Elk Hunting: Are You Strong Enough?


Elk season is upon us, and if you’re lucky (or determined) enough to be hunting this year, you know the physical challenge ahead of you. Fortunately, it’s not too late to get in shape and avoid that old cliché, “How come I’m never in shape for elk season until the last day?” Dan Staton, fitness editor for Elk Hunter magazine, offers an interesting comparison of man and elk to help motivate you to higher fitness and lays out his plan to get ready for the season.

byers011Crisp mountain air, deteriorating daylight, frozen ground, and the rip-roaring bugle of a would-be suitor. Elk hunting is magical and the annual elk rut can never come soon enough. If you have been blessed enough to kiss the elk mountains, then you know challenges that await you every fall. Elk hunting was never meant to be easy, but that’s part of the allure.

There are some considerations that must be made before the next elk season approaches. Observe that I say must, not should. I want to outline some of the must dos, but also examine some of the key physical characteristics of an elk and compare them to us. Not only do we hunt elk on their terms, we also play the role as the visiting team trying to rival our quarry on their home field. The goal is to make you better aware of what we’re up against and how we can do our part when it comes to man versus elk.

The bones of an elk weigh over 100 lbs. and make up the Colorado Rifle Elk 2010 186foundation this mountain athlete and survival specialist. A man has a bone structure tipping the scales at or around a mere 30-40 lbs. The mature bull has a heart that weighs in at 10 lbs. and pumps enriched blood to a network of dense muscle that enables it to maneuver rough and unforgiving country. Man has a heart that weighs less than 1 lb. and in most cases will be taxed as soon as he steps on the uneven ground the elk call home. In fact, most studies show an elk’s average heart rate in the ballpark of 50 beats per minute, while most of us only dip that low while sleeping.

Elk own us when it comes humping the hills. Their four legs…

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Joe Byers
Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.