It is December and for many of us, our tags are filled and our minds are now focused on waterfowl or non-hunting activities. Some may still be out looking to tag a doe for the freezer or try for a last chance buck in late season but no matter what luck you had in the woods this Fall, it is time to start thinking about ramping up your workout program for 2019.
Here are a few tips to help you get started the right way:
It would be super easy to sandbag the rest of 2018 and start in January but putting off your routine another four weeks will only make it harder to get in the kind of shape necessary to excel in your outdoor pursuits.
Everyone is waiting for the New Year. We encourage you to start today!
Schedule your workouts now:
December is a hard month to adhere to an exercise program. You not only have to go to work and take care of home related chores but we also have to contend with shopping, parties and holiday travel. You know the 12 Days of Christmas? How about the 12 Days of Fitness! Open the calendar on your phone and book 12 workouts in December right now. If they are in your calendar you are less likely to skip.
Reduce your training volume and intensity:
If you have been in an in-season program or have put your workouts on hold the last few months while you were out chasing whitetails, start back slow. The number one cause of injury in people beginning an exercise program is doing too much too soon. If you normally do 30 sets in a workout start with 16-18 sets for a week or so and slowly add a set or two back in until you are back to your normal volume. Do the same with your intensity.
Set a goal:
Be specific on what you want to achieve short term (the month of December) and long term (2019). Perhaps your short term goal is to simple workout 12 times in December (see above)? Do you have a bucket list elk hunt on the horizon or do you simply want more stamina and performance in the field? All are great reasons to set clearly defined goals and get to work!
A goal without a plan is just a wish.
The coaching professionals at Fit To Hunt can help you develop a plan and help you adhere to your workouts.
E-mail Jeremy at email@example.com to get started!
What are your suggestions for getting back into a routine post-hunting season?
Please leave a comment below and stay #FitToHunt!
It was February when I was introduced to executive producer of the Huntco, Joe Allen, and learned about his planned trip to hunt Roosevelt elk in Oregon. We jumped at the opportunity to help Joe on his quest and the training began.
Over the next seven months with the help of the Wilderness Athlete 28 Day Challenge, Fit To Hunt exercise programming and online coaching Joe not only lost 15 pounds and earned an incredible level of fitness, he also connected on a magnificent bull with a well-placed 73 yard shot. The question after the arrow struck true and the hero pictures were taken is "What’s next?"
For many of us, that would be it. We achieved the goal and would quickly forget about all the things we did to obtain a high level of fitness and conditioning. We would start to exercise less and eat more foods that will accelerate weight gain and poor health. Pretty soon, we are back to the condition we were in before we started the journey to get #FitToHunt. We see it all the time. People get in shape to run races, look great for vacations or weddings or to satisfy job requirements….then we quit.
Last week Joe texted to say he wanted to continue the journey; a message that made me smile ear to ear. You see, Joe isn’t just an outdoor TV host. He is also:
➥ A husband
➥ A father
➥ A business owner
➥ An entrepreneur
➥ A friend
➥ A son
He has responsibilities and one of the bullet points in his job description is to be a role model for his two children. Instead of “dad bod” he is actively choosing with intent to be a fit dad.
There is no rest for the weary. He returned home from Oregon to just in time for bow season in Missouri and in order to produce an outdoor television show, you need footage; A lot of footage. This means limited time so here is what Joe is doing to stay fit and log hours in the stand:
Wilderness Athlete 28 Day Challenge:
Joe did a GREAT job improving his nutrition over the last seven months but found he had given back 3-5 pounds. He needed a kick start and finding success earlier in the year with the system, decided to do another challenge to get back to the 210 range.
To order your 28 Day Challenge click HERE.
We created a customized In-Season program:
Joe specially requested an in-season program that would allow him to maintain his weight loss and fitness while still allowing plenty of time to chase whitetails. The theory is same for any athlete. For example, baseball players still train during their season but not at the same volume, frequency or intensity as pre-season because they are busy playing baseball. As outdoor athletes, we are out chasing deer from September through January in Missouri. It is important to continue with a workout program but cut back on volume, intensity and frequency so you can spend ample time in the field but not lose the conditioning you fought hard to obtain.
