Training Your Legs for a Mountain Hunt
Hunting steep terrain requires training to prepare your legs. A marathon runner on flat pavement would even find a mountain goat hunt difficult. It requires a completely different set of muscle groups. Getting in shape for a mountain hunt is fun and the training will pay off when a herd of mountain caribou is waiting just over the ridge!
Here are a few ideas to ramp up your spring training this year:
1. Get Vertical
It’s the up and down nature of a mountain hunt that makes it physically unique. Your calves are often stretched and your ankles and knees see plenty of action that requires pressure and flexibility to maneuver on steep terrain. You will hike straight up, straight down and across side-hill in awkward positions that will challenge your balance. The ground is not always stable and your ability to react and change directions is important.
Adjust your training to reflect the vertical nature of a hunt. Even when using a gym for training, adjust the incline and decline on the treadmill or precor machine. Elongate your strides to force your quads and calves to push through long, difficult motions. Focus on balance exercises as well to prepare for loose rock and scree slopes. Single leg squats and balancing on an exercise ball will really help.
Take advantage of any chance to get in the field and go hiking. Choose some rough, off-trail terrain and slowly move across the landscape.
The core is also critical for changing direction and maintaining balance. Planks, situps and torso exercises will improve overall stability. Take advantage of gym time or do these exercises at home.
2. Elevate Your Heart Rate
Hunting in steep country will quickly elevate your heart rate. Learning to control your breathing is especially important for shooting scenarios.
Invest some time in your training that combines hard hiking with shooting to work on stabilizing the shot. If you don’t have a local mountain for this, simply run a few wind sprints to get your heart rate elevated then take an empty rifle and practice setups for the shot. Get into a shooting position, find your rest and slow down the breathing to focus on a target.
Functioning when your legs are tired and your heart is racing will make you a better mountain hunter.
3. Deep Stretching Routines
Consistent stretching will increase recovery time, reduce soreness and improve your performance in the field. A long, 10-day hunt can take a toll on your muscles. Start your stretching routine now and keep it up – even during the hunt. When you’re back at camp, take a few minutes to stretch while your guide is taking care of the horses or preparing a meal.
Waking up with stiff muscles will slow you down but a stretching routine can combat that stiffness and increase multi-day endurance. Make stretching a normal part of your pre and post workout routine and spend a half hour stretching out before and after each day of hunting as well.
Contact Us With Questions
Want to learn more about our mountain hunts in British Columbia? Please take a few minutes to explore the rest of the website. If you’d like details or have questions, please feel free to contact us. We’d love to help you plan your next hunting adventure!
Written by Zach Lazzari
Zach is an outdoor writer, a hunting and fly fishing guide, and very proud to be a part of the Kawdy Outfitters team. You can follow Zach’s adventures at bustedoarlock.com.