The reality is predator hunting isn’t nearly as physically demanding as a backcountry sheep or elk hunt. With that stated, to be the best predator hunter you can be, you must physically prepare. We see the contrasts within our clients quite often, because those who are more physically capable tend to take more predators & have a more enjoyable hunting experience.
If you multiply 400 (steps/yards) x2x15 you will get the basic walking distance of 12,000 yards. 12,000 yards equates to 6.81 miles, which is about the average walking distance a good predator hunter will do over the course of x1 day. This doesn’t account for elevation changes & topography dynamics. This also doesn’t include the x30 up downs from the standing to the seated position. If you are in less than ideal condition, you will have to limit your walking distance & stand selections. Many hunters are simply not physically prepared enough to be an above average predator hunter but as professional guides we do our best to make up the gap.
Lack of physical conditioning shows up during the course of a hunt whether you want to admit it or not. Besides the outward physical signs, the process of GEAR SHEDDING is a sign that the hunters physical conditioning to gear weight isn’t in correct proportions. Hunters will start trying to cut their gear weight during the course of a hunt. First, the tripod gets left at the truck & now they have shooting sticks w/ a prone bipod on their rifle. As the day goes on, they trade in the shooting sticks for a monopod because it’s quicker to set up. Eventually you see the heavy contoured rifle w/ prone bipod in the case & swapped over for the lighter perhaps less accurate rifle. So, because they are tired they don’t have a solid rest & are shooting a less accurate rifle. The equipment shed is directly related to the hunters physical conditioning. The corlation between physical conditioning & gear weight is obvious when you have guided as many predator hunters as we have. The IRONIC part is usually the most unfit hunters want to bring the most gear to the stand at the begining of the hunt.
To the point, try to improve your physical conditioning because you are the only one that can control this variable. The more out-of-shape you are, the lighter your gear needs to be. You always need a rifle that can shoot 1 MOA or less & a steady rifle support system. We like light tall bipods because we want our hands free for packing doubles back to the truck. Shooting sticks & tripods are both other rest options, keep in mind if you are going to pack a heavy tripod, your setup time will be slower & you need to be in better physical condition. Stools & butt pads are something that can make the stands comfortable, but once again you are adding weight. You can’t hide the weight, whether it’s on your love handles or in your hands, weight is weight.