Joe set a measureable goal:
Joe dropped 15 pounds for his elk hunt. His plan is to drop five more pounds by January 2019 and an additional ten pounds by the opener of Missouri turkey season. By setting a larger overall goal and having specific milestones to achieve, he will have a clearer focus throughout deer season and the months in between deer and turkey season when he will ramp up his workouts and nutrition.
We also keep Joe on the straight and narrow by holding him accountable. After each workout Joe texts to let us know he has finished his routine. We also schedule regular phone calls or video chats to go over his program and make adjustments as needed.
I spoke to Joe last week as he traveled to Florida with his family to film an alligator hunt and he was genuinely excited about his program. He has a goal in mind, a plan and a support system that will help get him over the finish line and you will get to see the whole thing on the new season of the Huntco in January 2018.
Want to learn more about the Huntco?
You can check them out at www.huntcotv.com.
Want to perform better in the field, improve health and CRUSH your goals?
Contact us to start a Fit To Hunt program today!
Spoiler Alert: You are not doing it!
Sure, that is a simplistic way of looking at it but one of the hallmarks of a Fit To Hunt program is keeping things simple. Once you overthink it or try to do too much, feelings of being overwhelmed set in and you quit. With bow season for whitetail and elk opening across the country, now is the time to nail down some key concepts so you can stay fit for the field, healthy and maintain a steady workout routine.
Pick something and do it a lot:
Here is the biggest secret that other coaches don’t want you to know. If you push yourself even the slightest bit outside of your comfort zone on a regular basis, you will see improvements in conditioning, body fat, strength, etc. There are an insurmountable number of exercise combinations so try not to get lost in the white noise out there and do something. Preferably 3-5 days per week.
In sales, we are trained to overcome objections. Fitness is no different. If you allow your brain to start rationalizing all of the other things you “need” to do, fitness and nutrition get put on the back burner. Here is the deal, if you do not plan out your workouts the likelihood of them happening is zippo. Place them in your calendar and treat them like they are the most important meeting in the world and you will keep them. Do not give yourself an excuse to get out of exercise.
Get a stronger why:
I’m a big believer in passion. If you do not wake up every day with a burning desire to crush your goals, then your goals may not be strong enough. Case in point I know a guy who has not exercised in years who has been doing a boot camp 3-4 days a week for the last three weeks. His why? His wife won’t let him go on an elk hunt in 2019 unless he is in good enough shape to return home safely. Guess what? He is exercising regularly. If you aren’t, re-think your goals.
You are doing the wrong workout:
Yes, yes, we said do anything but are you doing the workout that speaks to your likes, dislikes, personality and goals. Zumba is a great class and if that is all you will do, awesome job of moving but spicy dancing won’t help you a ton on the mountain. There are also a lot of garbage workouts out there in the guise of functional fitness.
If you are frustrated, stuck, unmotivated or simply looking for a change, we would love to help. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.
The workout is the “how.”
Understanding your why or reasoning for doing the workout is critical.
Follow the tips above and you will find yourself crushing your workouts and obliterating your goals!
Dr. Gregory Judice - Owner of Judice Sports & Rehab and FTH Contributor
The shoulder is one of the most complicated joints of the body. It is also a joint that is incredibly important to bow hunters. Because of the shoulder's anatomy, it has the ability to move in many different directions (a high degree of mobility) and there is a natural lack of stability. For any joint to be healthy, there needs to be a balance between the mobility and the stability.
There are a lot of different things that go into shoulder health. Today we are focusing on shoulder mobility and rotator cuff strength. Future blogs will include information on shoulder blade mobility and strength, upper back mobility, and core stability. All of these areas need to work together for you to function normally and be at your best in the field this Fall!
