Rafiki Safaris shared the awesome story on Rebecca Francis hippo, “Okay THIS woman is pretty bad-ass!!! Hunted this amazing OLD beast with a 500NE at 20 yards after a very good stalk. Not many woman can testify to doing that. She made an amazing shot and the hippo dashed into the water and disappeared. We waited two and a half hours for the hippo to fill with gas and then it suddenly popped up right in front of our eyes. The villagers came with their makorro (canoe) to help us retrieve the hippo out of the water. The air was filled with joy and laughter as they were cutting up the hippo and knowing that they would not have to worry about meat for the next couple of months. Congratulations to a very good friend of mine, Rebecca. You truly are a remarkable huntress!”
No, I’m not talking about the past elections.
How do you measure a successful hunt? Is it a monster buck or bull? Is it a successful harvest? Or is it time out hunting, with your family, friends or by yourself? Do you measure your success of a hunt by the equipment you use and the gear you have? Or simply time spent in nature soaking up God’s great creations? Me? I measure success of a hunt by my experiences…. Time with family, time with God and simply the God given ability to get out and do what I love. Oh, and then there is the success of being able to hunt without desperately gasping for air and bending to cling to my knees after climbing a hill. I’m talking about being in shape. Both mentally and physically, they go hand in hand. There is nothing more rewarding to me then to gracefully, quietly and easily make my way to the top of a mountain without feeling like I just went through military boot camp. Sure, it’s an ego boost as well when I look around and see all the guys sweating and huffing like draft horses pulling a 3000 pound sled.
All too often hunters get prepared for the upcoming hunting season by making sure they have their bow sighted in, have enough arrows and new broad heads along with checking equipment to make sure all gear is up to par. However, rarely do hunters take into consideration the physical preparation needed for the hunt. Being physically fit can be the difference of having an enjoyable hunt or a hunt that kicks your butt. We all know getting up early is part of the hunt. That alone is a hard task for some. But when you wake up the next day and your body is screaming for more rest because you are sore from the previous days hunt… What’s the fun in that? When you are in shape physically, the mental portion follows suit. It has been proven time over that physical activity (working out) improves mental clarity and relieves stress. You have enough on your mind when hunting such as spotting and stalking, calling, and concentrating on making that once in a life time shot. You shouldn’t be thinking about whether or not you can make it up the mountain without needing CPR!
So, with that being said I would like to offer some tips.
1) Set goals; start off small and work your way up. You will need to set both cardio and strength goals. A good goal to start for cardio is walking 2-3 times per week, walk up and down your driveway to get started. Slowly increase the distance by a couple miles at a time, pickup your pace and change terrain. In addition to walking, add biking to the mix. Make your routines fun, go for a hike in new territory, discover new places, or take up mountain biking. Whatever you decide to do, make it fun, make it your own, make it challenging (repelling anyone?)
2) You will need to be physically strong to not only carry all your gear around, but also to carry out your harvest. Hit the weights at least 3 times per week. Remember the smaller the starting goal, the longer the time needed to increase so don’t wait a month before the season to start getting active. You don’t have to be a gym rat to accomplish these goals; there are a lot of things around the house that you can use as weights. Get creative; fill a bucket up with sand! If you are up for the challenge, hire a personal trainer with specific needs in mind (hunting with a bow is exercise specific). Exercises to focus on for bow hunting specifically include: shoulders (front to side arm raises, arm circles, shrugs and lateral raises) upper and lower back (back extensions, seated lat row, reverse fly’s and reverse grip lat pull down) biceps (curls and pull ups) and core (oblique twists, reverse curls and good ‘ol fashion crunches). You of course want to balance out your muscles so don’t forget to throw in some chest presses and triceps pushups just for fun! In relation to the actual hunt and climbing mountains, your lower body needs to be just as strong if not more. Your tail end is one of the biggest muscles you got… work it! Lunges, squats (they don’t have to be in deep range of motion) and hamstring curls will all target the gluteus maximus, aka your tail end. Once you get started in your exercise regimen, you will need (and want!) to maintain your progress. It’s much easier to consistently exercise throughout the year then to be a one-month warrior. Schedule time in your day to workout. You may even have to book an appointment with yourself. Most importantly, be forgiving. If you miss a day or two or even a week, don’t be hard on yourself or ride the guilt train. Just pick up where you left off. Being strong enough to draw your bow back is an essential part to hunting, not only does it make it more enjoyable for you, but it isn’t fair to the game we have the privilege to hunt if the shot we make isn’t steady.
