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Wiltz: The weight of heavy hunting

I am not a political analyst, and it is not my job to discuss politics. I will do my best to write about the outdoors, not politics, in this new year. Having said this, I want to deviate for a moment as there is a point I want to touch.

I want to praise the newspapers I write for. The media, and especially the liberal left, has blatantly distorted the political scene. Not so with my circle of South Dakota publishers. In my Nov. 2 column, the one that preceded Election Day, I wrote that we really had no choice in voting as our Supreme Court, not to mention the Second Amendment, hung in the balance. I hoped that every paper would print my thoughts, but I had some doubts. Every paper printed that column, whether they agreed with it or not. How fortunate we are to have access to an open-minded press in our hometowns.

Today's column may hint at a New Year's resolution, but it is not my intent. I know I'll also irritate some hunters, but I've never been one to mince words.

While visiting some teacher friends a while back, we discussed the high school annuals from our early days of teaching. A question was posed. What is the biggest difference between today's annuals and the annuals of the Sixties? One of the ladies commented that it was the obesity of today's kids. I think she nailed it.

Now I want to expand this notion to today's adults, and today's hunters to be specific. In pointing at obesity today, I'm talking about myself. I'm obese, fat, corpulent, portly — you name it. When I weighed myself a year ago, I was shocked when the beam didn't break at 300 pounds. I certainly didn't like myself, and I had no business writing an outdoor column. Fat guys can't hunt very effectively.

Over the years, I've had absolute disdain for ATV's or all-terrain vehicles. While going down Interstate 90 as I headed for West River deer hunt destinations, pickups pulling trailers that carried ATV's would pass. I'd think to myself, "Those guys are too out of shape, too overweight, to walk to where they want to hunt. They are too lazy to drag their deer to the road." In all fairness, some of those hunters may have had a handicap. I can tell you this. Obese Roger still walks to where he wants to hunt. As far as getting my deer out, I still plan ahead.

So I weighed more than 300 pounds. That was one thing. But I had other concerns. I was beginning to think about getting an ATV. Me? The guy who abhorred ATV's? Another thing. I had already paid a goodly sum for a British Columbia moose hunt the coming fall. Would I be wasting my money? It was time to act.

I was smart enough to realize that my goals had to be attainable. A pound a week would be acceptable. In 30 weeks, I could be 30 pounds lighter. That would be halfway through July. I would also walk a mile a day ... or get comparable exercise like walking a round of golf.

The table would be my central focus. I would eat my normal breakfast, and I, with Betsy's cooperation, would eat a second meal between 1:00 and 2:00 p.m. That's it for the day. Both of us have adopted the same schedule. If we know that we will be eating supper for whatever reason, we go very light on our midday meal, or we skip it.

So how did it go? By mid-July, I was 25 pounds lighter. By moose hunt time, I was 30 pounds lighter. My pheasant hunting? I was better on my feet, and my shooting was much improved. Little things like climbing out of deep plush chairs or sofas had become an easy task.

I will continue to lose weight as it has become easy. I always wondered if a stomach can really shrink. It can. When I take a second helping, or when I eat a third meal, I suffer ... especially when I go to bed. Falling asleep becomes very difficult. It just isn't worth it. Right now, if I didn't eat for a day, it wouldn't bother me at all.

There are days, generally related to weather, when I don't get much exercise. I have discovered that when it comes to weight loss or weight control, the eating habits are a bigger factor than the exercise. Make that single pushup away from the table easy, and the battle of the bulge is won.

Right now, I'm looking forward to next fall's West River deer season. If I stay with the program, and there's no reason why I shouldn't, I'm going to hunt those "honey holes" I walked to 10 or 15 years ago. When it comes to getting that big buck out, I might have to ask my host rancher for help with his ATV.

See you next week.