that’s an exercise in patience for a clean shot, and a test of nerves and function under adrenal stimulation.
“Wha…? Adrenal stimulation?”
Yeah, AKA Buck Fever (to hunters) or the fight or flight response. It’s when your body responds to a environmental stressor that triggers it to act. When deer show up, it’s a surprise, same as if someone steps out of the shadows and scares you. That rapid heartbeat? Triggered by your primitive part of your brain that gets your adrenaline to release. Hence the rapid heartbeat and tremors in your arms and legs from increased blood pressure. You can run like hell or fight for your life and have the energy to do it. But will it be an explosion or focused like a laser. That’s when your self-control comes in.
You have an involuntary natural response, now how do you function when fine motor skill is degrades. Psychologically. Control yourself, calm yourself. When I saw my deer yesterday I had the “fever”, I put it in the scope and started breathing, in through my nose, out from my mouth. This steadied me as I watched her and my surroundings to see if a buck showed for 10 minutes. Only another doe showed up, so with relaxed and calm ease I dropped her in her tracks at 70 yards. Clean. Then the adrenaline kicks in some more at the shot.
Now is the final exercise, it’s anaerobic endurance. Now I have to drag 120 pounds of deadweight back to camp, over a mile away. This gets your heart up over 160bpm. Your strength and cardiovascular baseline determines how hard it will be. Strong as an ox or weak as a kitten and ant-like endurance or sloth-like energy levels. Which is better?
So in closing, hunting is an excellent way to train your fitness levels, psychological, your spirit and physical along with stealth, marksmanship, strategy/tactics with woodsmen skills. It’s also a test where you actually see the animals, without them seeing you, where you know your work has succeeded.