Off Season Training. Where To Start?

As hunters, we all realize that it takes training and preparation to make a successful hunt.  The same goes for pretty much all the outdoors.  So where do we start and how far do we take it?

I will never tell anyone what they should and shouldn’t do.  As every “average hunter” out there lives a different life and has different passions.  I can only tell you about some of the activities that I like to do during the offseason that is a big help for me when it’s game time.


trail running

Getting ready for an afternoon run on the trails.

I know this is not everyone’s cup of tea, but this is the one thing I highly suggest for everyone.  There are many reasons that being in better shape will help you during the hunt.  Just walking to your stand will be easier.  Not sweating as much will help with scent control.  Being able to drag that deer an extra 100 yards to your ATV will be easier.  What about a strong heart for when that buck of a lifetime gives you that dream shot?  So many reasons fitness is a big reason for me and many others on a successful hunt.

Midnight trail run

Midnight 6k run with nothing but a headlamp and the occasional camera flash.

For me, I love going for runs thru the woods.  The up and down hills give a better interval style workout that also burns more calories.  Plus you never know what you’ll run into out there and if you hunt in the same woods, it’s just added scouting.  If you’re not into running or just can’t do it, try adding some weight to your backpack and going for a long hike.  It’s a great workout and will build up those legs and breathing just as good as a hard run.  I also love the gym.  Weight training in combinations with cardio is the best in my book.  You get the feeling you can throw that 200-pound deer over your shoulders and just carry it back the 3 miles to your truck.  Who needs an ATV?

Practice Your Shot

Longbow rudderbows traditional

We all take advantage of practicing our shooting during the warm weather.

This is surely something that everyone should do.  I will admit, I don’t do this enough but wish I could more often.  Practicing your shot will help with every hunt.  How many of you have passed on a shot because you were unsure you could make it?  I hope everyone has, it’s a great practice it has, but not the point.  But worse yet, how many of you have taken a shot you shouldn’t have because you assumed you could connect easily and end up wounding the animal?  Everyone should practice your shots and ideally practice your shots in a hunting situation.  

shooting duathlon

Competing in a run/shoot duathlon. This taught me a lot about shooting while out of breath.

Practicing hunting situation shots is easier than you think.  Now you can go as far as putting on all your hunting gear and putting up a tree stand in your backyard to shoot every day, but that’s not for everyone. But at least take a day and two during the summer to go out and put up a stand and spend a couple of hours shooting.  If you’re like me and already have stands up that have been in the same tree for years, it’s a bonus because now you can shoot all the spots you think you will get shots at during the season.  Other ways are shooting while sitting down as you would be in your stand.  Just think of all the positions you could take a shot during the season and practice those.  My favorite is combining fitness and practicing my shot.  Maybe do some running and shooting.  Being able to control your breathing is a huge help in making that perfect shot.

So while you sit at work or lay in bed thinking about season opening in 5 months, think about it you are ready now.  Get out and get ready today, it makes for a better tomorrow 


Salt Life