In general, for most conditions of the body, it is important to have proper range of motion before working towards strengthening. When I work with a new client, we slowly progress them into a new range of motion and then strengthen the muscles in that new range. Any other way and we just get strong in the old range of motion but have zero strength in the new range of motion.
Stretching before strengthening helps us keep the shoulder in better condition, and is a simple way to remember this rule.
For archery athletes, keeping good flexibility in the shoulders is key to a successful hunt. Having good range of motion in the shoulder allows bowhunters to rotate their arms toward and away from the bow as needed. Strength between the shoulder blades is equally as important. This strength keeps the hunter from shaking and enables him/her to relax the muscles of the forearm. If either of these key pieces are missing, the bow can slip from grip, shake, or be used improperly and cause pain to the hunter.
Common injuries to the shoulder include rotator cuff tendonitis, rotator cuff strain, labral tears, biceps tendinopathy, bursitis, frozen shoulder, impingement, instability, or fractures. The following exercises can help with many of the above conditions, but a proper diagnosis and discussion with a physical therapist are recommended before beginning these type of exercises.
Before we discuss the best ways to improve your shoulder range of motion and strength, let’s point out that every person is different, and some of these activities may not work for you.
If any of these activities cause pain, you should stop doing them.
Racquetball soft tissue mobility:
Often times I like to incorporate some soft tissue work or self-massage into my stretching programs. This helps to increase the blood flow to the area, getting the muscles and other layers prepared for stretching. One potential reason for limited mobility in the shoulders could be stiffness in the muscles or ligaments around the shoulder. Working on the flexibility in these tissues can help ease some tension in the area, increase range of motion, and potentially decrease the pain in the area.
A racquetball is firm enough to be effective but soft enough to not cause pain. We recommend
working the ball around your shoulder, from the front to the back. Repeat with the arm overhead, with the ball near your armpit, but not in the center of your armpit. There are some tender spots in some folks, and we recommend avoiding the areas that cause pain.
Flexion and abduction over exercise ball:
After you have warmed up with some soft tissue work, it can be a good idea to work on your general shoulder mobility for overhead motions. There are a lot of different ways to stretch, but I prefer activities that require you to move and use your core muscles. We rarely use any joint in by itself, so it is nice to include full body movement and strengthening into your stretches when appropriate.
Stretching over a ball allows you to stretch through your entire range of motion, and in multiple
directions. When stretching for a warm-up, 15 seconds is enough hold time, but if you are stretching and trying to increase your range of motion a 30-second hold is better. We recommend 2-3 repetitions with arms going forward, 2-3 repetitions with the arms to the left, and 2-3 repetitions with the arms to the right. If you experience pain during this motion, try it with your hands farther apart from each other, and make sure you move slower and with control to keep from over flexing your shoulder.
Golf club internal and external rotation:
This is a more specific stretch for those of you with a lack of range motion.
Check out the video for how to perform this stretch well.
If you’re not sure if this stretch applies to you, try each of these motions:
1. Reach up and behind your head, trying to touch your hand to the top of your shoulder blade
on the same side. If you can do this easily, you probably don’t need this stretch. If you can’t do
this, it is very difficult, or it causes pain you likely lack some external rotation.
2. Reach down and back, behind your back, trying to touch your hand to the bottom of the
shoulder blade on the same side. Again, if this is easy for you, don’t worry about your range of
motion. If you have pain or struggle with performing this, you likely lack internal rotation.
Prone 90-90 shoulder external rotation:
This is one of my all-time favorite exercises. It involves a lot of muscles at the same time and is a
great strengthening exercise. Athletes use this exercise a lot to help them stay strong in their sport. This exercise strengthens the muscles needed to draw a bow and keep it level and steady.
Start with lying on your stomach on a stable surface with your arm hanging off of that surface.
Next, squeeze your shoulder blade and lift your arm with your elbow bent and pointed away from you. Then, rotate your shoulder to bring your hand closer to the ceiling. Try to rotate as high as your arm will let you without cheating (moving your elbow or lifting your chest off of the table). Finish by slowly rotating your hand back down, then relaxing the shoulder blade.
