While I am sitting here in this nice air-conditioned building putting together this week's story, the temperature outside is 90 degrees. To make matters worse, I had a birthday this week, which means I am a year older.
It's really hard to believe the statewide fall hunting season will start in six weeks with the opening of squirrel season on Sept. 8. Several squirrel hunters, including myself, have tried to tell the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources this is too early to bring in the squirrel season. The WVDNR commissioners, however, have a mind of their own, and I think about half of them are living in a world of their own. As for me, being a year older will most likely mean the hills will be a little steeper, and the trails will be a little longer.
Right now, it's too late to try to get in shape early. But it is not too late to get ready for the various deer seasons. The archery season will start Sept. 29, which is nine weeks away. Bow hunters should be practicing in the morning or evening for at least four hours a week. They also need to think about getting their archery equipment fully tuned up.
Three deer may be taken with a bow this year. One deer must be taken on a valid base license, license combination, resident landowner or free license. Up to two additional deer may be taken with RB or RRB stamps (one per stamp), which cost $21 each.
It was about two weeks ago I stated that this is the time to cut back on carbohydrate consumption and think about eating more fruits and vegetables. Senior citizen hunters need to think about exercising. I have said many times that walking is one of the best exercises and can do much to get in shape for the fall hunting season. Hunters with a heart condition need to fully understand the cardiovascular stress that is involved with this annual activity. A physical check-up a few weeks prior to the hunting season is also a good idea. Most people just don't seem to realize how physically exerting deer hunting can be, especially after one gets a deer.
In West Virginia, more deer and squirrel hunters succumb from heart attacks than from careless shooting. In many respects, this is good. The state hunter education safety course is most likely the reason for this. Many people consider our hunter safety program to be one of the best in the nation.
We all know this summer has been very hot and humid. Some people say they do not have enough time in the evenings to even think about getting into shape. However, most senior hunters are now retired or semi-retired. This group should have ample time to try to get in shape.
Before going on a long walk (a mile or more), try spending about 15 minutes stretching your muscles. Some people may think this is a waste of time, but remember this is how football players warm up before a game. You want your muscles to be flexible to prevent injuries while hunting.
After this step, try walking at least a mile up and down hill in the morning before it gets too hot. Repeat this in the evening before it gets dark. Working out like this at least three times a week will help take off those excess inches.
In the long run, this will not only make all sportsmen and women better hunters, but it will make your hunts more enjoyable. Being in shape means a hunter will have more energy on their hunts and in everyday life. In fact, it could help anyone who likes to be outdoors to live longer and to enjoy more hunts in the future. Now, this is something to give some serious consideration.