Are you persistent?

Are you persistent with things you do throughout your life? Being persistent helps to keep yourself on track. It drives you to achieve your goals, and it gives you the ability to not take no for an answer. It’s proven that people that are persistent get what they want. If you are determined to get something done, most of the time you will achieve it. You have to be relentless in your actions. 2 weeks ago was no different for my son and I when we had gone archery hunting for the elusive buck!

I didn’t start hunting until about 10 years ago. Growing up I had uncles that were big into hunting, but my mom hated guns and would never allow me to go. I eventually stopped asking and moved on to other outdoor activities. About 10 years ago my father in law told me to buy my license and he would provide me with everything else. If I didn’t like it I would just be out the price of the license. So that’s what I did. I remember opening day of rifle season in PA. It was raining that morning and continued the entire day. We went out and only saw one doe the entire day, but for some reason I loved it! I enjoy being outdoors, but something about it really got me going. I hunted a few more times that season with my uncle and saw a few more doe, but never had a shot. The following year I decided to buy a compound bow and take up archery. A friend of mine helped get me started and tought me how to shoot. That season I saw so many deer it was amazing. I even shot at a few, but missed! It was very hard for me to accept the fact that I didn’t get a deer. It was unlike anything that I had done in the past. It was much more difficult to get gratification. After that season I practiced shooting a lot that summer into the fall. I shot from all different heights and even thought about standing on my roof a time or two. I was determined to get a deer the next season. And I did, my first doe! It wasn’t the biggest deer, but I was very proud of what I had accomplished! 3 years later I got my first buck and 2 more since then. It proved to me that being persistent with what you wanted will pay off in the end.

Last year I got my son his first mentorship hunting license. He had been out with me a hand full of times to sit, but this time he was able to shoot a crossbow. We saw deer last year, and even had a spike at about 60 yards. He just never came to a comfortable distance for him to shoot. That day my son got his first taste of Buck Fever! When he set up to look through the scope he was breathing so heavy and his knees were shaking. After the buck left and he sat down he asked me “Dad, why was I doing that?” I said that’s called buck fever and if that ever leaves you then you need to stop hunting. He just laughed and still couldn’t stop shaking. That was a great day that I will never forget.

Fast forward to this year and he was even more excited than before. He would get mad if I would sneak out in the morning and not take him. We practiced a bit more this year than last to try and get even better at shooting. 2 weeks ago it just felt like a great evening to hunt. The wind was right, the temps were comfortable and the woods were quiet. We sat for about 2 and a half hours and hadn’t seen anything. Right before dark a deer came from our right. I saw that it was a buck, and since he is 9 he can shoot any size. I whispered “it’s a buck buddy get ready!” He grabbed the crossbow and turned to his right. The buck came right out into the path at 25 yards and stopped dead. I said he’s broad side so shoot when your ready. No sooner did I say that and he pulled the trigger. It was like slow motion watching the lighted nock fly through the air and then you heard it hit, THUMP! The deer kicked and ran down the hill. He sat down breathing so heavy and said “Dad did I hit it, did I hit it?” I smiled and said yeah buddy you hit him! A fist pump in the air and a high five made my day! It was awesome seeing how he reacted to his hard work! I had a feeling he might have hit him a little far back and when we got down to get the arrow I was right. We decided to wait an hour and look. We had good blood but followed him for about 200 yards or so and lost blood. We decided to back out and come back the next morning…

He was up early ready to go and find his deer which was very nice to see. His friend also wanted to come and help so the 3 of us searched the woods for about an hour and a half. It didn’t look good and it had rained the night before. We decided that we were not going to give up though so we just kept on walking down a trail we thought he might have went. Sure enough about 150 yards from where we last saw blood a 4 point was laying on the side of the trail, and the fist pumps started! It was awesome!

It felt good showing my son that persistence pays off. He was dedicated to shoot better this year. He was determined to go out as many times as he could every chance he had. And we were both relentless in our quest to find this deer!

When you have injuries or you are in pain the last thing you want to do is just give up. You have to be persistent in your efforts to get well. Set goals and strive for them. Don’t take no for an answer. And if someone tells you no then you change your approach until you get what you want.