Try for at least 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.
Exercise band pulldowns:
This exercise uses several different motions, and also allows us to strengthen into internal rotation. Having equal strength in both the front and back of your shoulder while rotating is very important for maintaining mobility and stability through the shoulder.
Start with the band anchored behind you, and your straightened arm out to the side slightly above shoulder height. Pull the band across your body in the direction of your opposite hip, keeping a tall chest through the motion. We recommend 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions with this exercise as well.
These exercises work together to keep a good balance of mobility and stability through the shoulder and should help you get back to the things you love doing, or help you stay active for longer. Again, if you have any pain with these activities, consult with your local physical therapist, or shoot us an email to see if we can help.
Dr. Judice is the owner of Judice Sports & Rehab in the St. Louis, MO area. He earned his doctorate from Saint Louis University and has been honored with the distinction of Orthopedic Clinical Specialist. To learn more about the shoulder from Dr. Judice, or to become a patient, visit www.shoulderexpertstlouis.com for information.
Are you a sports fan?
A common statement you will hear from almost all athletes is that every time they move to the next level of their sport (Youth, High School, College or Professional) the game, at least in the beginning, is a lot faster than they are used to.
Their competition is bigger, faster, stronger and more talented and it takes a while for them to adjust to the speed of the game. Eventually, you will hear statements like “the game is beginning to slow down.” Typically this will be from an athlete who has worked hard and has improved to a level that matches the abilities and conditioning of their opponents.
Let’s get two things clear:
1. Even if you have never played an organized sport, you are an athlete. You are traversing different types of landscape, hanging stands, scouting properties, drawing bows and hopefully, packing out game. All of these require athletic moves and conditioning.
2. Trying to make a lifestyle change where you are incorporating exercise, nutrition, recovery, stress management and still live your life can be massively overwhelming.
In your current level in the game of life, the game is probably slow enough for you to manage, meaning that you can handle work, getting the kids to soccer practice, mowing the yard or doing the laundry. Now, add in a lifestyle change such as the implementation of an exercise plan or an improvement in nutrition and things speed up; in a hurry!
This is because you have added components into your everyday life that will alter your daily patterns and force you to adjust what and how you go about your business. Most of us can handle all of these newfound additions for a week to two weeks but once a barrier or two hits, you get a few nights of very little sleep or the initial excitement that you are doing something to change your health or physique wanes, you quit. Just like an athlete who couldn’t adjust to the speed of the game. So what now?
Slow the game down.
Know your role:
On a team, it is important that everyone knows their role. If you are a one-person team
clearly define your goals (your why) so that as your coach develops your program it will align perfectly with your objectives. If you do not have a coach, we would love to work with you!
Know the playbook:
It is hard to perform well on the field if you do not know the plays. It is even harder to be successful in your program and achieve your goals if you do not understand the program. If you have questions, ask your coach!
Master the plays one play at a time:
Depending on where you are in your fitness journey, you may have a very lengthy playbook. Nevertheless, to avoid becoming overwhelmed master your strategies before
adding more. If you aren’t good at one play it is highly likely you will become better by adding more things. Get good at the simple stuff first then progress to harder strategies.
Practice makes perfect:
If you want the game to slow down you have to practice. What you are doing in your fitness/nutrition journey on a daily basis is practicing. I have heard it said that if you do anything for 10,000 hours you will become an expert. I don’t know if that is true but what I can say is the more you practice the better you will perform.
If you want to become a better archer you have to shoot your bow.
The more you practice the better you will get.
The same goes for exercise and nutrition.
Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t the best in the beginning.
We all struggle but those who persevere and refuse
to give up often times wins the game.
We would be honored to help you on your journey!
The longer I work in the health and fitness industry the more I am convinced that if you want success, you must be willing to slow down the process by which you will become fitter. Our society has conditioned us to think that we can achieve a lot in a very short amount of time and when that does not happen, we quit.