3) Of course getting physically fit involves proper nutrition (sorry, facts of life!) During the hunt (pack in/out intensity) you of course need higher caloric foods to sustain you. However, with day to day eating, your choices should be a little more carefully planned out. There is nothing new here and no magic pill. Fruits and veggies, balance your proteins and fats and include carbs into your foods. Now, when I say fats and carbs, I am not talking about ice cream, cookies, pizza, fast food joints and Ho Ho’s (although in moderation *gasp* it’s okay). Our bodies need fats and carbs to function, but it is the good kind. (Real butter, avocado, legumes, nuts, occasional red meats, cheeses etc). And of course water. Food has an amazing ability to heal the body; we just have to give it a chance. I challenge you to try it… even if it’s not hunting season for you. Make a commitment for at least one month. Cut out boxed, prepackaged and canned meals. Try to eat what grows naturally. When was the last time you saw a box of Hamburger Helper® growing off a tree? You don’t have to get crazy and go all organic, but I would suggest you stop eating foods that are processed and full of preservatives. Our bodies were not built to digest the chemicals in these foods. You give this challenge a try and you will be amazed at the changes your body makes.
On a side note to physical fitness and proper nutrition, I want to mention the importance of having mental strength and clarity. Have confidence in yourself and your abilities, now that you have exercised and gotten fit, you can do anything… right? Confidence comes with knowing you can tackle the hunt, climb the hill and haul out your kill. Be patient, positive and prepared (do I hear a triple “P” cheer?). Patients, well… you’re a bow hunter it’s a given that is an essential tool. Positivity will get you a long way my friends, whether you are by yourself or with a hunting party. Have you ever been around “that” person that see’s the down side to everything or is constantly putting themselves down? I have and it’s not fun… Keep your attitude up; after all there are worse things you could be doing instead of getting out to do what you love. And finally, prepared. Being prepared is such an important mental factor. Having the right clothes for the weather, terrain and clothes that fit you properly (ladies – stop buying men’s camo clothes!) makes you feel, well, good. Being prepared to gut, wrap and pack your harvest with all the necessary tools leaves you without worry of how to get the job done. Being prepared with extra food and water helps with the long process involved after taking that fatal shot. To achieve all this, you have to be mentally strong. To be mentally strong you have to be healthy. To be healthy you have to be physically fit. Yes it’s tough to get started, but all things worth working for have great rewards.
Here’s to measured success!
Just because we are bow hunters doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have big guns!
You don’t have to be able to lift a car to draw back a bow… but you should be prepared!
Building up your strength for bow season doesn’t have to be hard. Lifting weights 2-3 times a week, with a day of rest in between should do the trick. You will want to do 3 or 4 sets of 16 reps and choose a weight that will allow you to have good form, but will challenge you to get out the last 5-6 reps. Lift the weights in slow controlled motions and avoid swinging your body for momentum to lift the weight. You will want to make sure you work both sides equally rather than focusing just on your draw arm… imbalances will cause compensation issues leading to muscle injury. No pain no gain is not always the case, listen to your body and learn the difference between muscle fatigue and muscle injury. Muscle soreness is normal when you get started on a lifting routine. Drink lots of water, stretch after your workouts and if the soreness is extreme, take the recommended dosage of Tylenol®. However do not let a little bit of soreness keep you from working out it will get easier as you get stronger. Then it will be time to increase your weights. To avoid plateaus, change up the types of exercises you do about every 4-5 weeks. If you can, find a workout partner, not only will they motivate you but they can keep you safe and spot you as you start to increase the amount of weight you lift.
So, here’s to big gun bow hunters everywhere!
After having the time of our lives this past fall at Double B Outfitters on our ladies Prois Whitetail hunt the crazy ladies of Prois once again descended on the sleepy and utterly unprepared town Ozona for another incredible hunt. This was by far my favorite guided hunt to date. My trusty guide Blake Osteen was happy to hike with me for miles daily in pursuit of thunder chickens. I enjoy an active spot and stalk style of hunting so Blake was the perfect match for me. He is an excellent caller and I learned so much about turkey hunting from him.
Prior to this hunt I had yet to bag a turkey although I had hunted the last 4 years although only for a weekend at a time and nowhere that had the density of birds that Double B Outfitters boasts. While hunting with Double B Outfitters I heard and saw more turkeys than I had in all my previous hunts combined. Furthermore my calling was enough to make the bravest Tom turn tail and run. Luckily I got a lot of practice calling in this hunt much to the chagrin of everyone trying to relax at the lodge. On future hunts I will be driven a least a mile out from the lodge before I am allowed to use a diaphragm call.
