Are You In Shape…Almost?

September 1, 2011 | By | 3 Replies More

by Jay

Well that sucked! Every August it’s something.

Three years ago my back was out for weeks, and it was questionable whether I’d make the first trip of the season. Turns out I did, after 2 weeks of recovery. Made it through every day, but it about killed me….

Last year it was a summer cold (not a big deal), followed by Lyme disease. After a few day Lyme didn’t feel so bad, but recovery took some time and the weeks of antibiotics weren’t the greatest for feeling “bird fit.” (Kind of, uh, stopped me up, too….)

This year it was this 3- to 4-week “cold” – like a 15 cold on a 1-10 scale or a 5 flu – making the rounds some places. Finally licked it, and today went out for a 1.5-miler for the first time in about 4 weeks. It sucked!

Holy cow – could not believe how much I’d lost aerobically. There must be some kind of formula that shows that as you age, your fitness drops exponentially with each day you don’t do something.

And here’s a news flash: Working long hours sitting on your butt all day doesn’t help your fitness! (Also doesn’t help get guns altered, dogs bought, gear evaluated, kids fishing, wife happy, etc. Yep, that violin you hear is playing for me….)

By now I’d ideally like to be doing suicides (wind sprints) at the local park. Not going to be after the chickens until mid-October, but once school and kids soccer kicks in here, plus the post-summer work ramp-up, the time to get in shape dwindles.

And as we’ve said many times here and in Serious Grouse Hunting, Book 1, it’s easier to get in shape if you’ve maintained it all along than to pile it all on at once right before the season starts. True for dogs too, as you know….

So: Are you in shape…or getting there?

And speaking of in shape, are you getting your boots in shape, and your feet used to your boots? Don’t forget to do that.

And anyone need a new pair of boots? We’re going to give away a new pair of Irish Setter Wingshooters soon – maybe tomorrow….


Category: Fitness

Comments (3)

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  1. LRR says:

    I’m currently in shape. Pear shape, but trying to turn it around. It’s crunch time too. Not only is bird season just around the corner, but I’m only 17 days away from the first rugby match of the season. Yup. Crunch time. Boots? Hmmm…..having just sent my Burlys back to LaCrosse, I could use a new pair. 11s should do.

  2. Ryan says:

    I just signed up to do a half marathon with my wife… I am not thrilled with that but I cave every time because she is just so dang cute! Anyway at least I’ll be in shape! Also I am getting my a new GSP in November and a new pair of boots would go great with a new hunting partner. How do I win?

  3. Sanders says:

    I’m all excited about the upcoming grouse hunting season and I’m getting in shape for it.

    I can’t wait to get a chance to blast some “Bush Birds,” as they are called in Park Falls, WI.

    The type of hunts I like to do are a short hunt for grouse, and a long hunt for grouse.

    The short hunt is usually about a 5 mile hike that takes about 2 hours. It’s great to be out in the woods early and get the day started hiking at 7am then finish up the route by 9am. If you are interested in staying with the traditions of the British Isles styles of upland hunting, the rule of thumb is to start at 9am after the dew on the grasses has evaporated. Traditionalists will always start the hunt at 9am for upland birds.

    The long hunt is usually about a 10 mile hike that takes about total of 4 hours. It will take you usually part of the morning and afternoon to complete this hunt, with a break for a midday lunch. If you stick to the traditionalist time frame, you will start at 9am and finish around 11am. You will then break for midday lunch and be back to hunt another 2 hours in the afternoon, after the heat of the day, or before dusk.

    A person really needs to have a good level of fitness to be able to be alert enough to bag grouse hiking many miles.

    I, myself, have been successful in countless numbers of organized sports over the years, and even completed many individual sporting events, like Marathons or Triathlons, but getting into a fitness routine to be able to successfully bag grouse is a unique challenge.

    I’m a continuous student at this age old sport of grouse hunting.

    August and September is a great time to get in shape for grouse hunting. I’ve found that trying to establish some type of routine that is both fun and enjoyable is the best way to get in shape.

    With the help of my Labrador Retriever, I’ve found a way to establish a routine. My dog always goes to bed, or goes to kennel, about 10pm at night, and is usually up barking around 6am. So I try to do the same, in bed at 10pm and up before 6am.

    My Labrodor Retriever, is both my fitness buddy and bird hunting buddy.

    It seems like such a hassle to find time during the busy day for exercise. I’ve found that if I go to bed wearing a jogging suit, or gymn clothes, that I can actually successfully get up out of bed early enough to get a good 20 minute walk or some jogging in with the dog.

    Hunting dogs are at times are not the best fitness partners, they need to stop and mark their territory, and sniff around at things, while a person is trying to get in shape briskly walking or jogging.

    I’ve found that the use of a retractable leash and a dog body harness makes fitness training with the dog a much better experience.

    Retractable leashes of this type are available at

    Dog body harnesses of this type are available at

    Daily hiking or joggin with the dog, and a few sets of pushups every morning is my basic fitness routine to get into shape for grouse hunting. I want to be in good shape for those long hikes in the woods, and have the fitness level to successfully bag a bird.

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