In the hunting world we accept the fact it will take 4 ½ to 5 ½ half years to grow a mature buck but we won’t give a new workout or nutrition plan two weeks if we do not see immediate change. It doesn’t make sense. There is no such thing as an overnight success and it is silly to think one can undo years of lifestyle behaviors in a few weeks and not struggle.
Case in point, we are in the second go around with an online coaching client who double dips as a salesman during the weekday and a guide for an outfitter in Northern Missouri on the weekend. When we worked with him the first time, he was successful to the point where eating right and exercising became hard. Then he quit.
This isn’t the first time he as quit a lifestyle modification. Work, kids and life always got in the way and it appeared he would continue down that road until a well-timed hunt allowed us to take the relationship to the next level.
In a snow goose spread in Northern Missouri I got to know John a little better and hear first- hand his struggles with his health, fitness/nutrition and weight gain (the birds weren’t working so we had a lot of time to talk). Hanging out chatting in a layout blind I learned:
Like many of us, he wanted to start something but really had no idea where to start. After I got home from my hunting trip (it yielded three Canada Geese and many new friends) I gave him a quick call to see if he was ready to begin a new journey and surprisingly, he said “yes.” I also knew what we needed to do to help him have success!
I am the professional coach and personal trainer. I already know what a prospective client needs to do before we even have a conversation but despite what many believe, my job is not to tell people what to do. Shocked?
Let me ask you this question: Do you like to be told what to do? Me either.
John’s second journey into online coaching began with a simple question: What do you think you need to do to improve your health?
Kind of weird that the coach who is being paid to coach is asking the client for the solution, huh?
John thought for a second and came up with a few strategies that would work for him. Together, we selected one strategy: eat breakfast.
As a salesman he is up early and on the road so I recommended Wilderness Athlete’s Meal Replacement:
I suggested he start by drinking a shake five days a week. Once he mastered breakfast he added another strategy (walking ten minutes three days a week) and followed that up a few weeks later by packing healthy snacks for when he is on the road.
I spoke to John just yesterday and not only has he done a great job of assimilating these strategies into his life, he has made choices on his own that have fast tracked his success. The highlight of the call was learning he is down 16 pounds!
This was not an overnight process. It started in January and it wasn’t until the last few weeks that the number of strategies he had implemented combined at a level that caused weight loss.
Could he have lost those 16 pounds faster? Sure he could but this was a process he helped create at a pace that fit his lifestyle and readiness for change.
At this rate, we should start to see John’s success speed up rapidly because as fitness improves so does the ability to burn more calories when he exercises. He is now making good food choices the majority of the time and feels really good about what he is doing; mentally and physically. In his words, “I’ve bought into the process.” He is genuinely excited about the results he has achieved and gave me a list of goals he wants to accomplish.
Are you struggling? Maybe the answer in what you want to accomplish or the strategies you intend to use to get there. Maybe, you just need to slow down.
If we can be of assistance we would love to coach you to the next level.
To learn more about online coaching email Jeremy at email@example.com
Even at 42 I love the last day of school. I have made it a priority to be there when my kids walk out the door for the last time because frankly, it represents a freedom…or sense of freedom you and I have not experienced in a long time.
As we plan and form strategies on how to use the limited time us adults have for fishing trips, scouting, hanging stands, prepping for backcountry hunts and adding in the family vacation, to the youngsters, summer is endless. We know that to not to be true.
Mother Nature is fickle. In my opinion she loves to land the best day of the week for outside activities in the middle of the week when you and I are on the job. In St. Louis, MO where Fit To Hunt is headquartered, the summer heat and humidity can be BRUTAL! Weekends are the only time many of us have to take those trips and make those preparations to our hunting properties; heat or no heat.
We can’t stop because of the temperature, but if not planned for properly the heat can make you ill in the blink of an eye. Here are some tips to help you beat the heat this summer no matter where you reside!
