Getting in shape for hunting seasons, and what to eat the day before a hunt.


Well-Known Member
Dec 28, 2017
A little late now for some but I’ve been exercising and got to thinking about it.

Hiking through hills and mountains really can suck sometimes. So here’s some things to help you get in hunting shape without needing to go to a gym all the time.

First, walk. Regularly. Multiple times a day is preferable. You don’t need to walk all day, and you don’t need to walk 15 miles either. Here’s some ways to improve your walk time to make it more efficient.
What I do is I use my breaks at work to walk around the parking lot at work. To simulate the extra burden of carrying something like a rifle, I find a rock or a piece of scrap metal. The rock I usually carry is about 4-5 pounds if I had to guess, and is fairly round. This means I have to hold it with a fairly wide grip. I wear soft leather gloves that make it difficult to hold on to. Grip the rock with one hand and walk until you can’t hold it anymore, then put it in the other hand and do the same.
I walk about 1/2-1 mile 2-3 times a day doing this. About 15 minutes of walking each time, sometimes I walk faster than other times, sometimes my breaks are longer.

Do some body weight lunges and squats, walking up hills uses most of the same muscles these do, you can decide how much is right for you, do them until you can feel it working and stop. We aren’t trying to get buff, but build endurance. So it’s better to work them a little multiple times throughout the day than to work them once until you can’t do any anymore.

If you have the capability/time to do more intense training, prioritize cardio. Running, ab workouts, and breath exercises to keep your lungs in shape.

On to diet. Just like we don’t want more weight on the gun than necessary, we don’t want more weight on us than necessary. To little weight and we have less reserves, too much and we have to do extra work to keep up. Just remember we don’t need a 6 pack, as fat serves us a purpose for energy storage and warmth.

If you want to lose weight faster, do your exercising while you’re hungry, so your body is forced to burn carb calories in order to keep up with the energy output.

In the time leading up to hunting season, cut as many carbs as possible. We want our body to lose the unnecessary fat that makes us have to work harder to walk/drag. Combination of exercise and proper carb cutting should make you lose 1-3 pounds a week. Imagine having to carry a 3 pound lighter gun on your back!

Now to the Hunting season diet. The day before your hunt, eat a light high protein breakfast, light lunch, and a supper very heavy in complex carbs. Complex carbs are things like noodles. Since complex carbs take longer to digest they stay in your bloodstream longer. This is what gives us better all day energy on the day of the hunt. An ideal meal would have a type of noodle, a bread, and a protein. Spaghetti with breadsticks is a perfect example.

The morning of the hunt, we need some light carbs and protein, so a sausage and egg sandwich is a perfect start. Bring sweets with you to consume throughout the day, as the sugar can provide some much needed energy when you’re really tired from hiking. If you eat a lunch the day of a hunt, make it heavy in protein and salt, but light in total size. The last thing we want is to be too full to do anything. I usually stick with some jerky of some sort, usually beef or venison depending on if I have any venison left from previous year’s hunt.

For sweets to bring on the hunt, I recommend suckers like tootsie pops, since they’re easy to consume in the cold and aren’t really affected by extreme cold like chocolate is. Chocolates freeze and things like snickers are nearly impossible to eat when they’re frozen.

Also be sure to hydrate plenty, your urine should be a very light yellow. If you hydrate too much your pee will be clear and you’ll have to stop to pee way too often, making your scent especially prominent to game.

This is all backed up by my experiences, as the last thing I want is to be dead tired and then get a nice big deer, and not have the energy to drag him out. In my experience this method works great, and I usually have enough energy for the whole day and enough to drag/pack the deer out at the end.

edit: forgot to put how to prevent being sore the second day of the hunt. STRETCH. Especially your legs.

Just thought I’d share my tips. Good luck to everyone hunting this year!
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Well-Known Member
Sep 26, 2020
Montana - Suburbia
I am real olde, over 80, so I move real slow & careful. Rifleman97 is right on track. I do all of the stuff or agree with it. My primary concern is mobility/stiffness and aches & pains.

No alcohol before the event for 3 days. Pack along some 500mg Tylenol fast acting gel caps. Stay warm.

Snickers bars are like bricks when under 40*. Drinking cold liquids, not good but hydrate. Don't eat snow, especially yellow snow.

When I was young I could move like some type of mountain goat, but that was then.

Try to shoot something near a road.


Jan 24, 2010
Hot wings. Always eat hot wings spicy ones the night before a hunt or a flight. Even though I know better I always end up making a bad choice.
My favorite meal before a backpack hunt is the same as that the day before a marathon.


Well-Known Member
Jun 24, 2021
Elk City, Idaho
When I am getting in shape for the season, especially in my steep country, I hike with the gear I will be hunting with. I am constantly tweaking my hunting gear. If I make any changes to any setup I test it for several miles so I don't have to futz with it 2 hours into opening day. In order to duplicate additional weight in my pack, I use water bottles. If I realize I might have been a little too optimistic about my current state of fitness, I can empty a few bottles to reduce weight and get me back home.