Preparing for an Elk Hunt

trophy elk
Elk live in some rugged country. The better shape you are in the better chance you have of coming home with a trophy elk. Hunter shown wearing Mathews Lost Camo.

Preparing for an Elk Hunt - Getting in Shape

Elk hunting can be one of the toughest hunts a hunter will experience because of the terrain elk live in. It is one of the most physically demanding hunting sports most hunters will ever endour. Most Eastern deer hunters who head West to elk hunt practice bugling and mewing on a cow call but often forget about one of the most important aspects of getting ready for an elk hunt: getting in shape. Jay Robert from Tenzing Outdoors, a company that specializes in hunting backpacks, knows a few things about getting into shape for the backcountry. "If a hunter is planning to hunt out West for elk, he should purchase a quality backpack and start hiking with it on his back. Often being in shape is the last thing on a hunter's mind as he gets ready for elk season, but it should be the first," Jay explained.

Elk hunters who want to be successful should plan to hike a few miles off the road to find unpressured elk. Although a few miles may not sound like much, walking a few miles in the mountains is a lot different than walking on a sidewalk in Michigan. "The Western mountains in Colorado and Idaho can be tough walking for deer hunters who are used to walking on level ground. To prepare for walking up steep mountains, elk hunters should walk up the steepest hills they can find in their neck of the woods and hike up and down them regularly with a pack on their back," Robert added.

When preparing for an elk hunt, having at least 30 pounds in a pack is a good idea. Elk hunters should pack up the gear they plan to take with them into their elk hunting backpack and hike with it on their back a few times a week. This prepares their back muscles and leg muscles for the elk hunt. It also helps you lose weight. Every extra ounce of weight you can shed from their body will be less weight you have to bring into the woods. On more than one occasion, Robert has witnessed overweight elk hunters who realize too late that they didn't prepare physically for an elk hunt. They end up sitting in camp most of the time instead of elk hunting.

When preparing physically, it is important to realize that elk live in the high country where the air is often thin. It can be very difficult to prepare Eastern lungs for Western air, but there are a few things elk hunters can do. When training, elk hunters need to breathe as much as possible from their nose and keep their mouth closed. This makes lungs work harder and helps prepare them for the hard breathing they will encounter out west. They can also run very fast up side hills for short distances or ride a bike uphill as fast as they can for short distances to strengthen their lungs. Another option is seeing a doctor and taking pills that help them breathe better at high elevation.



Garden Prairie, IL
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