Once acclimated, increase your fluid intake because you will sweat more. Make sure you have fluids with you at all times. Thirst is not an indicator of dehydration.
If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated.
We recommend Wilderness Athlete Hydrate & Recover products for two reasons:
1. It not only replaces electrolytes but contains Branch Chain Amino Acids, Glutamine and Coenzyme-Q10 to help your muscles recover. Most commercial sports drinks are sugar and salt.
2. They are low glycemic, meaning they will not spike blood sugar and contain better ingredients than what you grab at the local gas station.
Do your work, exercise or play in the morning or evening:
Activity performed when the weather is the coolest is the smart way to go if your schedule will accommodate, but if it is necessary to get work (or play) done during the hottest part of the day, avoid direct sun. If exercising outdoors, avoid hot surfaces like asphalt.
Break it up:
Increase the frequency and duration of rest breaks.
Dress for the Weather:
Loose, light colored clothing is the way to go! Avoid cotton tees and look for
tri-blends and dri-fit materials that will keep you cool.
Finally...don't forget the sunscreen:
Protect yourself from skin cancer by wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30!
What outdoor adventures or hunting property preparations are you making?
Tag us in your pics at
I have been a fitness and strength coach now for the better part of a decade and I have seen countless lives changed. I have seen true happiness flood people’s hearts as they realize how successful they have become. And every time it happens, I want to be happy for them. I want to shout it from the rooftops. I want EVERYONE to know how successful this person has been. But, there is a constant theme to this paragraph... “I”. I am excited, I am happy, I want... But what about the client whose achievements I'm trying to celebrate?
This last week I had a TRULY eye opening moment. In the past, usually clients have been all too ready to share their successes. And then there are times when they hold back a little bit before they allow me to use their personal testimony to help them brag about their success (and a potential case study to help instill confidence in others about our training abilities). And while this is great for all parties, last Friday I was humbled. I asked if one of our gyms long time clients would be willing to use his before and after picture as a testimonial... In short, he said, “No.” I couldn't believe it. How could a
guy that has become one of the strongest members, physically, that I've ever coached not want to brag about his fitness path. Then it hit me hard upside my melon sized head that it wasn't my journey to talk about in the first place.
Client Fred (name changed to protect the innocent) didn't say “No” to be difficult. His explanation, though simple, seemed to have a much deeper meaning for me. Fred said, “That before picture you saw, isn't my real before picture. I'll bring that one in tomorrow.” And he did. The look on his face when he showed me said it all. There was no going back for Fred.
He said, “I don't care to see a before and after because I don't want to be reminded of 'that guy'. I know where I came from, I know how hard I've worked, and 'that guy' is long out of the picture.” And with that one statement, I realized that someone else’s fitness journey will always have a deeper meaning to them than I may ever know.
How many demons, vices or situations are people able to escape by simply building themselves up physically and mentally? What kind of past have they attempted to get away from only to have those old thoughts and memories creep back in to sabotage the hard work they have put in? And when they have become truly successful, how hard do they constantly have to work on the inside to keep that part of life at bay? Good heavens, I couldn't stop the questions that ran through my head last Friday. I had seen a picture of a man I didn't even recognize. How could I not have realized that most of these
journeys started long before they came to me. Long before they learned how to deadlift, eat clean or run a 5K?
It took one picture of one client to make me think of the journeys of just about every client that I've trained in the past. I had so many thoughts that I was almost exhausted by the time I stood up again. I couldn't believe it had taken 7 years for me to realize that not every journey is the same. There is no generic story line for every health and wellness journey. Every single person that walks through the door has fought and/or is still fighting their battles, usually multiple, that started before I ever met them. Some of those battles will be talked about. Some will be glorified for all to see. Others will be
left to fade away only to be thought of as some distant place in time. And I realized that it's ok. No matter how physically and mentally strong you become, it's ok to leave those things behind.
When you're gearing up to get strong, physically or mentally...remember it all starts with hydration! Visit Wilderness Athlete and grab their on-the-go friendly Hydrate and Recover packets to help ensure you're always ready to meet the demands of the day!
