Even if you’re a fit hunter, high altitudes can be rough if you’re not prepared. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for high-altitude hunting in advance.
We’ve mentioned how important getting your body in shape for hunting is, but it’s especially critical for hunting at high altitudes. Cardio is king when preparing for altitude. Strength training is useful, but cardio will drive you forward. Cardio encourages your body to use oxygen more efficiently, which will come in handy on the mountain.
Prepare by running, hiking, biking, swimming, or sprinting. These intentionally deprive the body of oxygen and over time will increase the efficiency of your heart, lungs, and blood vessels. While doing your cardio workout, focus on breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth, and try and manage your air intake so oxygen continually flows through your body.
Coming up from a low altitude to a high altitude will shock your system. If possible, show up a couple of days early to get your body acclimated. If you can spare it, you can spend a day taking in the sights of a nearby mountain town while you let your body relax and get used to the change in elevation. Not everyone can spare the extra vacation time to come in early though, so if that’s the case, don’t push yourself to your limit the first day of your hunt. The “push harder” mindset can and will backfire at high altitudes. Oxygen deprivation isn’t something you can power through. If you’re going on a guided hunt, your guide will help accordingly so you don’t wear yourself too thin.
Hydration is Key
Water plays a key role in managing your body at high altitudes. Hydration fights off altitude sickness and keeps your energy levels high. Before you leave for your hunt, pre-hydrate by drinking plenty of water. During the trip, start each day with a big glass of water. And don’t slack on hydration out in the field. You may have to pee more, but that’s better than getting altitude sickness and having to slow down or pause your hunt.
Fuel Your Body Right
Your diet in the days and weeks leading up to the hunt is just as important as what you eat on the mountain. So eat healthy and load up on carbs ahead of the hunt. While you’re out hunting, avoid anything too heavy and instead snack often. Focus on high-yield snacks that will keep your energy levels high. In the evenings, eat high-protein meals to help your body recover after a day of hard work.
We know that beer or a glass of whiskey after a long day of hunting is a great treat, but be careful. Alcohol and altitude can be a bad combination and dehydrate you quickly. Unless you’re having headaches or symptoms of altitude sickness, having some alcohol in moderation should be fine.
Let’s Get Hunting
High altitude environments can be exciting and beautiful places to hunt. By watching these factors, you should be good to go for your hunt at high altitudes. If you’re looking to hunt elk and mule deer with professional guides in the mountains of Colorado, you’ve come to the right place. At Soap Mesa Outfitters, we provide the best guided hunts in Western Colorado and we’ll be happy to show you what you’ve been missing.