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Mountain Bowhunting After 50

JimQ

Active member
Joined
Aug 17, 2021
Messages
40
I moved to Montana last year at the age of 53. I've spent my life hunting Missouri whitetails from stands and turkeys from blinds but now am enjoying a renewed hunting life. I have COPD which does slow me down a touch but I've never found quit in my vocabulary. Hiking the mountains at 7500 feet chasing elk and muleys is definitely a challenge and some days I do ask myself if it's worth it. I absolutely love it!!!! Just wanted to hear some stories from the older crowd on their adventures after 50.
 

Wallydeuce

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 24, 2021
Messages
512
Location
NV
I'm 71 and the main difference from when I was 21, or even 41 is that I now know my limitations. I have to train harder and longer. I have to train all winter and spring here in LV and all summer at our 8,500 ft. cabin to be ready for a 3 week hunt in September. I hike with 27 to 35 lbs on my back. Not fun, but necessary and I do about 25 to 40 miles a week.

I don't know how many archery elk hunts I have left so I enjoy every moment of the hunt I'm on. I just returned from the most difficult hunt I've ever been on. Not the physical part. I was ready for that. It was the blown over 8 man tent I use. It was the flooded camp. The driving through the flooded creek beds that 2 hours ago were dry. Waking up to a punctured tire the next morning. Sweltering heat followed by hail storms. Loads of elk, but not one I could legally shoot.

I wish it hadn't ended.
 

Kiwi

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 12, 2014
Messages
1,522
Location
New Zealand
I'm 51 so a new member of the 50+ club. Fortunately I don't have any medical problems or old injury's so really I am doing hunts that are as hard as I have ever done. But I do restrict my pack out weight as this can be a real problem. But I exercise every day, no matter how easy. I swim, bike and run for fitness and I'll keep going until I'm forced to stop.
 

Phaseolus

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 26, 2014
Messages
388
Location
EOM Western Colorado
I’m a month shy of 62 and still hunting. Opening week of archery I backpacked in 3 miles and hunted for 4 days. Unless I have horse support I’m limited by distance much more so than in my earlier years. A lot of times I am solo and that is also limiting, especially in warm weather. My right knee is mostly worn out and I live with the pain. I’m not going to stop living in the outdoors until I absolutely have to.In October I plant to backpack into The Black canyon of the Gunnison NP to fish, something my younger Brother and I have been doing for 35 years. 2700’ in 3 miles keeps the crowds down. There be big fish (for Colorado in there. 43CBCEA5-8A1F-4BE1-9955-9090C14118CA.jpeg
 

Gellar

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 31, 2014
Messages
2,312
Location
The Driftless Area
I’m not 50, I’m 37, but the way time is flying I will be there soon. I hope to keep hunting in the mountains past 50, 60, hopefully even 70! Looking back what are some things you’d have done differently to be in better form as you age?
Some things that I know I need to change are my diet and the way I stay in shape.
My diet overall is not bad, but could be improved. I need to eat smaller portions.
currently to stay in shape I do a lot of high rep, low weight and body weight exercises. And I walk a lot. I need to get better at stretching and doing range of motion everyday. When I do, my body as a whole feels a lot better.
So, looking back, what do you wish you’d started doing differently 10,15, or 20 years ago now that you are older to be able to hunt and recreate as pain free and enjoyable as possible?
 

Phaseolus

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 26, 2014
Messages
388
Location
EOM Western Colorado
The things you can control most are diet, level and type of exercise, and keeping alcohol intake moderate. Alcohol is an inflammitory which I notice much more now. A part of my old exercise routine was running, I’d recommend changing that to cycling To protect your knees. Another thing I wish I had done at a young age was wear hearing protection for everything that makes noise including using the lawn mower. Hearing aids help but come with high cost and can’t be used when sweating a lot. I don’t hear well and have noticed that sometimes when I do hear something that I’ve lost some ability to detect the direction it came from. At 37 you probably already have damaged your hearing some, protect what you’ve got left.

And, keep the attitude that you are willing and able, some of my friends have said, I’m too old to do that now”. Baloney.
 

WYWINCHESTER

Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2021
Messages
23
Location
WYOMING
Your statement " WONDERING IF IT IS WORTH IT". I'm 61 grew up hunting, taught my kids and grandkids hunting. You answered your own question. I love it. When you enjoy something that much??? What is your happness, life, worth. I know many, that would just as soon die doing what they love, then in a bed. The only reason to stop,...is you can't do it anymore. I shot a moose and an elk this year with my bow. Where there is a will, there is a way. Keep going.
 

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Straight Arrow

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 10, 2009
Messages
4,363
Location
Gallatin Gateway, MT
Broke my knee a year ago August (severed patellar tendon) backpacking in wilderness, committed to PT and exercise, now healed up.
At 76 yrs backpacked in August this year with wife eighty miles in seven days through Thorofare. I can attest to importance of exercise, diet, and most importantly ... attitude!

It's Clint Eastwood's saying put to music by Toby Keith, "Don't let the old man in!"

(Lifelong addiction to hunting elk with binos, camera, bow, rifle, etal also motivates.)

Hermit emerging from wilderness.JPG
Hermit emerging from wilderness.
 

Bucksnuff

Active member
Joined
May 11, 2021
Messages
45
It’s definitely worth it. I can breathe better at 8,000 in that western dry clean air than I can at 500 in this humidity. 56 and in way better shape than when I was 36.
 

