New Blog Series – Getting into “Backcountry” shape

For the past few years I have struggled a bit to keep myself in what I would consider “hunt ready” shape. In 2016 I dropped 50 pounds in preparation for a western hunt. I did this mostly just so I would not be miserable, not because I anticipated a lot of exertion on my part. After the hunt I did not resume exercise and likewise stopped watching my diet. Before I knew it Spring had arrived and I had put over 30 pounds of that weight back on. By the time I got off my can and started jogging and watching what I ate I was back at 238 pounds and not at all happy with myself.

Why staying in shape is a struggle

By September I had reduced my weight back to a reasonable 207 pounds and vowed I would not let that happen again. Though I have not exercised a lot, I have been active this fall hunting whenever possible. Also while not perfect I have managed to somewhat control my diet better. The two combined have resulted in only adding about 8 pounds since early September. Still, with a back country Mule Deer (possibly Cow Elk) hunt coming this fall I know I have work to do.

Now, before I get started there are a few things I should state up front. Most importantly – I am NOT a fitness expert by any means so do not take the information I am going to share as anything other than my journey. I do spend a lot of time researching and studying what others have done. My approach to getting into Backcountry Shape will be based on that research. I plan to share along the way my experiences and results. Keep in mind as you follow along that I am just an everyday guy, over the age of 50. My goal is to get into the best shape I can. My intent is to accomplish this using, for the most part, equipment most people will either already own or can be purchased at little cost. I do not own a gym membership but there is nothing wrong with one. I just have very little free time and I need to be able to fit in my workouts whenever I can, not wasting time driving to/from a gym. Next, even thought I am not in horrible shape, I will begin my workout regime somewhat slowly and low intensity and will build on this as I go. My main goal is to get into solid shape, my second goal is to not injure myself along the way. The last thing I want to to be injured and have to cancel a hunt because I did something dumb. Lastly, the normal advice that before you begin any exercise or workout regiment it is advisable to consult your physician.

Don’t be like Kermit

My intentions for this series of posts will not be to provide or even advise on proper form or technique. I do not feel I am an authoritative source for this information. Instead any activity or exercise I perform will be hyper-linked to a source I feel provides useful information. I will use this series to share my current routine, my progress and plans for the next stage. My hope is that this will prove to be motivational for others and at the same time help keep me motivated as well. Where it makes sense I will share specific products I use or intend to use. I am not sponsored by or receiving any money or free product from anyone though. This will allow me to be honest about what I feel has worked and what has not worked for me.

The first real post, coming hopefully later this week, will kick off the series be establishing a starting point. I will cover my current stats, current exercise schedule and any tools I am using or intend to use along the way.

As we go I would love to hear form others through comments here, through various social media outlets or by email. Comments, suggestions and personal experiences are all welcome!

Wyoming Hunt 2018 update #1 application strategy

Hello Steve,

I’m just going to write this blog post like it’s a normal email to you. As real as it gets. I’ve been doing an average of one hour per day of hunt prep. I’d offer updates on all different aspects of my efforts, but it would probably appear too scattered to be useful. Instead I’ll tell you my #1 focus and that is ironing out our application strategy.  Because we are going to try for elk tags, our application will be due Jan 31 instead of May 31 if we were just doing deer or pronghorn.  Non-resident schedule in the second table HERE.

Given that deadline, we have to be 100% sure of where we want to hunt and more importantly how we want to fill out the application. You and I have used mytopo, gohunt, and Wyoming DNR resources to narrow down where we think we are going so that part is in good shape. We can sort out camping sites, glassing tips, and trails after we get our tags.  The big question is how to apply our points. Ive been studying up and I have a strategy to propose. I better break up our application strategy into two sections.

Mule Deer

With our current deer Preference Points we can both draw archery tags this year if we want, but next year we would each have about a 50% chance. Instead of us hunting every-other-year, I’m thinking you should put in for the tag as your first choice and know you will be our go-to guy for stalking mule deer. I will put in for something like area 119 where there was one Random Draw tag for 77 applicants. This should preserve my points and still give me a 40% chance of getting a tag for our area this year. Next year I will plan to cash in my points and you will be trying for the lottery win. This should ensure at least one of us can hunt deer every year.

So it would look like this for 2018:

Steve #1 – archery tag, you would get this based on points.

Steve #2 – doesn’t matter, see #1

Steve #3 – doesn’t matter, see #1

Thom #1 – some impossible to draw tag, will preserve points.

Thom #2 – same tag as your #1, I will not draw with points. 40% odds I get one on luck.

Thom #3 – point only

Then in 2019 it would be like this:


Thom #1 -archery tag, I would get this based on points.

Thom #2 – doesn’t matter, see #1

Thom #3 – doesn’t matter, see #1

Steve #1 – same tag as my #1, you will not draw with points. 40% odds you get one on luck. You will get a point if you don’t get it.

Steve #2 – point only

Steve #3 – point only

If things stay about the same with tag allocations and point creep, we could plan on 2020 working like 2018.


This plays into the elk situation. If we want to hunt elk in that area we both can get a cow tag, or I could get a bull tag on preference points. I think I want to go for a one-in-a-million tag as my first choice to preserve points. My second choice will put me into a random drawing for one of only a few bull tags, low odds but why not?

So it would look like this for 2018:

Steve #1 – Our unit for Any Elk. You won’t have enough points to draw, but you will have a 1% chance to get a tag good for bull. At least you will get a point when you don’t hit this one.

Steve #2 – point only

Steve #3 – NA see #2

Steve Type 6 – cow/calf tag for our area. You will get this one.

Thom #1 – some impossible to draw tag, will preserve points.

Thom #2 – Our unit for Any Elk, again a 1% chance to hunt a bull.

Thom #3 – point only

Thom Type 6 – cow/calf tag for our area. I will get this one.

Then in 2019 it could be like this:

Thom #1 -Our unit for Any Elk. I will get it on preference points.

Thom #2 – doesn’t matter, see #1

Thom #3 – doesn’t matter, see #1

Steve #1 – Same as my #1, your odds will be about 1%. You will get a point when you don’t draw which should be enough to get you a bull tag in 2020 with your existing points.

Steve #2 – point only

Steve #3 – NA see #2

Steve Type 6 – Cow/calf the same unit. You will get this one.

So to summarize this strategy:

  • We will trade off the opportunity to hunt deer every other year.
  • We can both get a cow elk tag every year if we want it.
  • We will get a bull tag every 4 or 5 years, or we can build points and go for a big trophy potential unit down the road.

With the strategy set, we will submit for drawing at the end of the month. Then I can double down on other gear and logistics in update #2. All my best!



This article was originally published on Thom Jorgensen's blog Trad Bow Safaris. Please take a moment to visit his site, lots of great and useful content to be found there.