Thursday, October 16, 2014

Elk Hunt Chronicles - Prologue Part II

I leave Monday 20 October for my first elk hunt. As I mentioned before, I've been doing several things to be prepared (yes, I was a Boy Scout in my youth).

I've embarked on a fitness regimen to get myself in shape for traipsing up and down mountainsides at altitude. The horse will do most of the heavy lifting, getting me from the base camp at around 5000 feet to our hunting area at around 7000 feet. But once we're there this flatlander is going to have to haul his overweight carcass up, down, and around peaks and valleys. So for the past several weeks I've spent a couple of days per week busting my butt on the elliptical machine and the treadmill with their elevations cranked to the max. My heart rate gets somewhere between 130-140 BPM for 30 minutes, with a warmup/warmdown period before and after. On alternate days I've been hiking up and down the hills around home. They're not mountains, but there are a few spots where the slope gets pretty steep. While I'm hiking I'm also breaking in my new boots. In addition, I lug around 10 pound hand weights to simulate carrying my rifle (the folks around here are pretty tolerant, but the sight of a dark skinned (tanned) bearded male hiking purposefully on remote trails might result in more than one call to the local LEOs).

I also spend a couple days a week working on the upper body - low weights/high reps to get the heart rate up and build endurance. Plus I've worked up to 200 situps and 50 pushups daily. I'm not ripped or buff by any stretch of the imagination, but my flab is beginning to show signs of definition.

My wife and I have also adopted a healthier diet. We have fish once a week, chicken twice a week, wild game once a week (lean, low-fat, all natural, and cleaning out the freezer), and go meatless once a week. We relax the restrictions on the weekend, but don't go overboard. I've even cut back on my beer and wine.

The net result after six weeks of diet and exercise?

I've gained two pounds.

On the bright side, however, I've taken my belt up two notches and gone down one pants size. I also feel better and have more energy (although my knees, hips, and back ache a little more). Still, I guess it's worth it.

As for the actual mechanics of hunting, I've been going to the range weekly. My rifle really likes Hornady ammo, but I've had a tough time finding 150 grain .270 ammunition around here. Plenty of it in 130 grain, but 150 grain is scarce. I did pick up some Remington 150 grain, but the results at the range were disappointing. Groups averaged 2 1/2 - 3 inches at 100 yards, no matter what I did. (See the earlier post for the 130 grain vs. 150 grain discussion.)

I finally ordered some Hornady ammo online (is this a great country or what? - ammunition delivered to your house!). Went to the range today and in the first three round group I shot, all the holes were touching. I'm a happy man!

I've been getting some strange looks at the range. Not only have I been practicing different shooting positions (prone, sitting, taking a rest against the shed posts, even offhand), but I've been double-timing in place for 30 seconds before shooting. I want to practice getting shots off with an elevated heart rate and breathing in positions I'm more likely to shoot from when actually hunting. Nothing against those guys with their lead sleds and sandbags, but I won't have any of those with me out in the field.

I finished shopping today for provisions; granola bars, yogurt, nuts, and beef jerky for the three day drive from here to there, along with plenty of OJ, water, Shiner Beer, and Rebecca Creek Whiskey ("Texas in a glass"). The beer and whiskey isn't for me, but for those poor deprived souls in Wyoming who don't have access to those respective nectar's of the gods.

Hotel reservations are made, the truck has been inspected and prepped, and I'm doing the laundry and airing out my winter/hunting clothes. I feel like a kid the week before Christmas.

Stock market crash? Who Cares.

Ebola outbreak? Doesn't Matter.

Midterm elections? Early Voting.

ISIS? Bring 'Em On.

Screw all that crap. I'm going hunting!!!


Bag Blog said...

Sounds like you are ready - have a great trip and bag an elk.

Well Seasoned Fool said...

Do you still have your ice scrapper?

If you treat your windshield with Rain X, the frost comes off easier.

Bear said...

Sounds like you're more than ready to go. Rest assured, I'm jealous as can be, so I will be looking forward to your writeups and pictures of the hunt!

Old NFO said...

You're doing ALL the right things! Now go get a good one! :-) And that lifestyle isn't a bad way to KEEP going!

CenTexTim said...

BB - I think I'm ready, and I'll do my best. Thanks for the encouragement.

WSF - Yeah, I've got it, but it looks like I won't need it. The long range weather forecast sounds great for a picnic (sunny with highs in the 70s), but not so good for elk hunting.

Bear - I'll do what I can, but the Internet connection will be iffy.

NFO - You're right, I should keep it up. But damn it's a lot of work... ;-)