The new deadline for drawing tags for antelope and elk in the state of Arizona has come and gone. Contrary to the rumor that fewer applications were filed because of the earlier cut-off date, requests were up for both species, which made it tougher to obtain the coveted antelope or elk tag. The drawings have concluded and if you are fortunate to have a tag in your possession, congratulations.
This early draw allows Arizona hunters to further plan their fall hunts for other big game. I believe it was a wise move by the Game and Fish Department and will aid the outdoorsman in not requesting hunts that could overlap.
If you are a permit holder, the planning starts now in making that big game hunt enjoyable and productive. Preseason scouting in the unit is a bit premature, because animals are just now getting into their summer range and new antler growth has just started.
If you were fortunate enough to be drawn, how about starting a simple physical fitness program? It will allow you to walk that extra distance from your truck or quad, which might open that extra canyon to hunt for that trophy animal. Depending on the hunt you may have, there are at least four months and possibly six to get yourself ready.
We know that many trophy animals are harvested within 800 yards of a road. But, after the first couple of days of the hunt, animals respond to the human pressure by moving further into the roadless areas. If you have the physical stamina to go that extra mile, the odds for success greatly increase.
A walking program started now and done every other day will pay big dividends in the fall.
If you have never done this before, be intentional and schedule your day accordingly.
Maybe it's early in the morning before work or possibly after sunset. Begin with a mile at a 15-minute pace on level ground.
What you will find is that, after a couple of weeks, this will become easy. That is an indication you are getting into shape. The next step is to increase the distance and strive toward the goal of 30 minutes of putting one foot in front of the other. If you do this for eight weeks, muscles will firm up, as well as your heart and lungs being ready for the rigors of the hunt.
I might mention, if you start now, chances are good you might even shed a few pounds you won't have to carry in October. It makes carrying that backpack full of elk an enjoyable and fulfilling experience.
Start your walking program now and enjoy God's creation.