Hunting season shapes up

Photo courtesy of Union Sportmens Alliance

It’s that time of year again for getting everything ready for the upcoming hunting season. It will be here before you know it.

While many may have begun refurbishing equipment like tree stands, remote cameras, boiling traps, tuning up bows, sighting in rifles, and going over what gear you have and what you may need to get, there’s one piece of the equation that should not be overlooked; the condition of your health and physical readiness for the rigors of hunting and trapping.

One simple and productive way to start getting in hunting shape is by scouting where you plan to hunt. While traversing the area looking for sign and any changes to the landscape, you’ll be getting yourself acclimated to the ease or difficulty of the terrain.

While the heat of the summer may be a challenge, don’t forget while the weather may be cooler in the fall and winter, you will be wearing a lot more layers and carrying potentially heavy gear when you go out to hunt or trap.

Not to mention the added stress of bagging and dragging a buck or bear out of the woods. If you hunt on state land, you can’t legally use motorized vehicles, and that can be a literal “drag!”

It’s not only no fun, it could be dangerous. Just pre-checking the status of your health and conditioning could be a lifesaver. A few years ago, a friend of mine who is now pushing 70, got the news his younger brother had a heart attack and underwent successful open-heart surgery.

Taking the cue to check his own heart health by seeing his cardiologist, the doctor immediately identified a blockage resulting in emergency quintuple bypass surgery. This all happened to take place a short time before hunting season. If he had not gotten checked and went through the usual rigors of the hunt by himself, who knows what they outcome may have been.

So, it’s probably a good idea to see a doctor for an annual physical before going afield in earnest. It’s also recommended to check with your doctor if you will be starting or drastically increasing an exercise routine.

Another good idea is to avoid hunting alone, especially if you have health issues. If you must hunt by yourself, give someone your location and expected time to emerge from the woods to be on the safe side.

Don’t forget one aspect of human nature; denial! You may feel pretty good and routinely climb up and down tree stands, haul traps and carcasses, drag deer and bear, and manage to get the job done every year but don’t kid yourself. If you truly think about it you might just notice that it’s getting a bit harder each year to withstand the physical demands of hunting and trapping. That’s a normal consequence of aging and we shouldn’t fight that reality.

So, we’ve been shut in with COVID Lockdowns and restrictions for months. Now is a great time to assess your health, increase your endurance, and get ready to get out and hunt!

Happy Hunting, Fishing and Trapping until next time.

2020-2021 hunting licenses went on sale on August 10: Deer Management Permits were available on August 10th as well with the deadline to file on October 1.

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

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