On the second day of the hunt we were hiking while Blake was calling periodically and suddenly we heard a gobble extremely close to us. We had to post up right where we were when we realized we were covered by two groups of Toms. One group was coming in from behind us and one group was on the hill above and in front of us. We dropped down to a seated position, Blake handed me a shooting stick, and I got in the best position I could given the circumstances. Suddenly I saw the colorful heads of two different Toms on the hill and began to shake and breathe hard in my excitement. I started to draw up my shotgun but Blake whispered words of reassurance and told me to stay still and wait as he couldn’t see the birds well enough yet. The Toms were milling about and gobbling behind some brush and an occasional glimpse of their bright blue, red, and white heads was all I could see. The group that was coming in from behind us gobbled loudly and was converging on us at that same time. Blake spotted a good Tom and my opportunity for a shot and told me to shoot when I was ready. I drew up as my heart was beating a million miles an hour and shot. Blake told me I missed as three Toms from the group that approached behind us took flight over my left shoulder. Without thinking I swung, shot, and dropped a Tom mid-flight. I couldn’t believe it as I saw the Tom I shot at drop from the air like a ton of bricks. I leapt up with shot gun in hand and ran to the Tom lying on the ground. Blake approached the scene and was excitedly laughing and grinning ear to ear at my shot and frenzied run up to my Tom.
Instinct took over for my last shot and I could not believe that I had my first Tom on the ground. The flood of emotions including elation, gratitude, and excitement I felt in that moment was overwhelming. It was such and incredible hunt. Blake had never guided someone that had shot a turkey in the air and was so excited for me and surprised that I had turned and shot at the flying birds before he had a chance to say anything to me. He was still looking toward the bird I had shot at to make sure it was a clear miss when he turned as I shot and saw my Tom falling from the air.
Although the Tom I shot was smaller than the first bird I missed, I wouldn’t change a moment. That hunt built my confidence and I was much calmer when I shot my second Tom, an older Tom that was later nicknamed Rocky as he was a fighter and was missing tail feathers and his wings were all beat up from strutting and fighting. That was a more ideal scenario where I was posted up in a good spot and the Toms came in right where we expected them to.
Not only was the hunting incredible at Double B Outfitters but the group of ladies that attended were fantastic. We laughed until our sides ached, and shared many delicious meals at the lodge lovingly prepared by Kendra and Linda. The lodge was comfortable and well appointed, the weather was perfect, and a fantastic time was had by all. The guides were superb and we made memories together that will last a lifetime. We cannot wait to go back there for our next Prois and Double B Outfitters hunt in Ozona TX.
Prois Pro Joni Qualm says: “350 pound boar…What Miss Rodeo Nebraska does on her time off before the American Rodeo in Dallas, Texas…HOG HUNTING(horseback of course!) Thanks @proishunting for always making sure I’m dressed for the part! The cool weather allowed the dogs to go all day and we caught 15 hogs!! This boar was the biggest one my guide has ever caught, weighing 350 pounds!!! Yes, we are in mesquite trees, horseback, chasing 12 dogs! #prois kept me from getting punctured by thorns. My partner on the other hand…. Not so lucky!” #proiswasthere
By Azura Dee Gaige
The Archtach Down Jacket from Prois is the most amazing down jacket I have ever owned. I
have owned many other down jackets but know of them could keep up with my incredible
I’m going to list the reasons why it’s the most amazing down jacket. In less than a month, I have
already tested it out on Ducking hunting, Shed Hunting, Predator Hunting (-10 degree) and
Steal-head fishing on the Umatilla River.
1.) It’s filled with 800 Gray Goose Down. “It will keep you warm in -10 degree winter winds, with
snow surrounding your body, while keeping still for the first predator to come into your scope.
2.) While hiking most of the day looking for shed’s, it will keep your body and arm pits dry
because of the “Lycra Vented Arm Pits” which are designed not to leave the moisture, but allow
air to naturally flow under your arm pits.
3.) Made of 100% Microfiber Ripstop fabric it will help you deal with the outdoor environment
from snagging on branches and bare limbs throughout the timber hunts.
4.) The coating on the jacket keeps the down jacket dry and protects the goose down from
getting wet and losing the insulating properties that protects the individual in extreme weather
5.). With the extended back length it keeps the irritating back draft that causes cold air to chill
your back bone, while sitting still in a duck-blind waiting for a flock of mallards.
6.) Happily to add, while fishing the Umatilla River the less puffy layer fit was amazing for
casting multiple times throughout the day.
This versatile down jacket from Prois is an all round Great Jacket for multiple outdoor adventures. Even for the finicky sportswoman out there, there are four different color choices that are sure to please. It comes in three camo patterns (Realtree Advantage Max-1, Realtree APX, and Mothwing Mountain Mimicry) an black. I highly recommend the Archtach Down Jacket for the avid huntress or outdoors woman.