Getting Ready for Sheep
Lastnight I loaded up my pack with two twenty-five pound dumb bells & went on a 2-3 mile hike.
What do you guys do when you're getting ready for sheep/goat etc? Do you just throw a couple weights in your pack like that or do you load your pack more balanced to make it more realistic?
It just felt a little weird with all the weight at the bottom & nothing in the middle or top.
To be honest, in the past, I've never really trained for these hunts, but now that I'm a little older, I figured it may keep me from getting hurt & hopefully get my feet in better sheep shape.
For me staying in shape is a year round activity. For many years I was 40 pounds overweight and out of shape. Five years ago I started getting back into cycling in a big way. Started riding 3-5 times per week on a mountain bike, dropped the 40 pounds and pretty much am in good enough shape to go sheep hunting any day of the year. I do try to do more backpacking and hiking in the summer, but I do not do the weight in the pack climb up the hill workouts. I could still do some fine tuning and will do so as the weather improves this summer, but I don't believe in going soft over the winter and them trying to get trained up in May, June and July.
I used bags of dog food and then hiked some of the steepest terrain i could find close to home.
Load up your pack with every thing you plan on taking on the sheep hunt. Then start climbing the hills as often as you can. Avoid the easily traveled trails. It will be to your advantage to know how to arrange your gear in your pack. You might decide to do with out a few things or aquire some other gear. It will build your endurance and let you know your limits. Don't forget the bandaids and moleskin.
I use some filler like old pillow or blankets when using weights. Once I get worked up to heavier weight I throw in a 50lb bag of some kind of cement mix I've had for years. I use some bulk filler and the straps on the pack bag to get the weight centered so it's not in the bottom of the pack. As I work up from there I'll use 5 and 10 lb weights stuffed in here and there. Plus I carry water for my dog and myself.
The cyclist was onto something here. He trains year round. But to achieve peak fitness for a mega event you need to consider building an aerobic base before you start all the high intensity stuff. There is alot going on physiologically so I'm not gonna rattle it off. Fitness gurus call it periodization. Your going through different periods, aerobic build-intensity event specific training-tapper.
What you need is a good two to three month period of low intensity, long duration workouts to build up your aerobic pathways. For me that is 2-3 hr workouts at like 60% my max HR. Now that were into June, July with Hunts in August. I'm starting higher intensity, short duration stuff. Track work, Hill sprints, Weight training, sprint swimming. I do 2-3 one hour long work outs a week with serious intensity built in. Of course those include warm up and stretching to prevent injury. Which brings me to another fitness component of mountain hunting.........flexablity. Ya gotta be able to monkey over, under, around and along obsticals. That means flexablity. So leave your ego at the door and get on the floor and stretch all your muscles every day.
For me.......I'm gonna leave mega heavy packs at home most of the time. With a sound training program I'm ready to haul when the time comes. I like to think about moving fast in the mountains trying to corner my quarry, thats when the pressure is on.
Good luck gents........I'm doing a long one today myself. I was in the gym and pool yesterday. Along with some arm curls......I caught a few Halibut yesterday evening.
Appreciate the comments
I consider myself to already be in pretty good shape, so I agree with comments about year round training.
I like the idea of distributing the weight by using more gear in my pack to & I think I may try that tonight when I go for a hike again. I don't like the dumbells at the bottom of my pack & I thin using a blanket at the bottom & some of other gear may help make it more realistic.
I also probably should add more stretching to my normal training.
Like I said, I feel I could go out today & sheep hunt, but this year I want to do everything I can to be ready. I'm not worried about Day 1, 2 or 3....I'm thinking about day 9, day 10 etc...
And after reading a lot of posts, I'm considering new hiking boots too, but I'm not sure I want or need to spend 3-400 dollars on a pair of boots.
Couple of things...
Protect those knees! A small properly fitted Ace bandage offers excellent support around the knee. After taking them off, it feels like they should be back on! Fit them properly so that they don't dig into the tendons on the back of the leg.
We've bantered this topic around here, but hiking sticks take alot of the abuse that your body would otherwise receive.
training for sheep
Barneys pack loaded with the gear you are taking and getting on the stair master and or treadmill on the highest incline, while watching those Billy Molls videos.
I bought a couple hiking staffs earlier this year & have been using them this spring. First time I've ever used them, but I'm getting use to it. Do you usually use 1 or 2?
It's a matter of preference, Guy. I borrowed a set about ten years ago, gave one to the son to use and kept one for myself to use. We both instantly realized the incredible stability and confidence that even the one stick afforded.
We then both bought a set of two and will never go back.
Last edited by fullkurl; 10-17-2009 at 19:31.
Ya, I only use one and use it shorter more like a cane... I mean ice axe
Last edited by Snyd; 06-10-2009 at 19:20.
Like Chisana, i stay in shape year round, either running, biking, skiing, or snowshoeing and feel i can hunt sheep or goats at anytime. Two real advantages: its so much easier to stay in top shape then to try and get into top shape. I broke my ankle once and was amazed how long it took to get back in shape after 3 months off. Second advantage is I get lots of invitations to hunt big game because other hunters don't have to worry about me keeping up or carrying my share.
90lb sand bag
90 lb sand bag like the one used for extra weight in the back of your truck works great for those 3 mile uphill hikes 4 times a week.
I usually run and workout the upper body and legs during late fall/winter months into early spring. Then comes the warmer weather, and then I can get out to run then switch to just pack training.
I load my pack up with most of the gear that Im going to take then add old milk jugs filled with water to compensate for the food and extra weight. I also fill up a camelbak bladder that I usually do not carry while hunting.
Im already up to around 50-55 lbs right now for training, eventually going to get up to 85lbs before August 7. Training a few times a week. So far its going good.
Ill be leaving for North Carolina this friday for two weeks well see how out of shape Ill be once I get back...... But how Ive always been raised if your somewhat in shape, everything else is all mental
Feet and head
I went out for a long one yesterday and since the weather was really nice for SE AK. I planned on 5hrs but 7.5hrs later I was back at the car. I climbed with a medium weight pack with some essentials to a peak close to Sitka. While were talking about training my trip yesterday kinda reminded me of three components of mountain hunting worth mentioning.
First.......train you feet. Off camber posistions are the norm while in the mountains. You should be practicing side hilling, severe angles downhill, and steep uphill. This element also gets you ready for those cliff hanger moments when your gonna need to summon all your coordination.
Second......train your upper body. Yesterday reminded me of all the strong movements of your arms and shoulders in the mountains. Between the pole usage and the pull up rock stuff you should be prepared for lots of dips and pull ups.
Third........train your mind. Were all so very different in this regard so I can't pretend to tell anybody how to do this. For me.....actually doing long stuff like yesterday builds lots of confindence in my ability to tough it out after the calories are gone and the muscles are tired and sore.
I hope you all have a wonderful summer. I'm going out fishing again with the girls today and will rest my legs.