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12/9/2014 10:22:44 AMFeeling My Age,Montana Hunter! 

Over 4,000 Posts! (6,736)
Kalispell, MT
67, joined Nov. 2007

This is a story about a 55 YO Montana hunter.I can relate!

Semper Fi !!!

I rolled over in bed and it hurt. As I moved, I realized just about every muscle in my legs was throbbing. Some of them were actually pulsing spasmodically, while others felt like they were trying with all the strength they had left to ball up into one massive knot.

I let out a whimper.

“I don’t remember being in a car wreck,” I mumbled as I struggled to reach enough consciousness to be able to make sense of the pain I was experiencing.

In fact, I couldn’t remember anything from the previous day that would make me feel like I had suffered a severe beating. All I had done was walk a few miles up and down some hills in Montana chasing mule deer. That couldn’t be the source of my suffering ... could it?

Now, I realize I am not 28 anymore. I know this because I have two sons who are 30 and 34 years old. But frankly, I don’t feel my actual age — 58 — either. At least, not most of the time. But there are those occasions — like the deer hunt in Montana last month — when my body reminds me I am much closer to 60 than I am 30, or 40, or even 50.

Used to be I could head to the hills and walk all day, then get up and do it again the next day without so much as a concern about being in shape for such an endeavor. I was pretty much in shape ALL the time. In fact, when I was in my 20s and 30s, I was in great shape.

Or, at least, I was by about mid-November each year. Back in those days I hunted birds both days of every weekend, and any other time I could finagle some time off. I had a hard-hunting yellow Lab that would get on a running pheasant and wouldn’t stop until the bird hit the air. And about 99 percent of the time I was hot on the heels of the dog that was hot on the heels of the pheasant, no matter how fast or far it ran.

That was then. This is now.

Today, when my yellow Lab Tessa gets on a bird I have full intentions of running with her, but in reality, I might get a hundred yards down the field before I have to slow down. (And the whole time I’m running, I’m hoping beyond hope the bird will take flight before I collapse.)

And it’s not just conditioning that has me handicapped. Somewhere along the line I tweaked the Achilles tendon in my right leg, and the last time I tried to keep up with Tessa on a running rooster, I was limping around for days afterward.

Time has definitely taken a toll. A number of nagging aches and pains have cut my actual out-in-the-field hunting time to about half of what it was 30 years ago.

My near-vision eyesight, which used to be better than 20-20, is now frustratingly poor without my prescription glasses or some kind of “readers.” It is so annoying to be hunting along and want to look at a map or GPS display or a text on my phone and not be able to read what I need to read without digging through pockets to find some glasses.

It seems like just overnight the backs of my hands are starting to resemble my grandfather’s, with age spots appearing here and there. And don’t even get me started on hair. My once thick, dark, full head of hair has almost successfully reached the maximum extent of its recession. Then, if losing the hair on my head isn’t bad enough I am finding new hairy growth almost weekly in the strangest of places on the rest of my body. What, for instance, is the need for several inch-long hairs growing in your ears? I didn’t need hair in my ears for 55 years and now all of a sudden I’ve turned into a bush monkey.

Besides being in pain the next morning after a long day of hunting, I have noticed I am not nearly as agile as I was in my younger days. Used to be I would think nothing of jumping across a small creek to get to where I needed to be. Now I have to give it serious thought, and even after much consternation and planning I often will find myself arriving just a touch short of my intended landing zone.

Sometimes landing just short can mean wet, muddy boots. Or, worse still, it can mean losing your balance and falling backwards into the water.

On a warm, sunny day, making an unscheduled splashdown is not a big deal. On a day that is below freezing, it’s a little more troublesome. Walking back to the rig in pants with legs frozen as stiff as stove pipes is neither fun nor easy.

Even something as simple as crossing a barbed-wire fence is more challenging these days. I got hung up in a fence the other day and thought I was never going to be able to extricate myself. I could just envision a search-and-rescue team finding my body days later and wondering how in the world a grown man could entangle himself in such a way. In my younger days I would have hopped right over a fence like that. Now I try to wiggle through — with, oh, varied success. Just about every pair of hunting pants I own has a hole or two in the legs and crotch from recent fence crossings.

I’ve always adhered to the adage that “you’re as young as you feel.” And frankly, I still feel like I did in my 30s and 40s. But there are times when I am reminded that I am not that young any more. And it really ticks me off!