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A hunter’s guide to prevent Low Back Pain

Being from Southwestern Pennsylvania hunting is a big deal! I have always loved the outdoors, but I got into hunting later in life. About 10 years ago my father-in-law told me to buy my hunting license. He had everything else I needed firearm included. If I didn’t like it I was only out $20 for the license. That morning it rained, and rained, and rained some more. We saw 1 deer, and even though I never got a chance to shoot at anything I instantly fell in love with it! The next year I decided to buy a compound bow and get into archery. In my opinion archery season is the best time to hunt. Temps are warmer, you see more deer and there are a lot less hunters in the woods. There is something about being in the woods by yourself with nature! You can’t describe it until you are actually in it. I can go out and not see a thing, but I still feel it was a good day because that is also my time to sit and think. It’s my time to sit and unwind. It’s my time to sit and forget about stress and relax. Sitting is the common denominator here! As hunters we do a lot of sitting while we are in the woods. Sometimes we sit for 4, 5, 6 sometimes 12 hours while in the woods. Now you may be thinking “I sit that long at work, what’s the big deal?” Well, seats are a little different in the woods. Most archery hunters sit in a tree. Tree stands are not all that comfortable in my opinion, and if you have back problems it can be a nightmare. We put our bodies through hell trying to sit still and not move all while trying to stay warm. We find the best spot to try and conceal ourselves even if it means we have to sit crouched down in the most uncomfortable position for hours. All this to try and shoot a deer! Sitting for any length of time is not a good option for you. It can lead to poor health and most importantly Low Back Pain. 

Poor posture can and will lead to back pain. Over time if you sit in a slouched position for too long it puts stretch on the structures that stabilize your spine. You have multiple structures that support and brace your spine, ligaments and muscles being the main supporters. As we sit slouched those muscles tend to want to relax and not work to support our spine. The ligaments that run the entire length of our back are put on a stretch for the entire time we slouch, and most of the time that is hours. Think of it this way, you have a rubber band that you keep in a stretched position for an extended amount of time. Eventually that band is going to lose it’s elasticity and not work properly. This is how the ligaments in your back work as well. So if they are constantly on stretch, when you need the support it will not be there. Hunters need to understand that even though they sit a lot while waiting for their trophy, they need to prepare like this were any other sport. Getting into a good exercise routine will help and prevent injuries. Anyone that thinks nothing goes into hunting needs to try and drag a 200 lb deer out of the woods! It ‘s not fun trust me!

Here are some ways to try and save yourself from back problems this hunting season…

Dress in layers to stay warm:

When you have back pain chances are good that cold weather is going to bother it. Dressing warm can help decrease the amount of stiffness you experience. Also, if you are dressed warm enough you will not have to get into awkward positions to try and stay warm.

Try to use a 2 man ladder stand:

I am a big proponent of ladder stands. They are so much easier to get in and out of because they are permanent. And they are much more comfortable than a hang on. What a 2 man provides is more room. When you have more room to move around that gives you a chance to change positions and not have to sit and stiffen up. It also makes it easier to stand up and stretch a bit.

Stand up every 45 minutes:

Standing up puts your back into more extension which helps to keep your back in a less vulnerable position. While standing up you can do some calf raises to get the blood flowing through your legs and to try and keep yourself warm.

Try to pick a tree that is straight for the most part:

It’s hard to pick a tree to put your stand on, especially if you are looking for one that is straight. My suggestion is as straight as you can get. Once you put up your stand you need something to rest your back on. If you pick a tree leaning forwards that is just going to put you into a more flexed position. Try to keep your mid back up against the tree at all times. This will force you to put your chest out and extend your low back keeping it in a better position. You can also try an Ameristep Lumbar Support for added postural correction while sitting.

Do abdominal bracing and pelvic floor exercises:

The proper way to activate and brace your abdominal muscles is to pretend like someone is going to punch you in the gut and brace. At the same time activate your pelvic floor. This is called a Kegel exercise. Women are familiar with this. Act like you need to go to the bathroom real bad and you need to hold it until you pull over to a rest stop. These 2 combined exercises are the basis behind any functional movement that we do. If we learn to do these things before we actively do something, this will save our backs.

Field dressing your kill:

If at all possible try to face uphill while field dressing. This will put your back in a position so that you don’t have to lean over as much keeping you in a minor extended position.

Dragging a deer out of the woods:

Most people know that going downhill is a lot easier than uphill. If this isn’t possible, find a few friends that you can take turns with. If you have an ATV get it! Don’t waste time trying to be macho! Guys with low back pain from being stubborn are not macho…they are stupid! Make things easy on yourself and get help when possible!

Start an exercise program meant for stability and endurance:

If you have no idea how to do this, find a Physical Therapist! Stabilizing the spine is something that I deal with on a weekly basis. Having a strong core and back will help be more effective not only while hunting, but with general functions throughout the day. 

Low back pain can be avoided, and prevented if you take the right steps. Next time you are out in the woods try a few of these tips. Hunting can be a lot of fun, but if you don’t take the right steps to prevent back pain you will be laid up all season.