Fall has arrived. As the days get shorter and cooler, and the grass continues to dry out, one thing is on the mind of many South Dakotans and visitors from other states: ROOSTER! Hunting provides physical activity, emotional and social benefits and a nutritious, low-fat protein.
With hunting season right around the corner, it’s important for hunters to start preparing for the hunt. Taking some simple steps to prepare can make your hunting season safer, more enjoyable, and more successful.
- Clean and maintain your firearms to ensure proper performance.
- Spend some time at the range to practice your shooting and re-familiarize yourself with your firearms.
- If you are bringing kids along, make sure they are versed in gun handling and safety practices.
- Prepare your gear ahead of time to ensure that nothing will be forgotten.
- Ensure everyone has appropriate licenses and hunter education certificates, available from South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks.
One aspect of hunt preparation that is often overlooked is physical fitness and nutrition. For many outdoorsmen and women, fall is their most active time of year. Participating in a workout routine ahead of the season can ensure your body is in shape for the field. Don’t let an overambitious day of hunting take you out of the game for the rest of the week.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), adults need at least 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity, aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) every week. Muscle-strengthening activities are recommended on two or more days a week that work on all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, chest, shoulders and arms.)
- Keeping your energy level high is key for the hunt. Consider packing healthy food options as part of the preparation process. Here are some useful tips:
- Pack plenty of water. It’s essential to stay hydrated before going hunting, during and after. Try to avoid sugary beverages.
- Keep raw foods separated from cooked foods by packing them in waterproof bags or containers and keep them in an insulated cooler.
- Pack nutrient dense snacks that are easy to carry. Examples include: Energy bars, trail mix, nuts, seeds, dried fruits or vegetables, nut-based bars, chews or gels.
- Take a peanut butter and jelly whole wheat sandwich. Whole grains make you feel satisfied for a longer period of time.
- Avoid candy bars and cookies. These foods contain a lot of sugar, which provide an initial lift of energy, but after a while as it wears off, leaving individuals feeling tired.
- Instead of traditional jerky, consider packing venison jerky. It’s a healthier option. It’s leaner, but still high in sodium.
The benefits of hunting can be numerous if you are prepared. Good luck!
- Michigan State University Extension. Health Benefits of Hunting. 2012.
- Michigan State University Extension. Healthy Tips for Hunting. 2015.