If you are like me you are finishing up your hunting season, cleaning your gear, making  the needed repairs to your equipment and putting it away for the year. It is a sad time for hard-core hunters like myself. Although it can be quite miserable the last few weekends of the season with the air temperatures dropping and a cold north wind making them feel colder, I still hate seeing the season come to a close.

As a good hunter, now is the time to start getting ready for next season. Review your trips afield in your head. What did you learn? What mistakes did you make that made an impact on your season? One that I made that I know I won’t make again is shooting my rifle without sighting in the specific ammunition I was hunting with. My 30-06 is sighted in for 180 grain factory loaded ammunition. A friend gave me 165 grain, ballistic tip hand loaded ammunition to try. I figured that the small 15 grain weight difference would not make a trajectory change inside 100 yards. Well, 2 missed deer in one weekend proved me wrong!

One area that hunters tend to overlook in preparing for the upcoming season is their physical health. I see many health conditions and injuries in my office every week that could have easily been prevented with a little exercise and proper nutrition.

Most everybody knows what it takes to have good health, but few people put the effort in to having it. We all know that we need 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables everyday. Do you know how big a serving is though? It is basically the size of your fist. Therefore, an apple counts as one serving. A normal size salad at most restaurants can count up to 5 servings! Thinking this way, it is not hard to get your recommended amounts everyday!

What about exercise? Most hunters get out on the first day of the season and after walking several hundred yards through the woods and then climbing into their tree stand realize that they are out of shape. Most will rationalize it away that they are too busy to exercise. What happens when one season you head out and have a heart attack on the way to the stand? Too busy then for exercise? Again, it doesn’t take a huge time committment to get into shape. Twenty minutes a day, 3 days a week is all you need! Some of my patients complain to me when they see the hard-core “gym rats” that they just don’t enjoy exercising like they do. My advice is to remember that you exercise to live, not live to exercise!

So as you are cleaning your rifle, storing your camo and washing off your four-wheeler don’t forget about getting your self ready for next season. Make sure that the next hunting season isn’t your last hunting season!