Nutrition is key when prepping for western hunts

Physically training for your hunt is not going to be as effective if you don’t fuel your body with the right foods.

Proper nutrition is critical to get your body to perform to its optimal potential. Nutrition is something you need to focus on no matter the time of year, whether its during your training or during your hunt.

Our quest to provide you with the tools you need to prepare for your hunt led us to a local Montana business. Ivory Nutrition , based out of Bozeman, is run and managed by Alishia Zemlicka, a native Montanan and avid hunter and outdoorswoman. Alishia is a certified nutritional coach who focuses on proper nutrition and tailoring programs specifically for hunters.

Her philosophy of “We train hard to hunt hard, we hunt hard to eat good, we eat good to train hard” really resonates with most hunters who spend hours and days in the field to fill their freezer with wild game meat. We met with Alisha to get some tips for the best nutrition practices hunters can utilize in their preparation for their hunt.

What is a good place to start with changing your nutrition habits? First thing you should implement?

The first thing is to start cutting out as much processed food as possible. A good plan to strive for is to eat 80 percent whole foods and 20 percent processed, but if you can get to a point where you are eating 90 percent whole, and 10 percent processed that’s even better.

The Mayo clinic website has several more tips for cleaner eating:

  • Limiting highly processed, packaged foods with a long list of ingredients, most of which are not natural. Ingredients listed on the food label should mostly be foods that you recognize.
  • Cutting back on foods with added salt, sugar or fat.
  • Avoiding foods that are drastically altered compared with their natural form, such as apple juice versus a whole apple, chicken nuggets versus a fresh chicken breast, or vegetable chips versus fresh vegetables.
  • Also, frozen fruits and vegetables are OK because they are minimally processed and can sometimes contain more nutrients than fresh varieties since they are frozen at their peak.
  • Preparing and eating more foods at home. Start with simple meals to help you get into the habit

She also mentioned that you can’t forget to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, preferably a gallon a day.

As you begin changing your habits you should also start looking into portion guides which advise you on how much of each food group you should consume in each meal, this ensures that you are not eating too much or too little, and helps give you a guideline to stick too.

Our bodies needs differ from one another depending on our lifestyles and goals, you should consider having your caloric needs assessed and find out what your macro numbers are and follow a food plan that fits your specific needs.

What is proper nutrition while hunting to keep your body fueled and have energy?

While we are out hunting in the mountains our body uses up a lot of energy and we have to keep fueling it in order to be able to feel good, energized, and performing to our optimal level. The best way to do that is to focus on consuming carbs and fats. Protein is great as well and you shouldn’t count it out but it will not provide the same source of energy, so don’t focus on consuming large amounts of protein.

Alishia recommends starting the day off with a carb dense breakfast – a bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter, or a sweet potato with eggs and bacon are some ideas.

Throughout the day it is a little harder to consume whole foods. Apples, nuts, and seeds are good options. Additionally there are lots of snack options available out there, some specifically geared for hunters and backcountry use. Alishia also mentions that you should plan ahead for energy, for example if you know you have a big climb ahead try eating a couple energy chews before you tackle that climb. Don’t wait until you are climbing and feel depleted because at that point it’s too late.

Lastly, she stresses, don’t forget about proper hydration. If you are not a fan of plain water or even for just an extra boost try mixing in hydrate powders.

Clients who are interested in having a customized nutrition program planned for them can contact Alishia, who is happy to work with you whether you are local to Montana or you are out of state.

5 reasons to book a Montana hunting trip early

Montana hunters pack out after a successful high-mountain harvest.

It is December and the chill of the winter has finally set in. It is easy this time of year to embrace the warmth of your home and the comfort of the holiday season, but there is something else that should start to spark in the back of your mind. It is the perfect time to start the booking process for a hunting trip in Montana. Here are 5 reasons why now is the perfect time to book your big hunt:

  1. In order to secure a hunting license in Montana you must meet a strict deadline. It depends on what game you are hunting, but if you plan on hunting elk, mule deer or white-tailed deer during archery and rifle season, you must have your application in by March 15. to the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks. The hunting application can be a time consuming and confusing process, which is why Upper Canyon Outfitters will take care of applying for you. As soon as you book your hunt, we get all the necessary information from you and we take it from there. Last year, we had a 100% success rate for the elk/deer combination license draw.
  2. The sport of hunting appears to be on the upswing. More people are becoming interested in this authentic experience, and with that comes more bookings. Upper Canyon Outfitters is about three-quarters booked for the 2019 season and half booked for the 2020 season. We are striving to keep the number of hunters we book to a limit so that we can continue to offer the best possible experience, but that means that space is limited. So if you are thinking about booking, now is the time.
  3. While the sport of hunting may be one of the oldest activities known to mankind, the gear for hunting is evolving at a rapid pace. Booking now will allow you time to research the best products to make your hunt a great experience. Upper Canyon offers 15% off all Sitka gear and we have professional guides that love to discuss the latest and greatest gear with you.
  4. Hunting comes with a great ethical responsibility to make a great shot when the time comes. The more time you have the practice target shooting, the better. Upper Canyon Outfitters suggests you have an intimate knowledge of your gun before you get here. Upon your arrival, our guides take all our guided hunters out to our range to fine tune and dial in their gun, but we expect you to have prepared and practiced shooting long before your arrival.
  5. When it comes to hunting there is no guarantee of a harvest, but there is a guarantee of hiking and majestic views. The earlier you start training for your high altitude hunt, the better your experience will be. Cardio and weight training are great. We have even had hunters hire a personal trainer in preparation of a great hunt. It is best to start now to increase your likelihood of a harvest. Being in good physical condition also allows you to enjoy your hunt, as you are ready for the big climbs and long days.

X-tra Bonus: You know what to add to your Christmas list, you can never have to many hunting gadgets. Happy Holidays from all of us here at Upper Canyon Outfitters.

Ready to book? Call or email UCO today.

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