Want to hear Roksliders perspective on age and backpack hunting

hflier

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Last August I turned 50. I have hunted all my life, but I never backpack hunted until last year. Also, I just took up bow hunting 2 years ago. I have scored two deer with my bow and went Elk hunting last year, but I was not successful on Elk due to fitness preparation (I am a flat lander). This year I will be much more prepared for pack hunting Elk and Mule Deer. I am in pretty young shape for 50, so I feel I have a few years left in me. This being said I am a little bummed out that I got addicted to bow hunting and backpack hunting so late in life. I would interested to hear if anyone on the forum has a similar path of discovering these wonderful interests late in life or if you are above 50 and pack hunt. What are some important lessons or perspectives you have or have gained being and over 50 back-country hunter? What do your fitness routines look like? What advice do you have for me? Have you had the same regret that you did not discover this type of hunting earlier in life?

Ron
 

Slim Jim

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Sounds just like what happened to me only mine was at 40 years old. I'm now 42 and wish that I would have started when I was 30 or younger but better late than never.
I have a workout routine that works for me but everyone is different so you just have to find what works best for you that helps limit injury.
 

Jon Boy

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Paradise Valley, MT
Id hunt on foot as long as you can then I'd get some pack horses. Not quite the same experience but age will never keep me out of the back country.
 

Buckman

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Jul 20, 2012
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Cheesehead Land
Hey Ron I hear ya. I too discovered backpack hunting late in life. I did hunt out west when I was younger but just basecamp hunting. I am now 60. I don't really do anything to prepare, walk alot sum hiking. Just don't go with people who are 20 years younger than you are, they will make you look bad.LOL. I go slower and takes longer to get there, but oh well, at least I'm there.
 

TJ

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N.E Oregon
hflier -

Similar to you I didn't start until I was 51, I'm 56 now. I wish I'd have learned to do this about 40 years ago, oh' well.
DIY backpack hunting has been the most fun I've had hunting in a long while. It has all been solo and I've been places I would have never dreamed of before.
That said, it is a lot of work to keep in good physical shape. Motivation wise all I have to do is think of where I've been, where I can go,
and the experiences I've had. I haven't gone out of state but I have found enough wilderness areas that have no roads and a person can get back as far as needed.

In my opinion fitness is the real key.

My fitness routine is;
Mornings before work I run twice a week, weight lift twice a week, and try to do something the like cardio or cross-train or something of that nature the other day.
Saturday I try to get in a short weight session and Sunday usually another run.
My morning routines are generally only about an hour at most. Runs are usually about 4-5 miles.
I am fortunate to have an hour lunch so I hit the gym for about 30 minutes of eliptical or stationary bike or something similar.
Lunch routine is usually done 5 days a week.

My wife thinks I'm obsessed about this backpack hunting thing!! She might be right!!!!

Last year I put in a ten day hunt at the end of bow season. The furthest out was about 12 miles. I have cell reception along most of the ridges
so if need be I can call a packer for a meat haul or whatever.

My only advise is be prepared and have good equipment, that you probably already know!!

Have fun

TJ
 

blb078

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Wentzville, MO & Port Charlotte, FL
I'm not your age yet, I'll be 35 this year. And years of playing ice hockey has taken a toll on my knees & ankles. I'd say limit your training to low impact training. Instead of jogging on a treadmill where the knees & ankles take a a beating, use an elliptical, you might have to do a bit more on it to get the same result but it's much easier on the body. I'd think as long as you can keep your knees, ankles, back from giving way, you should be able to go for as long as you want. It all comes down to taking care of yourself and limiting the stress on your body, the same holds true for when your younger too so you don't feel the side effects of it all when you get older.
 

ScottR_EHJ

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My dad has 7 years on you, doesn't work out, but doesn't do any high risk activities. He does a couple of trips a year with me, so you have plenty of time.

I also met a guy that was 67, and in pretty good shape who was doing it. May take him a little more time to get to the honey holes, but he still does for sure.
 

jherald

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Alaska
My dad is 66 years old and keeps up with me (30) while backpack hunting. He sometimes goes at his own pace but he can still get to the top of a mountain. A lot of the lightweight innovations in the last 10 years or so has helped out considerably as well.
He keeps fit by walking 3 miles a day with our hunting dog and having reasonable eating habits, always getting plenty of sleep.
Walking every day and getting enough sleep, if only you are able to do both of those alone, will help you a lot when it comes time for your hunt. If you can add a backpack to your walk with a little weight, even better. Have yourself good footwear, stay active year round, eat healthy and that can do a lot for you.

The lifestyle he has now was enough for him to help me pack out a bull moose on foot last fall.
 

crumy

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Laramie, WY
I am like you Slim. I used to hunt in Ohio alot. Moved to Utah, didn't hunt due to work and other commitments. Moved to wyoming and started hunting again and kept it simple. Leave home in the morning come back at night. Last year I turned 40 and started venturing out to the wilderness areas and staying out for 2 nights. Got up to 4 night trips and planning a 7 day trip this year. I have learned so much in the last two years about this style of hunting and really wish I started doing it 15 years ago.


Sounds just like what happened to me only mine was at 40 years old. I'm now 42 and wish that I would have started when I was 30 or younger but better late than never.
I have a workout routine that works for me but everyone is different so you just have to find what works best for you that helps limit injury.
 

