There is nothing like chasing bugling bull elk up in the mountains. If you have ever been on a high mountain elk hunt, you know the type of shape you need to be in. If you haven’t been lucky enough to do such a hunt need to know what to be prepared for when you get there.
When you are getting in shape for a high mountain hunt you have to consider several things. The air will be thinner so it will be harder to breathe. You will most likely be climbing steep un-even terrain. You will be carrying guns/bows, packs, binoculars and other gear. You have to be quick and quiet as you sneak up on an animal. Ultimately, you want to be in the best shape to perform at high elevations and still make an accurate, ethical shot on your target.
2. Be in shape
We all know how to get in shape. If you look around the internet, you will find thousands of methods. Choose the one that is your favorite, and like the Nike slogan says, “Just Do It”. Stay focused in cardio training, muscle strengthening, proper nutrition and always work on shooting form. If possible, train at a higher elevation. It will be helpful because your body will produce more red blood cells to help carry oxygen to your muscles. This is especially important when you will be hunting at an elevation where the air is thin and oxygen is hard to come by.
When you are training, it really helps to carry a loaded pack. A pack will change your body’s center of gravity and cause muscles you never use to work over-time. If you run, walk or hike with a loaded pack, your hip and abdominal muscles will be strengthened and you won’t have to worry as much about losing your balance as you ascend a steep mountain.
3. Arrive early
I am fortunate to live at a high elevation. If you don’t have this luxury, try to arrive at the high mountain location a couple weeks, or at least a couple days, early. It will give you time to acclimate and your blood time to thicken so it can carry more oxygen to your muscles. If you cannot arrive early, take it slow when you get there.
You need to pace yourself as you hunt. Hike in spurts. Look up the mountain and choose a destination or a number of steps you will take. Hike as far as you can without causing muscle strain or losing your breath. Take breaks as necessary so you don’t become light headed.
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