WILTZ: Trying to make my life healthierIt is a fairly common practice for hunting outfitters to rank their hunts on a 1 through 5 scale with regard to physical exertion, stamina and strength.
By: Roger Wiltz, The Daily Republic
It is a fairly common practice for hunting outfitters to rank their hunts on a 1 through 5 scale with regard to physical exertion, stamina and strength.
A “one” would mean some short distance walking and no climbing. A “five” would mean fording potentially treacherous rivers, steep hazardous climbing and long journeys on foot. Mountain hunters especially can and do die on hunts — mostly from falls. Ask my partner Jerry Hnetynka if a hunt has ever put him in a life-threatening situation.
Both of my African hunts were “twos” with some walking, a little climbing, but mostly riding around in a Toyota Land Cruiser. My first Argentine hunt to the La Pampa province was a “three” as we walked and climbed the entire day. My Argentine hunt to Patagonia last year was a “two” as we spent most of the time on a horse or in a Land Cruiser with some short stalks on foot.
In 1999, Doug Koupal and I hunted moose in Newfoundland. I spent an entire day tracking a moose in deep snow. We forded streams, climbed on mountains and high-stepped over deadfalls. At times, our hunt entered the “four” category. My elk hunts in Colorado, New Mexico and our own Black Hills have been solid “threes.” Although our Ungava Region caribou hunts at times entered the “three” realm, a hunter confined to a wheel chair could have taken nice bulls in camp.
How does one prepare for a hunt? If it is a “two,” do some walking every day for a month prior to the hunt. If the hunt is going to be a “three,” spend at least an hour a day walking vigorously, climbing hills, and perhaps climbing your football stadium bleacher steps while carrying fifteen pounds in a backpack. On “two” through “five” rated hunts, wear the boots you will wear on your hunt. Also give serious consideration to altitude.
So where is all of this going? In spite of my age and neurological problems, I was never physically unprepared for any hunt until last fall. Because I had let both my weight and my physical condition get away from me, my willingness to spend much of the day walking to favorite spots during my West River deer hunt was gone.
On my last pheasant hunt of the 2011 season, we concluded the day’s hunt by walking some CRP. We went up and back through waist deep cover twice. The field was about a third of a mile long. At the conclusion of our last pass, I headed back into the cover and did some extra kicking around. Over the years, this practice had paid huge dividends. A rooster flushed under my feet and flew straight away from me.
I flat out missed. I shot under him and behind him. Curt quietly commented, “You don’t see that happen very often.”
He was referring to my missing a shot. I knew the truth but I kept it to myself. I was tired, slow, and my gun was heavy. That shot haunted me into January.
In early January, I had my annual physical. Other than weight, my bad cholesterol was up. This was the result of not getting enough exercise. I knew that I had to do something about it, but I knew that doing something too drastic wouldn’t work. I’d quit! I knew that from past experience.
Other than attempting to eat a little less at every meal — something I haven’t done a very good job with, I’ve done two things that I’ve stayed with for the past two months. I’ve quit drinking regular pop, and I’ve made a practice of walking every day for 35-40 minutes.
I’ve only lost five pounds so far, but I know the pounds will slowly keep coming off. The big thing is how I feel! Even though I’m increasing my walking speed, the walking gets easier every day. I feel better, I feel much stronger, I sleep better and my bodily functions are working better. I also go to bed at night feeling better about myself. If the deer season opened tomorrow, I’d enthusiastically walk to my old haunts. That pheasant? He would have been Betsy’s Pheasant ala King supper last night.
Quitting the pop has been just as difficult for me as the extra walking. I just don’t like diet pop. Long before I began my new program in January, I quit Coke and Dr. Pepper, because caffeine makes my tremor worse. I had switched to orange.
When I switched to diet orange, I learned that diet Crush tasted as good to me as regular pop. However, in examining the can, I found that diet Crush contained 25 calories. Diet Sunkist has zero calories, but I don’t like diet Sunkist. That 25 calories in Crush is a whole lot better than the usual 140 calories in a can of regular pop. I’m making a compromise. Perhaps someday I will tolerate the zero-calorie pop. I will also gradually add to the time spent walking.
I’ve bored most of you with today’s column. But, if one reader will turn things around because of what I’ve said today, this column will have merit.
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On the weekend of March 4-5, we drove to the Purdue University campus at West Fayette, Ind., to watch the Big Ten Conference wrestling tournament. It was held in the Mackey Arena. I know that both Mitchell and Sioux Falls are considering new event centers. Before the city fathers of these towns do anything, they should see the Mackey Arena. The lighting is fantastic, and there isn’t a bad seat in the entire facility. This round building is by far the best I’ve seen. Although it holds 14,000-plus people, any number of seats can be tailored to this concept.
We watched Robert Kokesh and Logan Storley, legends of South Dakota prep wrestling, compete. It is said that if you look far enough, you can find someone tougher than yourself. Although these young men found them, I believe that both will climb to the top of the awards stand in the not too distant future. They did South Dakota proud.
*See you next week.