LightManSA

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Dec 16, 2012
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San Antonio, TX
This is a very encouraging thread. I'm getting back into this after a 20 year hiatus.. My son turned 20, wants to go do all the trips I reminisce about.. So, I'm on a major physical overhaul to get my shape, strength, and endurance to that level. The good news is, I've already dropped 95 lbs since the end of May 2012, by actively training several days a week. I have few more extra lbs to burn off, but it already feels like I have springs on my feet. Setting a goal, preparing for hunting elk for 10 days in the backcountry has been a really great motivator. I'm 52.. Its not been easy, but I set a goal, made a fitness plan allowing myself a year to get in tune physically.

I'll be at the top of those mountains in September, My Black Widow in hand.. I Tip My Hat to anyone willing to make the sacrifices to be there, regardless of age.
 

a3dhunter

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Colorado Springs,CO
Down in Unit 85 of Colorado two years ago I ran into two guys packing in for muzzleloader season. They had external frame packs that were loaded heavy and they were going in the day before season to stay for nine days about 5-6 miles in. Both of those guys were in their 70's. They were sitting at the truck having a beer before they went in, because they could! They had been hunting that area for over 30 years.
I spoke with them for a while, and they taught me a couple lessons that day.
Know your limitations, and even if you are a little slower you are still going to get there and you can still enjoy it.
 

ohhiitznik

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Down in Unit 85 of Colorado two years ago I ran into two guys packing in for muzzleloader season. They had external frame packs that were loaded heavy and they were going in the day before season to stay for nine days about 5-6 miles in. Both of those guys were in their 70's. They were sitting at the truck having a beer before they went in, because they could! They had been hunting that area for over 30 years.
I spoke with them for a while, and they taught me a couple lessons that day.
Know your limitations, and even if you are a little slower you are still going to get there and you can still enjoy it.


That is an awesome story. I would've loved to meet those guys!
 

Shrek

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Hilliard Florida
I'm 44 now and will be 45 cor my first backpack hunt. I don't have any mountains to hike in Florida but I have found a trail along the river with some hills to hike. I did @ 12mi yesterday and 12 mi again today. It's been great to get the miles in during the week but it's only because business has been terribly slow ! I figure I just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and I will get there eventually. I they had speed ratings like " mountain goat " for hikers mine I'm sure would be "glacial creep" . I will stop and glass often I'm sure when I'm climbing lol.
 
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fillthefreezer

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im not up in my years or in bad shape but i hike with a few guys that get alot more days off than i do, and they can flat ot cruise up a mountain. i find myself taking more pictures on those trips as an excuse for a quick breather ;)
 

Shrek

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When I started thinking of doing this kind of hunting I was on a forum with a lot more older guys and a half dozen sent me messages to saying they didn't consistently shoot elk until they couldn't just bolt up the mountain anymore. When age forced them to slow down they started seeing more animals. I hope they're right.
 

sk1

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SE Wisconsin
my father in law is 53. he just did his first elk hunt with me this year and packed a cow elk out 3 miles in 20 inches of snow. he didnt have a lot of time to prepare fitness wise as he is self employed and been extremely busy with work. i do advise working out, but just take it slow and steady and you will do just fine. he plans on doing a backpack hunt with me next year and we will be 5 to 7 miles in. while he doesnt go as fast as i do at 28, he holds his own, and i have been very impressed.....by the way he is a flatlander also that travels out here to hunt at 10k ft with me.

you can do it if you want it bad enough, its never too late!
 

JP7

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Wyoming
I'm working on getting my dad to go with me this fall, he is 68. He hikes slower than I do for sure, but I'm hoping I can use that to my advantage and see more animals because I'm not hauling ass to get to a spot.
 

Ross

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Being I will join this club of over the hillers in 6 months, I will chime in....yes, I wish I had started this type of hunting years back, that being said I have no regrets.

My workout routine revolves around low impact activities, body weight exercises, pullups, wall squats, pushups, w/some other weight activities thrown in and repetitive and monotonous time spent on the treadmill.It achieves the results, but does get boring. The key for me as time goes on is to not injure myself and maintain a consistent workout routine so as not to have to cram extra training in, always maintaining a solid level of fitness, as father time never gives back anything without pain and sacrifice.

Know your limits, train consistently, be prepared, plan in advance and come hunting season go have fun!
 

robby denning

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Good thread, I didn't read through it all, so repeat not intentional.

I run a staff of 20 trainers and Stott Pilates instructors and can attest that 50 is the new 30 if you train smart and don't get injured while training, which is a 50 year olds downfall as healing up is much harder. Most people would be shocked at how many injuries really occur in the weight room.

Get your body weight into the 20-25 BMI range (just Google BMI calculator) so you're efficient in movement and not packing extra weight. Body fat is a good measure too, and should be less than about 15% if you go that route.

Make sure your routine includes true strength training which occurs at the 3-15 repetition range with muscle failure, not 200 reps of Insanity or P90X (those have their place, too). Too many backcountry hunters rely on extreme cardio and don't get enough strength training. This gets you on a backcountry hunt in soreness and inability to recover day-to-day, although the cardio might be great.

Aron Snyder is case-in-point as you can see he packs the muscle along with the cardio and is one reason he's successful at extreme backcountry hunting. A marathon runner has a huge leg up over the sedentary but is even better prepared if his strength is up there, too, not just cardio.
 
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