Each season I tell myself "___ season" is my favorite game animal to pursue but I really do think it is hard to compare anything to the anticipation and excitement of Spring turkey season. No matter where you hunt, Spring turkey season is magical but I have been blessed to call Missouri, one of the top turkey hunting destinations in the country, home my entire life and I never take for granted just how good hunting in the Show Me State can be.
For the last 10-12 years, a vast majority of my hunting has been on small tracts of land in and around Southern Missouri and for the most part, it has lived up to expectations. My family farm is a prime example of how small tracts can produce awesome hunts. Unfortunately, two years of poor hatches and habitat destruction is taking its toll on the turkey populations on the places I love to hunt the most.
In the 2018 Spring Turkey guide published by the Missouri Department of Conservation, hunters were warned that while Missouri is still a prime destination, hunters may have to work a little harder to fill their tag. 2016 was a very poor hatch; this will result in fewer two year old gobblers. 2017 was not much better for poult production. Mother Nature can be cruel but she can also be forgiving. While we are off to a very cold 2018 season, it remains to be seen what turkey production will be like this year. One to two good seasons and turkey numbers will rebound. The one thing they cannot rebound from is habitat destruction.
According to the National Wild Turkey Federation prime turkey habitat includes:
🍃 Trees for food, daytime resting, escape cover and roost sites
🌱 Grasses that provide food for adults and poults
🐣 Nesting habitat, including developed understory of vegetation and overhead cover
🐛 Brooding habitat that is insect rich and provides cover
Dad’s farm is 100 acres but only has 10-20 acres in timber. The rest is crop land or pasture but the farm has been surrounded by other properties for decades that provided ample nesting habitat and as a result, this small tract of land produced a lot of turkeys. Today this is not the case.
My son and I braved the unseasonably cold elements for this year’s youth season on the family farm and were incredibly disappointed in the lack of turkeys on the property. A two day hunt produced zero gobbling and only one visual turkey sighting. Remember that in year’s past, there were a multitude of birds due to the right habitat components but urban sprawl has played a significant role in the flock’s decline on my parent’s farm.
Within a half mile of our family farm there has been:
🏠 A new home built on 5-7 acres of nesting habitat
🌿 7 acres of nesting habitat converted back into pasture
🔨 10-20 acres of nesting habitat cleared to make way for a new subdivision
There are still plenty of trees for roosting and escape, food and water but a critical component in the reproductive cycle of wild turkeys, nesting habitat, is disappearing due to urban sprawl. And it is not just around our family homestead. Farm land that has been in production for generations is being developed at a rapid pace as more people spread from urban areas to experience country living and who could blame them? The only problem is as more housing developments are created past the city limit signs, more habitats are sacrificed.
Yesterday I was lucky enough to fill a tag. Three jakes came into our set gobbling and in full strut. It was a sight to behold and I was thrilled to experience such an enjoyable hunt. After breakfast, we took a drive to scout potential hunting sites for next week and I was shocked to see homes or new construction on many of the farms that have been so good in the past.
There is no sense complaining about urban sprawl. It is reality and it will force hunters to develop other options. It should also motivate us all, hunters, land owners and conservationists, to take action to ensure the habitat that is left is as good as it can be.
Here are some things you can do to help save wild turkey habitat:
❶ Join the National Wild Turkey Federation:
No, you may not own a farm or hunting property but you can certainly take a stand by belonging to an organization like the NWTF. In fact, you should consider belonging to other organizations such as Ducks Unlimited and the Quality Deer Management Association as well. If you value hunting and the outdoors this is an easy action on
❷ Visit your state’s conservation website for tips on how to manage your property:
The Missouri Department of Conservation not only has online resources but will mail residents, free of charge, a complete library of land management resources that benefit all wildlife.
❸ Bring in the pros:
It will cost you, but hiring a professional who can help you manage your farm or recreational property is an excellent way to ensure you are doing the right things to create habitat where both turkeys and other wildlife can thrive. And some states may have programs to provide financial assistance.
