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Thread: Personal fitness and deer stalking

  1. #1

    Personal fitness and deer stalking

    Living in Devon as i do and on the edge of Dartmoor you can't avoid steep hills and difficult terrain, nothing like mountains, but it can be tough.
    I have always tried to keep a certain level of fitness but since i decided to hunt in Montana i thought i had better make a special effort to get fitter, the thought of hiking out of the mountains at altitude with an elk leg on my back gave me a wake up call.
    So a mix of walking and running over the past few weeks has resulted in 1st in weight lost and a shrinking waistline.
    I get a fair amount of enquiries from new clients quizzing me over what to expect, and i am always honest in relation to the terrain in Devon and fit in a planned stalk in relation to the client.
    Getting an animal out of the woods where there is no access with quad etc can mean really hard work, so getting fitter has helped, but of course i never insist on help unless it is offered.
    But the biggest positive in relation to stalking is your breathing/heart rate recovery after an arduous stalk, you see a deer and raise your rifle, and where once i would have to wait an age before it all settled down my recovery rate now has increased so i can quickly take a shot with confidence.
    I just hope i can keep it up when i return from my trip.

  2. #2
    It's amazing how fit we think we are, when in NZ you here hunters say we only carried that 100kg pig two miles, glad he was close to the track.

  3. #3
    Regular Poster Jinga's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    N Oxfordshire and Edinburgh
    Every bit of "training helps" understandably highland stalker a will be a bit frustrated if the client is too unfit to climb the hill to get up to the stags. I have had some thrashings but love thebuzz of getting up top with the views and getting above the beasts. The bath and malt are all the better for the bigger climb!

  4. #4
    One of the first things I learnt watching someone else shoot a red hind;

    If you haven't figuered out how to extract it, don't pull the trigger.


  5. #5
    Don't forget slamming a bit of iron around if you can. I lift heavy weights twice a week and do pushups and situps each morning. The results will show in the field and on target. It's amazing how heavy a 7 pound rifle becomes at 8000 ft elevation; especially when you're carrying a back pack as well. And yes. In many areas (most, if you're on public land) 'quads' are prohibited. Horse packing or carry the elk out in quarters, along with the hide and head.... and all that gear you were certain you needed when you packed!

    Indeed. The better the conditioning, the better the hunt.~Muir

  6. #6

    Would i be correct in thinking it is illegal|(as well as immoral) in some parts of U.S. to leave a Carcass un recovered? ie, you cannot just carry the Trophy out and leave the Carcass. Wanton Waste? Sure i read somewhere of a Guy Shooting a Moose and having to make several arduous trips on foot to pack the Meat out.


  7. #7
    I've got to offer some support for Muir's position that gym type work helps.

    I'm pretty much a gym sceptic but found that if I get 3+ times a week in the run up to stalking on the hill then it really does make a difference. I also try and get out and walk up hills on a regular basis as well and maybe the gym thing wouldn't be so useful to someone who was on the hill every day but for someone who is deskbound a lot of the time, like myself, it is well worth the effort. Put some good music on the mp3 player and get in there for a good dose of cardio and maybe some weights as well, in the end I found myself enjoying it though I hate to admit it.

    The other thing worth a look is some of the home exercise schemes - I found the P90X really very good though there is no way on earth that I can do all of it or keep it up in the sustained way the full programme calls for but when working up to stalking I do some of it based on my starting fitness level and it is amazing the progress that can be made in a few months. When doing the P90X stuff every part of me is sore every day! The big advantage is that it doesn't require much "stuff" and you can do it all at home so no need to spend time driving to a gym etc. when it is already hard enough to get the time.
    For self catering accommodation on the Isle of Lewis please visit:

  8. #8
    I live in an area that is very bogy every step is a differnt level stalking three morning s a week i am fit enough for this ground but christ i feel it when i go on the hills.

  9. #9
    I took a mate up to Scotland 2 years ago and when we got into the Hinds he was in no shape to take a shot, he just wheezed "you do it".So I got to take hind and calf. I did really worry that we might not get him off the hill.

  10. #10
    Yes I was there too & it is so written.
    Check any states DNR department hunting regulations on the internet to prove it for yourself if you wish to.

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