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Idaho Elk, Mule Deer and Black Bear Blog

Here you will find information about our Idaho Elk, Mule Deer and Black Bear hunts. We will also blog about our area, as special offers, issues that affect us or are important to us.

Trail Conditioning: Physical Prep for Big Game Hunting

Trail Conditioning is necessary for a successful hunt Spring is here, and it’s time to step out of the gym and walk trails that match real-world hunting conditions. Or better yet, walk off-trail. Exercising on a treadmill or elliptical offers an effective method of strengthening leg muscles and enhancing cardio endurance, though these machines will never replicate the walking conditions you’ll encounter in the wilderness.

Whether you walk foot trails, horse trails, game trails or off-trail, the Earth’s surface where you step is not flat. Increase the grade on your treadmill, you say? I’m not referring to grade or slope. Backcountry trails are full of rocks roots, and logs. Whether or not the trail you follow goes uphill, downhill, or across level ground, your boot soles contact uneven ground, or relatively even spots amongst the rumble which you have chosen to plant your foot. Therefore, balance, agility, and keen eye-to-foot coordination are essential for maintaining an upright position as you walk and search for game. You can read a book or watch a movie when walking on a treadmill—not so on a mountain trail. Try it and you’ll soon be flat on your face. To condition yourself for walking on uneven terrain, you must exercise on uneven terrain. Practice on spending minimal time with your eyes focused on the trail, as you’ll see more game while hunting if you know where your feet are without having to look down every step. Like a wide receiver knows where his feet are as he searches for the ball.

It’s always best to wear hunting boot when exercising on trails to fully duplicate hunting conditions. This gets leg muscles accustomed to lifting full boot-weight, which syncs with eye-to-foot coordination so boots clear obstacles. Wearing hunting boots when exercising also develops calluses in the right spots. Get out there and toughen up.

Good hunting,

Joe Cavanaugh

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