Field Prep Timeline

Field Prep Timeline
January 4, 2021

Whether Midwest or Western, here is your timeline to being physically prepared for your hunt

We have long maintained that you do not have to possess a high level of physical fitness to hunt, but it darn sure helps. Not just with traversing the myriad of physical challenges in the field; being in shape will improve your overall experience. The hunting lifestyle is simply more fun when you are not bent over, hands on your knees gasping for air. Different types of hunts call for different types of activity requirements and fitness levels. Here are two suggested timelines for both midwestern and western style hunting.

Midwestern Hunts
It can be debated the midwestern hunter does not need the same level of physicality as their western brethren who are hiking up and down mountains, but for a die-hard whitetail hunter, the season never ends. There may be a short reprieve in late winter but whether shed hunting or engaging in habitat management, whitetail hunting is now a year-round process. In the off-season, trails are cut, food plots engineered, stands hung…then moved and hung again.  There is no break and for those of us who do it, we love it.  

We encourage Midwest hunters to maintain a solid level of base conditioning year round because the most arduous part of their season may very well be the pre-season improvements to their hunting property. Sitting in stands does not require a ton of athleticism but working all spring and summer to get your place ready to hunt will flat wear you out. 

Sample timelines for Midwest hunters may look like:
• Base Conditioning: January 1 to June 30
• Pre-Season Training: July 1 to September 1
• In-Season: September 1 to December 31


Western Hunters
Western hunters should also begin their physical training in January, but it will be a slightly longer play than simply building a solid level of base conditioning with a slight ramp up before opening day. Altitude, terrain, and miles of hiking present a much different challenge than the whitetail woods. We also must be aware of physical and mental burnout because we want western hunters at peak performance on the day their scheduled hunt begins. It is no different than preparing an athlete for competition. We are not necessarily training for a season. We may be training for a week in the mountains vs. a longer, less intense (physically) hunting season chasing whitetails.

This means there will be additional phases to a training timeline such as:

Base Conditioning: January 1 to June 30
• Pre-Season Training: July 1-August 1
• Hunt-Specific Training: August 1-September 1
•Taper Phase: Last two week before the hunt begins


Recovery: Post hunt
This timeline is assuming a mid-September hunt but can be adjusted for whenever you strap on your pack and tackle the mountain. The addition of the hunt-specific phase should provide elements of packing, climbing, and shooting. It will also be the most physically challenging part of your training. The taper phase is designed to reduce intensity and volume, so your body recovers and is at peak physical condition for your week in the backcountry.

As you begin to ponder your goals and planning hunts for 2021, keep these timelines in mind. For some, a backcountry elk hunt may be a once in a lifetime adventure so you will want to make the most of your experience. For the whitetail hunters, the goal may be to hunt these critters for as long as possible. Grandpa just turned 85 and actively pursues whitetails and turkeys. 

Need help? We offer a wide variety of Do-It-Yourself downloadable workouts at that cover base conditioning, archery, backcountry training and more!  You can also ask us fitness, nutrition, or hunting questions at

Good luck as we move into the off-season and stay #FitToHunt



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