Packet Focus: Backcountry Big Game Hunting Packet

Wyatt Shaul scouts for big mule deer bucks high in the alpine.

By Rob Shaul

Gone are the days were Hunters were perceived as old, fat and out of shape.
The sport of backcountry hunting has gained lots of popularity thanks to companies such as Sitka and Under Armour which sponsor their own athletes – backcountry hunters who record their hunts with GoPro’s and stories, and sometimes, full-on films.

To us, backcountry big game hunting is one sport which bridges the mountain and tactical focus of our training specialty.



We defined following fitness attributes:

  • elevation gain and loss under moderate loads
  • extended movements (up to 20 miles)
  • and finally, the kicker – packing out the game – super heavy load carriage – 100+ pounds over rough, broken terrain.

The Backcountry Big Game Hunting Packet consists of four plans, and 7+ months of total training that are organized so that each plan will build your fitness for the next. The purpose is to build sufficient fitness to prepare you physically and mentally for your hunt.

The current iteration of the Big Game Hunting Plan, which is the final plan in this packet, is perhaps the most demanding of all of the mountain-sport specific plans I’ve designed. It includes the focused eccentric legwork of our ski and peak bagging plans for walking downhill, leg and cardio hiking under load work in the form of thousands of step ups, intense core training, based on our latest Chassis Integrity Theory, for load carriage, and finally, long, increasing, weekend “mini-events” to prepare backcountry hunters for the fitness and mental demands they’ll face getting their game from the backcountry to the truck.




The 4 plans, in the order you’ll complete them are listed below. Note the rest weeks between plans Begin the Bodyweight Foundation Plan 31 months before your hunt:

Weeks        Plan
1-6               (1) Bodyweight Foundation – Bodyweight Strength Training, Bodyweight Power Training, Endurance Training (running)
7                   Total Rest
8-14            (2)  Resilience – Gym-based Strength, Chassis Integrity, Heavy Rucking and distance running
15                 Total Rest
16-22         (3) Humility – Bodyweight Strength, loaded work capacity, IBA runs and long, unloaded runs
23                 Total Rest
24-31         (4) Backcountry Big Game Training Plan – Sport-specific endurance for uphill hiking, focused core
work, eccentric leg-strength training for hiking downhill. 

It’s very important you complete the final, Backcountry Big Game Training Plan the 8 weeks directly before the hunt.



What Equipment is Needed?
3 of the plans, Bodyweight Foundation, Humility and the Backcountry Big Game Hunting Program are limited equipment programs. Resilience requires a fully-equipped weight room. Click on the individual plan links above, and then the “required equipment” tab for specifics.

I live in the Mid-West, East Coast, South or somewhere else where it’s low elevation and flat as a plate. Will this packet prepare me for mountain travel?
Yes … as best we can… the kicker is elevation. The packet includes focused “mountain endurance” training for uphill movement, eccentric strength training for the downhills, core strength endurance, movement under load, etc. However, there is no magic bullet way to prepare you for the effects of elevation. Best we can do is get you as sport-specifically fit as possible when you arrive. It will take a few days for you to adjust to the thinner air in the mountains.

Does purchasing this packet mean I’m guaranteed to get my elk?
If it were only that easy. But, if you purchase this packet, complete the programming as prescribed, go on your hunt, and find you were not physically prepared, we’ll refund you, no questions asked.

More Questions? E-Mail

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