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Time running out to get in shape for hunting season

August 31, 2018 08:00 pm

With some early hunting seasons already upon us — squirrel and early goose open today and early bear in selected WMUs opens next Saturday — it’s not too late to improve your fitness before other upcoming seasons arrive.

Walking long distances or inclines with heavy gear, climbing tree stands, carrying canoes, kayaks, guns and ammo, plus bagging and dragging a deer or bear can strain even those in great shape. Add to that the potential excitement of harvesting the “deer or bear of a lifetime” and even the good stress could take a toll.

The first step when planning an exercise program is to assess your current health and fitness. Consider consulting your doctor before starting a vigorous exercise regimen.

Depending upon your age and health, you may want to look into how long it’s been since you had a physical that included a check of your heart. A friend of mine did just that recently and he is glad he did.

What prompted this 65-year-old active hunter, who’s been a regular at the gym, to get his heart checked was his brother’s sudden need for immediate bypass surgery. Not suspecting any issues, he went to his cardiologist for a stress test strictly as a precaution.

Having surpisingly good endurance for his age, once he passed the first heart rate threshold the doctor asked if he wanted to stop or continue. He said he wanted to go on and continued through several more high-heartrate benchmarks before the test was ended abruptly indicating a problem.

When asked if he wanted a catheterization, an invasive procedure that probes the interior of your circulatory system, he said absolutely. It found three blocked valves and he was scheduled for immediate open-heart surgery. The final tally was five bypasses completed.

I’m happy to report the surgery and recovery are going remarkably well. He may even be able to hunt this gun season for deer.

The moral here is discretion (or precaution) is the better part of valor. Additionally, while we must, and should, rely on the expertise of doctors and other health care professionals, in my opinion, you always have to “be your own doctor.” Take appropriate action if you suspect an issue or feel the need to have the doctor go beyond the minimum testing or recommendation they are considering.

Speaking with some other hunters in good health, other than aging with back issues, they agreed it’s important to start or intensify some type of low impact cardio boosting exercise before going afield.

So, let’s all take the time to safely get in the best shape we can to enjoy what we have been waiting for; that “most wonderful time of the year.”

News and Notes

— The Columbia-Greene Sportsmen’s Association is holding its annual banquet on Sept. 15 at Kozel’s Restaurant in Ghent. Doors open at 5 p.m. Dinner tickets are available from any member or you can contact Michele at 518-758-6807.

— The Kinderhook Sportsmen’s Club is holding an “Open House” on Sept. 30. All ranges will be open free of charge except the trap range which will only cost $4 per round. There is a 28-target, bow, rifle and pistol range. Those who wish to shoot pistol must possess a valid NYS Pistol Permit. Club Grounds are open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the event with breakfast and lunch available with a chicken barbeque at 4 p.m.

— The Roe Jan Creek Boat Club presents its annual Beef Barbeque on Sept. 16. It’s an “all you can eat” affair. In addition to the beef barbeque, hot dogs and soda are included for the one price of $14 for adults and $7 for kids 12 and under. For tickets and more information call 518-828-7173 or leave a message on the club phone at 518-828-5954

— The Kalicoontie Rod & Gun Club is holding a firearms Hunter Safety Course at their club on Oct. 6. You must register for this class through DEC’s website ( and complete the homework prior to attending. Use this website to locate the many gun and bow classes being offered now so you can take advantage of the fast approaching 2018-19 hunting season.

— The Catskill Mountain Fish & Game Club has trap shooting open to the public on Tuesdays starting at 6 p.m. at their club at 167 Hylan Road in Hunter. Cost is $10 per round of 25. For more information, call Bob Monteleone at 518-488-0240.

— Remember to report poaching violations by calling 1-844-DEC-ECOS.

Happy hunting and fishing until next time.

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