As part of the Fit for the Field backcountry hunter conditioning system, this summer I offered the first webinar of what appears (based on its popularity) to be a regular event…the Lifetime Hunter Summit. The FftF program is an online course available now and while it is a great training program for practically any person, at any time of year, it’s specifically designed to meet the needs of the backcountry hunter and mountain athlete. We have a lot of bowhunters right now who are really getting after their summer training, and quite a few rifle guys are just starting up since their seasons tend to open and run a little later. This program evolved from my view of the hunter as the original athlete. It’s an evolution of classes and programs I’ve been running for over 20 years and it’s practically been demanded by my local and online audience. Athletes train for sport and competition, and hunters are no different. Now hunters have an outstanding program to help them to be more specifically prepared, avoid injury, and achieve greater success and enjoyment in the field.
I’m going to highlight the top discussion topics from the seminar. Our clinic was organized around short presentations on each topic, followed by generous Q & A sessions. My role as the presenter was to provide a physical therapist’s and performance coach’s perspective in addition to that of a lifelong hunter. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to engage with some great folks on these topics. Most of the participants were from the western states but we had a few from the midwest and east coast. Here’s what we covered.
Footwear for all seasons: We went over multiple categories including footwear for summer training, early and late-season boots, as well as pac boots, crocs, socks, and gaiters. Even though I have an article and a podcast episode entirely dedicated to this topic, our participants had lots of questions in this category.
The 2-knife system: Don’t leave home without 2 knives…one on your person and one in your pack. We talked about options for ultralight backpacking, hunting, and horsepacking. We discussed the pros and cons of different blade configurations, folding versus fixed blades, replaceable-blade knives, and skeletonized handles. Home and field sharpening were also covered, as well as folding saws and hatchets.
Early versus late season hunting clothing: I basically presented two complete setups or outfits and the rationale behind each. We focused specifically on the multi-day backcountry hunter’s needs and emphasized practicality and versatility.
Backcountry nutrition: Nutrition, weight, and palatability were hit alongside calories, macros (zone percentages with protein held static), and fueling strategies (BMR + expenditure, time over distance, first night’s dinner, stash and cache). The concept of metabolic flexibility was popular. Hydration and water filtration were also reviewed.
Heavy pack training: Arguably the best, but certainly not the only tool in the conditioning arsenal…we broke down some of the hiking progressions in Fit for the Field and discussed training pack options.
Bow and firearm practice: It all usually comes down to one shot. No matter the gear, conditioning, and fuel you have out there, high proficiency and repeatable precision are essential. We discussed frequency, high volume versus “perfect practice” and field-specific training.
That was a major portion of the Lifetime Hunter Summit. If you are interested in the program, just hit the education menu item on the site. You can sign up and use the on-demand course anytime and I think you’ll be pleased with the quality and value. I’m also offering free email coaching assistance to all summer 2022 participants. It’s time to get serious about getting ready for the upcoming hunting seasons. Thanks for joining me and good luck out there!
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