By Jeremy Koerber
I’ve heard the arguments. Statements like, “all you do is sit” and “I ride my ATV to my hunting site; why do I need to train to hunt turkeys?” Obviously these naysayers have turkey populations that come directly to their calls while they lounge in one of the nifty camo camping rockers you can get at Cabelas because the turkeys I hunt require a bit more effort to knock down.
I’ll admit that I am a purist and when possible, I like to walk, stalk and crawl to get set up for calling turkeys but to me it goes much deeper than this. In any given hunt you will utilize core strength, power, flexibility, agility and aerobic fitness. Case in point, crossing a slippery limestone bottom creek holding 25 pounds of gear while scampering up a steep bank to walk a ridge that circles a quarter mile around an open field where we had spotted birds. Do you have to be “physically fit” to kill a turkey? I suppose not but when I think of ultimate predators like mountain lions I don’t picture out of shape cats surviving at the top of the food chain. They are lean, stealthy, agile and powerful predators. The Fit To Hunt Tribe sticks to this mindset because they too want to be the ultimate predator. A fit turkey hunter with the same calling skills and woodsman ship will out hunt a non-fit hunter with comparable skills any day of the week because they have the physical tools to keep going.
We began opening day of the Missouri season with very little fanfare. Windy conditions presented zero gobbling and the best we saw was one lone hen. Day two was better but that is where the fitness aspects started to really become a factor as we hunted steep, hilly ridge tops where just getting to the top left me winded. Right there I realized just how hard this would be if I wasn’t in good condition or weighed 30-40 pounds more than I do. Trying to creep through the woods and remain stealthy is next to impossible when you are winded, have poor balance and bad core stability. You might be able to get
to your destination but you are going bust birds.
Day 3 was when the action got hot. We had set up in 3 different locations before 8am where we had to cross a creek in the dark and hot foot it around a patch of woods to head off a group of birds. These feats alone were physically challenging. As we set up near a fallen log, I let out 5 yelps on my slate call and was immediately greeted with a thunderous gobble less than 50 yards away. We immediately fell to our bellies and crawled to a position where I could get my gun up and my grandfather (who took over
calling duties) could operate without being seen. We played a cat and mouse game where I held a modified plank position for almost 30 minutes. Graciously, two gobblers finally gave in and came into view where my 870 Remington dropped the lead bird but that wasn’t the end of the journey. I still had to haul the bird, my gear and my shotgun a half mile to the truck.
My gobbler weighed out at 20 pounds with a 10 inch beard and 1 ½ spurs and I felt every bit of those 20 pounds as I carried him and my gear out of the woods. I also believe that if I did not exercise on a regular basis, I would not have been able to harvest this bird. The circumstances required me to use every aspect of fitness and if I did not possess that conditioning, this specific bird would still be strutting the woods of Southeast Missouri today.
What do you do to physically prepare for Turkey season? Please comment below and let us know how you stay Fit To Hunt.
By Jeremy Koerber
Exercise can be boring and tedious without the right program or without the right folks to train with. Of course, some animals present a greater challenge than others due to geography, habitat and weather but there is a physical element to any game animal we pursue. It is our belief to be in the best shape possible to not only enjoy the hunt more, but have the stamina to press on when others quit. We also believe in having fun which is a key element to sticking with anything. That being said, are you ready for a challenge?
Beginning May 1st, Fit To Hunt will be launching our 1st online event called the 28 Day Challenge with the goal being to help you kick start both your exercise and nutrition habits to prepare for your Fall hunts. And even through the Tribe is made up of folks from all over the U.S. and Canada, the challenge is designed to produce support through community. Have we peaked your curiosity yet? Keep reading.
Here are the challenge guidelines in a nut shell:
1. Purchase a 28 Day Challenge Kit from Wilderness Athlete (we’ll provide you a promo code for $25 off and will e-mail you the code once you sign up for the challenge).
2. Take a before pic of you weighing on a scale with your phone (All we will see is your feet and the number) and e-mail it to email@example.com
3. Like Fit To Hunt, Yo Buck Mineral & Attractant and Wilderness Athlete on Facebook
4. At the end of the challenge you will be asked to send an after pic of you weighing on the scale (same as the initial weigh in) to determine a winner (winners are based on % weight lost relative to their starting weight) and tell us what the challenge did to get you Fit To Hunt.
5. Help build the Tribe by posting pics of you participating in exercise or challenge activities on our Facebook page (You may not think so but you will inspire others to take action).
6. The winner will receive:
Fit To Hunt logo gear (t-shirt, coozie, and Tribe band valued at $30)
1 Month of FREE online coaching ($300 Value)
Two 3-pound bags of Yo Buck Mineral, one 8-pound protein block and a bottle of
supercharger attractant ($45 value)
What do you get just for participating?
1. Access to a private Facebook group where you can ask questions and receive FREE training tips. Plus each week, Head Trainer Nick Lape will do a Q&A just for you!
2. 4 Weekly challenges that will test your fitness, are fun and will get you Fit To Hunt!
3. Peer support and a greater sense of the community that comes from being a member of the Tribe!
4. Greater fitness, nutrition and the jump start you are looking for to prepare for whatever hunt you have planned for the Fall. *WARNING* This challenge could also help you look good in your camo…or a swimsuit. Whichever is more important to you.
5. Greater confidence and a stronger, fitter you!
We are beyond excited to have the ability to put together a challenge that can be done anywhere our
Tribe happens to reside and build the growing movement that is becoming Fit To Hunt. However….we are only taking 15 participants in the 1st challenge beginning May 1.
If you want in, e-mail Nick ASAP at firstname.lastname@example.org. He will give you the finer details and get you ready to smash your challenge beginning May 1.
So what do you say? Are you ready for a challenge that will get you Fit To Hunt?
Turkey season is just around the corner and friend of Fit To Hunt and The Wild Game Chef of From Field To Plate has a recipe that will make you want to get out and chase those thunder chickens just a little bit more!
Just click through to: Wild Ground Turkey & Tomato Vegetable Soup
Contributions made by Fit2Hunt Staff!