The Most Challenging Time for a Whitetail Hunter is Now

The Most Challenging Time for a Whitetail Hunter is Now
July 20, 2021

By: Jeremy Koerber, Fit to Hunt

Different hunts require different levels of physical fitness.  A backcountry elk hunt in mountainous terrain is way more arduous than sitting in a tree stand overlooking a clover plot. That fact is undeniable, but the interesting dynamic is how seasonal physicality is for various types of hunts.  While all the elk hunters are training for September, the whitetail hunters need conditioning now!  

I am often told “I don’t need to be fit to hunt whitetail” but I disagree.  We could discuss the subtle benefits like enhanced stealth, mental toughness and focus needed to tag trophy whitetail or the more obvious benefit of draw strength and if successful, dragging and loading your harvest.  But this article is not talking about fitness for the act of hunting this fall.  I am more concerned about what you need at this moment to prepare for opening day. Hanging stands, trimming lanes, putting in food plots and improving habitat is hard work. We all have limited time and even a five to ten percent improvement in fitness level will allow you to get more accomplished when you go afield. Here are some quick workout ideas that require little equipment that will allow you to boost fitness and get ready to pursue whitetails this fall.

Hanging stands, trimming lanes, putting in food plots and improving habitat is hard work.  We all have limited time and even a five to ten percent improvement in fitness level will allow you to get more accomplished when you go afield. 

Cardio is in the eye of the beholder
Right now, I need you walking. Some run, sprint or do other means to elevate their heart rate and while all of them are great, the biggest key for your fitness is to get off the couch and log some miles.  If you don’t know where to start, get up and go outside. The people reading this article are likely all over the range regarding fitness level so if you are a newbie, start with 15 minutes. Do this three days per week with intent. Each week, add ten percent to your time or distance. It is a slow, gradual ascent but it will be easier to fit into your busy lifestyle and you lower your risk of injury.

Already hitting it hard? Use the same methodology. Whether you run or hike with a weighted vest, add ten percent per week to what you are doing now (mileage or time). The added boost in cardiovascular conditioning will provide greater energy levels and allow you to work longer afield.

Get strong
And like cardio, there 1001 ways we can help you build strength which is critical. Running chainsaws, hanging stands, and clearing brush requires muscular strength and endurance to be effective and prevent injury. COVID also revealed the fact you do not necessarily need a gym membership to make this happen. Here is a quick routine that requires only a resistance band that will help you build those habitat muscles:

Air Squat - 10 repetitions

Push-Up or Modified Push-Up - 10 repetitions

Seated Band Row - 10 repetitions

Dying Bug - 10 repetitions

Birddog - 10 repetitions

Half Jacks - 30 seconds

Perform three to five rounds. You can also increase/decrease repetitions or switch out exercises.  Just stick to big, compound movements that work a lot of muscles at one time.

If you would like a more comprehensive plan, check out our DIY Base Conditioning Program.  It is a six-week, periodized workout that will help you build strength and conditioning for the field and have you ready to chase whitetails this fall!

What fitness questions do you have?  Please shoot us a message at info@stayfittohunt.com.  We would love to connect and help you stay #FitToHunt!

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