Ooooh, ouch! And there goes that sharp pain in my lower back. Excuse me while I go put a hot water bottle on it.

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12/9/2014 12:01:36 PMFeeling My Age,Montana Hunter! 

Over 4,000 Posts! (5,747)
Waldron, AR
71, joined Jul. 2014

Damn ain't that the truth, I still think like a 20 year old but my body tells me different every so often.
I think that's why I moved to Arkansas ,the mountains aren't so high

I used to hunt with iron sights now have to have a scope past 100 yards.

[Edited 12/9/2014 12:04:07 PM ]

12/9/2014 12:55:17 PMFeeling My Age,Montana Hunter! 

Over 2,000 Posts (3,260)
Ninilchik, AK
68, joined Apr. 2011

Stretch, Yoga, gym, fat tire bike and keep your weight down.... turned 65 today and I still do pretty good Not to many mountains in west Georgia, but sure a lot of trees to climb

12/9/2014 5:36:20 PMFeeling My Age,Montana Hunter! 

Over 10,000 Posts!!! (25,378)
Creighton, NE
69, joined Feb. 2007

Yup, I can identify with that and more

12/9/2014 7:29:50 PMFeeling My Age,Montana Hunter! 

Over 4,000 Posts! (4,905)
Drumright, OK
48, joined Apr. 2011
online now!

I had a friend that died at 87 years old but before he died he loved to dove hunt. He couldn't walk, couldn't see very good and was a shaky shooter so he would drive around and shoot them from the electric lines. I know it wasn't legal but I can't blame him.

12/13/2014 8:59:19 PMFeeling My Age,Montana Hunter! 

Over 2,000 Posts (3,260)
Ninilchik, AK
68, joined Apr. 2011

Sometimes you have to do what you have to do-used to put grain in the circle made with mono line and reel them in my window with a rod and reel...caught hell from my mom for all the feathers in my room but she would cook them up quite well with homemade dumplings
Never got lead shot in my teeth that way either...A country boy will survive

12/21/2014 7:21:55 AMFeeling My Age,Montana Hunter! 

Over 10,000 Posts!!! (25,378)
Creighton, NE
69, joined Feb. 2007

If your a hunter and feeling your age like I do
I now walk with a cane,a walking stick,a hunters gun rest all in one.
It's called by brand name a "Pole Cat" and is twist ajustable and will not collaps with
your weight and has extened my ability to still hunt some.
Ben useing for a good number of years now but even some younger & better walkers than I
who have wached me & mine have bought one and happy also that they did.
A great hunters tool especaly for us elder ones.

12/21/2014 4:06:29 PMFeeling My Age,Montana Hunter! 

Over 2,000 Posts (3,260)
Ninilchik, AK
68, joined Apr. 2011

Stargazzer, I put up a profile picture of my new "walking sticks" --
With 4" balloon tires, seven speed gear, and dual gun racks, it is the ticket for Fla+Georgia hunting, of course we are flatter than your countryside. Killed many whitetail, hog and turkey off bikes, even used them to work my bird dogs in non-motorized areas with good cow trails.

12/26/2014 2:05:03 PMFeeling My Age,Montana Hunter! 
Over 2,000 Posts (2,827)
Detroit, MI
55, joined Oct. 2013

When we're young our body maintains itself. We can eat whatever, not exercise and get by just fine.
In my mid 40s i felt my strength and endurance decline significantly and I couldn't do what I used to so I started eating healthy and hit the gym. First day in the gym i was punched in the gut by reality. I had allowed myself to get so out of shape....couldn't last 5 minutes on the treadmill....was tough doing a couple pull ups.....could only bench 150lbs 3 times. Sitting on the bench with head down, watery eyes and feeling hopeless a group of fellas walked over, ages 20s to 60s. They had watched me struggle and could tell exactly how I was feeling. They told me don't give up, that I would recover. They told me to just keep coming to the gym every day and it'll get easier, start where I'm at and do what I can, just don't give up.
I'll be 53 in a month and I feel as good as I ever have. I have oodles of energy, strenght and endurance. I hunt, camp, hike, canoe, fish...everything I've always done and feel great. I still hit the gym 4 to 6 days/week and eat healthy. I do cycles of insanity and P90X. Fitness is a life style for me and I love it. I have zero health problems.
Now I'm not saying I could go toe to toe with my former 20y/o self but pretty darn close to it. It's more than just extending your years, it's about quality of life, how you spend that last 3rd or so of your life.