406dn

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 12, 2019
Messages
918
As a 70 year old man, 50 does not seem particularly old. When 50, I could hunt pretty much as I always had. The only thing that had disappeared, is that I could not hunt hard, days on end. I needed rest days or easy days during a long hunt.

There is a world of difference between 50 and 70. If not for horses, I would have given up big game hunting in mountainous terrain for easier hunts by now. Being 70 finds me still healthy, pretty fit and trim, but I have noticeably less stamina than back in the day. Also no one gets old without some battle scars. I have them but not as bad as most my age.

My intention is to hunt in some manner or another to 80, if I'm lucky enough to make it that long.

My advice would be to take good care of your body. You only get one and when it's shot, so are you. Keep your waistline in check, keep your muscles strong and keep moving.
 

Rabid_Chihuahua

New member
Joined
Sep 3, 2021
Messages
9
50 last October, 24 yrs as a rescue swimmer make me feel older but not at heart. I likewise limit my trek distances due to pack out as I am usually solo. Just finished my first ever Elk hunt on the 20th with Nevada bull archery, lucky for me they were all hanging out in the foothills and bedding even further lower in the flats! No freezer candy but 4 bulls over 6 days made this a trip I will never forget, consider myself one lucky ginger! This was my first face-to-face Elk on the first evening, was all smiles!
 

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gouch

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 29, 2019
Messages
481
Location
SW Oregon
Up until I hit 60 I didn't really notice a lot of slowdown in my physical activity. Then the doctor said I had a large mass on my right kidney which almost always meant cancer so we needed to remove that kidney right away. Well it turned out that it wasn't cancer but that surgery started me heading slowly down hill. Five years later I had surgery and and radiation for prostate cancer. Then the arthritis in my knees started getting to be an issue. So now at almost 68 my elk hunting is mostly just a camping trip with an a few walks in the woods with my bow hoping to run into an elk as broke down as me.

This is where I was last week. Notice how flat it is.
L E CAMP.JPG
 

jejack26

Well-known member
Joined
May 21, 2018
Messages
196
Location
Montana
Broke my knee a year ago August (severed patellar tendon) backpacking in wilderness, committed to PT and exercise, now healed up.
At 76 yrs backpacked in August this year with wife eighty miles in seven days through Thorofare. I can attest to importance of exercise, diet, and most importantly ... attitude!

It's Clint Eastwood's saying put to music by Toby Keith, "Don't let the old man in!"

(Lifelong addiction to hunting elk with binos, camera, bow, rifle, etal also motivates.)

View attachment 195352
Hermit emerging from wilderness.
Holy smokes, I'm curious did injure the knee falling? I am sure getting out must have been brutal.
 

Straight Arrow

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 10, 2009
Messages
4,363
Location
Gallatin Gateway, MT
Holy smokes, I'm curious did injure the knee falling? I am sure getting out must have been brutal.
Foolishly was in a steep rocky ravine with a heavy backpack on and a rock slipped out from under my right foot, which folded back to my left butt cheek, and the pack drove my right knee into the rocks and severed the tendon. My wife splinted me up (with what the EMT's said was the best backcountry splint they had seen) and climbed up to a ridge where she received a cell phone call from a friend who was going to meet us to take us back to trailhead. She called 911 and the sheriff deputy coached her on bringing up ONX on my phone so they got our coordinates. Two Bear Air out of Kalispell was there in about an hour to hoist us out to a waiting ambulance. Two Bear Air has this razzoo Bell 429 four bladed, twin engine helicopter with hoist and infrared capability. The pilot and crew were impressively professional and competent. We were extremely lucky they were on the ramp in Kalispell and ready to come get me. A Lewis & Clark County search and rescue team was dispatched, but the mountain was so steep they would have had a challenge dragging me down ... probably would have just sent me sledding down to the Missouri River, hoping I could tread water. :D
Splinted leg, looking down to canyon above Meriweather Landing.JPG
 

RobG

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 10, 2010
Messages
5,198
Location
Bozeman, MT
Foolishly was in a steep rocky ravine with a heavy backpack on and a rock slipped out from under my right foot, which folded back to my left butt cheek, and the pack drove my right knee into the rocks and severed the tendon. My wife splinted me up (with what the EMT's said was the best backcountry splint they had seen) and climbed up to a ridge where she received a cell phone call from a friend who was going to meet us to take us back to trailhead. She called 911 and the sheriff deputy coached her on bringing up ONX on my phone so they got our coordinates. Two Bear Air out of Kalispell was there in about an hour to hoist us out to a waiting ambulance. Two Bear Air has this razzoo Bell 429 four bladed, twin engine helicopter with hoist and infrared capability. The pilot and crew were impressively professional and competent. We were extremely lucky they were on the ramp in Kalispell and ready to come get me.
Next time tell Jim Bob hello. (And tell me the longer version of this someday.)
 

JimQ

Active member
Joined
Aug 17, 2021
Messages
40
I appreciate all of of the stories. I think my biggest issue right now is the wife chattering in my ear about getting too old to be backpack hunting into the wilds. I told her the day I quit they will find me 5 miles beyond the trailhead, bow in hand and a smile on my face looking out over God's country both on earth and in Heaven.
 

marshman

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 10, 2017
Messages
577
Location
Southwest Washington
I appreciate all of of the stories. I think my biggest issue right now is the wife chattering in my ear about getting too old to be backpack hunting into the wilds. I told her the day I quit they will find me 5 miles beyond the trailhead, bow in hand and a smile on my face looking out over God's country both on earth and in Heaven.
My wife and I have had this very same conversation more than once. You and I are on the same page.
 

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