When is 'old' too old?

devon deer

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Randy's podcast with Steve Rinella made me think, although it was already going through my mind as i turned 55 recently.

This might be difficult for some of you young hunters to relate to, but when you go the wrong side of 50 things start to change, little aches and pains, family commitments, finances etc
This might appear to be a crazy thought of mine, but when you turn 55, in my case it makes you start to think, just how long am I going to be in good health that I can carry on hunting?
So I think of my dad, he retired at 63, 2 weeks later he had his first heart attack, he was never really the same after that, and whilst I have taken better care of my health even I know I could fall over dead next week dragging a deer up a hill in the UK.
I have the body of a 55 year old but the mind of a 25 year old, and that is the problem, I need to start accepting the my body isn’t what it used to be.

Randy said he reckoned he had until 65, i think that is achievable, so i need to budget for a few trips back to Montana, or maybe other states before i get too old. I plan on coming back next year, maybe i need to start to hike like Randy states in the podcast, but i don't have elevation to condition my body, but to be honest that has never held me back before.

So, whilst I appreciate everybody is different, and I can’t gauge anything by the answer, who is the oldest hunter on here who still walks back into the mountains to hunt Elk?
Or who has hunted all their life and reached that point when common sense tells you, i am too old, when did you make that decision and why?

See you in 2016!

Cheers

Richard
 

shoots-straight

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My dad was still walking the hills of Western Montana at the age of 68. His last year was tough because he had a orange sized tumor in his lung that was stealing vital air capacity. If not for the tumor I'm sure he would have continued on. Even if that just meant wheel man. I had an uncle make it to 72.
 

capttowboater

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I'm 61 and ad long as I can put one foot in front of another going to keep trying. If I have my choice or place of dying , I rather it be in a place that I love and doing what I enjoy the most.
 

Kiwi

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Great post devon deer. I'm 10 years younger than you and have the same questions! I have a few little aches and pains that I hope don't hold me back over the next decade or so.
 

bigskyblueman

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Getting light and staying light really helped me. I'm 62 and I wear the same size pants I did at age 22. Arthritic joints not as painful as before. Hope you make it back to Big Sky Country, Richard.
 

Rooster52

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At 63 and after triple heart bypass surgery and an insulin dependent diabetic ,I still plan on elk hunting this year in southern Wyoming and NW Colorado. I try to be careful ,go slow and not hike in to far from a trail so I can retrieve the game myself.
If I die on a hunting trip it is whole lot better then rotting away in a nursing home.
 

kiwi hunter

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cant wait to show you my thar hunting possies here richard,,like you my mind is stuck at 25 so i just go with the flo
 

johnp

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Devon deer , I am 58 and I think about this every day . Hopefully another 10 years of hiking a ways in is still doable . I find myself making notes of closer to the road areas to hunt for when that is my only option . Having young hunters to hand down the honey holes to is more important to me now . If a person is fortunate enough to not have bad joint pain , that would be a big plus . Camping ( sleeping comfortably) is also getting more difficult . Getting old isn't for wimps. John
 

hank4elk

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I hit 60 this year and had heart attack and my years as Park Ranger/EMT saved me,quick action.
But 5 yrs ago I was the guy carrying the guy off the mtn. Years of hard work and stress took a toll.
I just had to resolve myself to the fact that I'm not 35 and indestructable anymore.

I will be hunting bulls and bucks again this year. Just closer to my truck,maybe 5 miles in ,instead of 10.
Started hunting smarter 10 yrs ago and never dive into the canyon anymore,unless it's heading to the rig or camp...slowly and carefully .

I'm probably going to die on my place hunting or watching critters,but that's after I make it to 90!
 

tarheel

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I turn 72 this coming Sunday, and while I haven't humped the Rockies in a few years I did go out to WY 3 or 4 years ago to fill 3 antelope tags and would entertain a chance to elk hunt again but my CO elk hunting buddy died and I'm just a bit too long in the tooth to attempt it alone.
 

bigskyblueman

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Indeed, whomever coined the phrase " Golden Years " , must have already been on the morphine drip, as checking out on a mountainside or pheasant draw somewhere , has far more appeal than a gurney up at Bozeman Deaconess.
 

Muley_Stalker

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I'll be 73 in Dec. I've never thought that my age will stop me. I still hunt deep and high in the Rockies for elk, muley, and bear. I always hunt solo. I've been doing it all my life, and it's not just hunting for me. It's a lifestyle that can't be given up.

If I drop dead in my mountains doing what I love most. I'll go with a smile. :D
 

ElkNut1

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hank4elk, what did you do to aid yourself before help came?

I'm 60 as well & don't like thinking of the day that I cannot elk hunt but realistically our Septs are numbered! (grin)

ElkNut1
 

Nameless Range

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I am half the age of some of the posters here but consider this.