❹ Be mindful:
I myself intend to have a cabin on acreage to retire on but trust me when I say careful consideration will be given to when and where my future home will be built. This is my opinion, but I believe most developers do not even consider wildlife habitat when building a new community; they just want to build houses. If you intend to develop land or build a home outside of city limits, be mindful of where you break ground. Anything you do to the landscape will have a ripple effect.
Every time I see a large tract of timber or a sage field bulldozed I get a little sad but I also realize this is a part of life. I plan to do what I can on the properties I hunt, own and manage to provide the best habitat so my kids and their kids can enjoy the sport of turkey hunting for years to come. I would challenge you to do the same.
I had an epiphany the other day. If you know me, you know that it gave me an immediate
headache (just kidding). But it happened during a team workout. I was complaining about flutterkicks, you know, the one where you lay on the ground and hold your legs up and kick them around. Yeah, that one. And this thought crossed my mind, “Good heavens, my legs are HEAVY! I strongly dislike this,” give or take a few choice words not to be mentioned out loud. Although, I'm pretty sure I said a few things out loud because Mike said to me, “You do know you do that to yourself right?” And once he
explained what he meant, it made my mind go into a whirlwind of thought. What type of things do we give up in order to train for something specific?
I'll just start by giving an example of my training goals at the moment. In short, I want to lift weights. Big weights. Weights that truly challenge the structural integrity of my body. We are talking hundreds and hundreds of pounds. Ok, I think you get it. In order to do that, my body has to match my goal. In order to lift big weights, guess what, my body and more specifically my legs have to match. I noticed it most during flutterkicks. My legs have gotten significantly heavier, therefore I have to work a LOT harder to do longer duration exercises like flutterkicks. And here's the thing, I am MORE than willing to give this for that. I may hate flutterkicks and struggle whole heartedly at holding my legs up, but guess what, it means I don't have to struggle so hard at lifting 400 and 500 pounds. Now maybe you see where I'm going with this.
We all (hopefully) go into training with an idea of what we want. For me, strength is king. Always has been. For others, maybe athleticism is more of what they are training for. To be agile and quick. If my goals are to lift as much weight as possible, sure I can add some agility type moves into my workout. Am I going to be great at them? No, probably not. I'm going to have a lot more of me to try and move quickly. But remember, that's not my goal. This could very well be the opposite for someone looking to have the quicker more agile training approach. Gaining large amounts of muscle mass for these people is going to make that type of training more difficult and possibly make them unsuccessful.
Everyone has a different mindset about their training. We approach things differently. But it is ALL fitness. Someone trying to lift hundreds of pounds can easily be looked as as fit. Someone that is training for functionality or athleticism can also be considered fit. The things they are good at, are going to differ quite a bit. And that is where this title came from. This For That. It is something until recently, like 24 hours ago, that I never really considered. And honestly, I think it's something that so many people get caught up in. They want one thing, just to look across the room and want something else, never settling on a path to reach a certain goal. This process can usually lead to people stagnating, or even leaving their path to wellness all together.
When I say give this for that, I don't want you to think that you can't train for something and change your mind about what you want. You most certainly can. It's a matter of finding that one thing you want to train for the most and committing to that plan. That is why nowadays I am OK with struggling at certain things. Some of those things happen to be things that in the past I happened to be good at. I know that those things can help me reach my goal, but I also know that my goal is not to be great at flutterkicks.
My goal is to be great at deadlifting and bench press. My goal is to compete with others that have that same goal. As you figure out what path you want to go down on your wellness journey, stop worrying about those little things that have all of a sudden become a bit more difficult.
Sometimes those things whether thoughts, exercises or skills, aren't crucial to you achieving your goals. The real worrying starts when we sit back and allow ourselves to just become mediocre.
Don't be afraid to give a bit of This For That.
Contributions made by Fit2Hunt Staff!