Successful Measures, Get Fit to Hunt the Prois Way!

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By Prois Staffer April Mack

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!

Sample Workout:
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!

Gobble. Gobble. BOOM! The success continues for the ladies of Prois!

It was a great weekend of turkey hunting for Prois staff and customers everywhere, take a look at all these trophies!

Host of His & Hers Outdoors TV and Prois staffer, Stacy Sissney, doubled up on gobblers alongside her husband…

Stacy Sissney

Stacy Sissney Gobbler

Prois Customer, Sarah Fromenthal, enjoyed the thrill of her first turkey harvest…

Sarah Fromenthal

Prois customer, Mitzi Weiss, dodged the Texas rattlers to score her bird…

Mitzi Wiess

Prois staffer, Becky Lou Lacock, guided for the Tennessee Governor’s One Shot Turkey Hunt and helped 12 year old, Chloe Webb, take this big thunder chicken weighing in at 22.2 pounds…

Becky Lou Lacock

As always, the Prois Posse makes us proud… Keep up the great work ladies!

The Best Medicine, by Prois Staffer Nancy Rodriguez

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By Nancy Rodriguez

Cough, snort, wheeze! Cough, snort, wheeze! With every track my boots leave in the snow, I find myself using my very own custom call to locate my quarry. You may think I am somewhere in the Midwest hunting whitetail deer, but I am far from it. I’m actually high in the mountains of Nevada, hunting elk. My very own custom call is not tucked in my pocket or hanging around my neck. It’s in fact my body’s lungs and nose that are making these calls. My custom wheeze and cough are thanks to a bout of bronchitis and my custom snort is a congested nose caused by a sinus infection. Some might say I shouldn’t be out hunting right now. I should be home sitting by the fire with a humidifier plugged in, eating oranges. But, does that sound like something a Prois chick would do? No way! It’s elk season!

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I continue to trudge through the golden grass and glistening snow covered mountains in search of the majestic wapiti. With my rifle slung over my shoulder and my backpack weighing me down, I glass every nook and cranny for the distinct tan colored body with the dark chocolate neck. As I slowly climb to a high vantage point, my nose is completely plugged and my lungs burn. I giggle to myself at the advice my doctor gave me right before we left for this hunting trip, “You need to take these antibiotics, use this inhaler, drink plenty of liquids, and above all rest!” He must have sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher, because obviously I didn’t comprehend a word he said. Prois chicks can be rebels after all!

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With my heart pounding in my head, I am grateful to have finally made it to my vantage point. I drop my pack and plop on the ground. I endlessly hack into my Prois neck gaiter and realize it not only keeps my neck warm, but it also works as a great handkerchief. Through watery eyes, I glass the distant hillsides. Suddenly, out of extremely thin mountain air, I spot them. Unmistakable brown dots of bedded elk are scattered amongst the patches of snow. I spot about 40 of them and my blood starts coursing through my veins. Joe looks at me and asks, “Are you up for this? They’re pretty far away.” I blow my red rimmed nose and reply “Heck ya! That’s what we’re here for!” And so the stalk begins. The elk are a couple miles away, and I know this hike is going to be grueling for me. Up and down the massive ridges we go. Cough, snort, wheeze…Repeat! My body becomes weaker, but I trudge on. The mountain wind is becoming fickle and starts swirling about. I pray it doesn’t blow my stalk. As we start to get close enough for a shot, I grab my range finder to check the distance. My nose is so plugged; I feel claustrophobic. I bring a tissue to my face and realize I have snotcicles hanging from my nose. With these custom beauties, I am sure I could give Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber a run for his money! I giggle again at what I must look like right now. But, I have more important things at hand and I need to get a bit closer for a shot. As I start to close the distance, it happens. A huge gust of wind smacks me in the back and I know my funky human scent is about to alert the elk that something’s not right. Poof! They are up and off to the next ridge in the blink of an eye. Cough, snort, wheeeeeze!

That night we camp under the starry sky in below freezing temperatures. I have so many layers of fleece on that I can barely bend my arms and legs. My Prois Sherpa beanie is pulled down over my eyes and my neck gaiter is covering my mouth. With a Breathe Right strip over my red chapped nose, I shimmy down into my 3 sleeping bags. No joke…3! As I drift off into my Nyquil, Theraflu, and cough drop induced slumber, the elbowing begins. Joe is trying to stop his precious wife from turning into a mighty snoring Ogre, but he doesn’t have a chance against the cold medicine coma! The beast lying next to him is some sort of Michelin man fleece troll, wrapped up like a goose down burrito. A weird strip of plastic lies across her nose and grizzly bear size snores are coming out of her mouth. He stares at the fleece monster lying next to him and wonders where has his wife gone? He doesn’t have a spare room to move to, or a couch he can crash on in the living room. He is trapped next to the beast! It’s going to be a long night for him…poor guy.

The next day, I wake up feeling refreshed and well rested. I stretch, remove the plastic strip from my nose, and actually feel better than I have in days. I look at Joe who can hardly open his eyes and wonder if he slept okay? As I jump out of my burrito and throw on my head to toe Prois camo, I am ready to hunt! I stare at Joe as he peels open his eyes and looks at me. For some reason I don’t think he’s nearly as refreshed as I am. I resemble a happy dog anxiously waiting for their owner to grab the leash for their daily walk. If I could, I’d be wagging my tail with excitement! Come on, come on, let’s gooooo!!!!!

We get into elk over the next few days, but unfortunately I never connect. It really didn’t matter, because we had an awesome time climbing the mountains and enjoying the beauty of the great outdoors. There is nothing better for your mind, body, spirit, and immune system than becoming one with nature. I have truly found the best medicine on the market…Hunting!

Katherine Grand’s First Turkey, Prois was There!!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Decoy Set-Up Tips! See How NWTF Pros Set Up For Pre-Breeding, Peak-Breeding and Post-Breeding!

It’s turkey time and the NWTF never lets us down with great tips from the pros! Not sure when to use the decoys you have? With the help from Montana Decoy Co. we bring you three decoy set-ups, corresponding to the phases of the rut, to help you take down a turkey this spring season.

Learn Pre-Breeding, Peak-Breading and Post-Breeding Decoy set-up methods!
http://www.nwtf.org/tips_adventures/tips.php?id=14259

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Prois Tips! FIELD DRESSING YOUR TURKEY…THE DOWN AND DIRTY!

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Before you begin field dressing your gobbler, you need to make a decision. Do you want the bird to grace your dining room table, or the wall of your den? Either way, proper field care is important for birds that will be served as a main course, as well as for those to be mounted. If you intend on eating the bird, follow these field-dressing instructions to ensure the finest tasting turkey possible. Please consult your taxidermist should you wish to mount your bird.

First, remove the beard by cutting if off close to the point where it attaches to the breast. Take care not to cut the butt or end of the beard as doing so may cause the individual “hairs” to fall out.

Make a small incision at the tip of the breastbone with a sharp knife.
Carefully peel the skin and feathers away from the breast, legs, thighs and back.

Remove the legs at the knee joint by cutting the tendon and bending the joint until it snaps (some additional cutting may be required).

Severing the head at the neck removes both the cape and the head.

Next, remove the entrails by making a small cut in the thin tissue between the vent (anus) and the point of the breastbone. Make sure to remove the lungs (pink, spongy material) located on either side of the backbone high in the chest.

Wipe the cavity clean with paper towel, and remove any feathers that remain on the carcass.
Voila!