Just this year a 92 year old woman ran a marathon, and a couple years ago a fellow named Fauja Singh ran a marathon at 100 years of age. (26.2 miles, 42.2 Kilometers)

An 80 year old man has climbed Mount Everest.(29,029 feet 8,848 meters)

In 2004, Lee Barry thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail at 81 years of age.(2160 miles)

And my favorite: Ramajit Raghav, at 96 years old, knocked his wife up in 2010.


To hell with thinking about the end. Here's to hunting at 100!
 

BR-549

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I shouldn't even being adding a post here but will. I am working on 48. I had two heart attacks at 38 and have three stents. Dad passed at 46 with a heart attack.

Also at that same time I had 98% blockage in my pulmonary artery where it "Y's" to each lung.... that happened twice in six months. My right leg is trashed with blood clots and is always swollen.... that happened at 19 and ended my wrestling career.

I am not obese or anything, just a blood disease that causes clotting.

I've always had never say die attitude. I do not intend to give it up though it is tough on me even at 48 and I too think about how long I have left to hunt- all the time. My elk hunting mentor was still going at 80 but he was generally healthy.

I like it too much to give in.

By the way, after crawling outside and vomiting from the pain.... I chewed a full strength aspirin.... doc says that kept enough blood trickling to keep me alive.... even though I take a full time blood thinner.
 

Big Fin

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Interesting to read the thoughts here. Steve and I got on the topic of age, almost by accident, as I could see I was making many remarks that were not quite relevant to Janis, who is in his early 30's.

The reason I have picked age 65 is that I had to find some mark to put in the ground to keep me focused on a time frame. If I am lucky, I will get to 65 and re-set the marker. But, I'm not going to the mountains each year taking for granted I will get to do a re-set.

Dealing with your own major health concerns can cause one to think about their mortality, or lack of immortality. Losing friends or family causes us to think about it, but not to the degree you think about it when you are laying at the Mayo Clinic, convinced your days are numbered in weeks, not years.

I find that when I don't put a date on something, I take for granted that it will be there forever. As such, I think I appreciate the increasing scarcity of the opportunity when I realize that I might only get to do this for 10 or 15 more years. Hell, that is not very long, once you get a bit older. When I was 30, ten years seemed liked forever. Now, ten years seems like a short passage of time.

I've got my share of family health history that gives me no reason to take anything for granted. My Dad died at age 62, his father at age 63. I've got a rare liver condition that causes a lot of health complications. I've got a blood clotting problem that has created three major clots in the last dozen years.

Or, I could pray that I get the longevity on my Mom's side, where her Grandmother lived to be 102, her Grandfather 91, both her parents well into their 80's in spite of smoking for packs of Pall Mall non-filtered, every day. In that case, I've got a lot more elk hunting days ahead of me.

Or, I might draw the short straw as my Mom's brother Elton did. He was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer two weeks after retiring at age 62. We buried him in May.

Last year I went on three hunts with guys who all have some major health issues. They were probably three of the most rewarding experiences I will have in this TV show. I could see how much each of them appreciated what had just unfolded. They were taking nothing for granted, as they have had life-changing events that give them perspective as to the fickleness of health. Hunts like those help me measure my own appreciation for the gift that each hunt represents.

Point of all that above is this; I'm not taking anything for granted. I might have 5 years ahead or I might have 25 years ahead. Every year I have, I'm taking advantage of it and enjoying it immensely. When I die, I hope my buddies all say, "Damn, I wish I had hunted as much as he did."

I do think that when you start finding a way to measure the closing window, it gives you much greater appreciation for each hunt. This November, I turn 51. According to the arbitrary marker I set, that means I've got, at most, 14 more years to elk hunt. That scares the hell out of me. When you younger guys are out there this fall, think about the possibility that you only have 14 more elk hunts in front of you. I can assure you such thought will give you cause to savor each day of that hunt a bit more than you other wise might have. And when you are packing up your camp, it causes a bit of melancholy thought, knowing you are now even one year closer to the terminal end of your hunting years.

Not sure if that makes sense. It is my way of putting some perspective as to how limited our health is, as it relates to an activity that requires good health; public land elk hunting. I do it, because I find the busy-ness of my life causes me to underappreciate things unless I put some measurement system in place that shows the scarcity. The more scarce something is, even future elk hunts, the more value you place on that which we have.
 

noharleyyet

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This is a topic my best bud, who turns 60 tomorrow, and I visit regularly. Each year we agree on 10 more quality years...

...and that's how you make God laugh.
 

JLS

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This is a topic my best bud, who turns 60 tomorrow, and I visit regularly. Each year we agree on 10 more quality years...

...and that's how you make God laugh.

Very true.

On a side note, I'm a huge proponent of fitness. I always hear the argument that you don't have to be a marathon runner to be a good elk hunter, and that's entirely true. My counter argument is that the higher level of fitness you maintain THROUGHOUT the year, the more likely you are to get more years of elk hunting.

I'm shooting for 80, which gives me 37 more elk hunts.:hump:
 
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