One thing hunters can agree on is th...



One thing hunters can agree on is that hunting is physically demanding. More and more, hunters are treating hunting as a year-round endeavor by staying in shape throughout the off season in order to help ensure success while in the field.

What do you do to stay in shape? We asked some seasoned industry experts how they stay prepared year-round for the hunting season. Their training may vary, but one thing is clear: maintaining physical condition is crucial to in-season performance.

Jarret Deuling
Outfitter, Deuling Stone
Central East Yukon

I’m a huge advocate of P90X. It almost kills me but it’s amazing. I really try to push that to my hunters—it’s 30 minutes, minimal equipment. I love it.

Bob House
Guide, Deuling Stone
Central East Yukon

I am very committed to my off-season nutrition and conditioning to be in the best possible shape for guiding. I believe in the philosophy that it is much easier to stay ready than to get ready. Over the past few years I have gotten into triathlons and have done at least one triathlon per year. My motivation for training and competing in triathlons is solely so I can be in the best possible shape for my hunters. I never want to be the reason my hunter is not successful. If, for any reason, I need to do more than my share on a backpack hunt, I want to be certain I’m prepared to do so to ensure my hunter goes home with a curly set of horns and a lifetime of memories.

Randy Johnson
High Desert Wild Sheep Guides
Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Mexico, New Mexico, Arizona, British Columbia, Northwest Territories

I stay in shape by spending a great deal of my time hiking and backpacking in the mountains. I’m always planning, scouting, and going on backpacking trips. I don’t spend much time running anymore, but when I do I run I do “hill intervals.” During the summer months I also have a steep mountain bike course mapped out near my home that really gives me an incredible workout. I don’t lift weights that much anymore, but when I do I work in a lot of deadlifts and lunges. Another workout I try and fit into my schedule is yoga that involves a lot of stretching.

Frank Noska
Bow Hunter

Most people would not believe it, but I never go to the gym. My general lifestyle here in Alaska keeps me in shape. I am very active outdoors. Whether it be a long hike to a good fishing hole through the mud flats in a pair of waders, hiking in Black bear bait to a remote bait station, or packing building supplies from the plane up to the cabin, I physically exert myself all the time just living the way I live. This is what keeps me in shape.

Jay Scott
Outfitter, Colburn and Scott Outfitters
Western US & Northern Mexico

I hike year around in the mountains around my home in Scottsdale, AZ. June, July and August I do a lot of hiking in the mountains of Colorado at elevations between 9,000-12,000 feet, which is where I spend the summer.

Spike Lewis
Outfitter, Bolen Lewis Trophy Guiding Co.
North Coast Mountains & North East Slope of the Rocky Mountains, British Columbia

I was a cross country runner in college so running has always been part of my life and traditionally my favorite way to stay in shape. About a month before the season I also start walking with weight in my pack. This has changed as I have aged. I still run but I spend way more time in the gym keeping my legs strong. I feel like I can get in the same shape as I could when I was 20, but it takes more time and goes away quicker than it did before. I feel staying strong in the gym and spending more time stretching helps my body feel young on the mountain. Since I turned 40 staying in good shape year-round and eating right have become an integral part of my lifestyle. I want to enjoy the mountains for many years.

Willie Hettinger

I try to do something 5 days a week, mostly cardio and if I can be outside, that is where I go. I also use the local gym when I have to. I don’t run much anymore– it is too hard on my joints. I do lots of stairs with a pack on or my kid on my back.

This article has 3 comment(s)

  1. Daniele Sestini

    Totally agree, this is not the usual habit here in Italy, where hunters tend to spend more time with their legs under the table…
    The fitter you are, the more you enjoy the experience at 360°

  2. Ben Beddingfield

    Thanks for providing these pros inputs and workouts. I was just about to ask what workouts you do and scrolled down and saw their comments.. Thanks
    You should come up with a KUIU work out that has in season and off season. It could even be hunt specific mountain goat vs. moose vs. whitetail. They require different physical demands and could be tailored to each … Just a thought. Moose/Caribou hunt in Alaska this year kicked my but. Tussocks are more demanding to walk in . Especially when uphill. I haven’t been able to purchase any of your stuff yet but I am watching sales. I know its good, quality gear.

  3. Regg Simon

    On days when time is short, I will do a 10 minute warm-up on the treadmill and then a 18 – 20 minute HIIT workout where you use your entire body. I am typically done in under 35 minutes start to finish. On days when I have more time, I’ll do the same thing, but at the end of the HIIT workout I’ll get back on the treadmill for an additional 30 – 60 minutes and do hill training. The older I have got (42) the more I enjoy the HIIT training because you use your body to move – which is what it was intended for. The HIIT is also great for core muscles & balance – which directly translates to the hunt when packing heavy loads across the tussocks or crawling up a steep approach.