Unconventional Offseason Training Tactics That Actually Work

Offseason training is critical to a successful hunting season. 

I made the mistake of taking the offseason off, and it proved to be one of the most frustrating hunting seasons I’ve ever had. To say hunting is a lifestyle for 365 days out of the year is an understatement.

We can continually improve our hunting capabilities and owe it to the wildlife and ourselves to be the greatest, most ethical hunters possible.

This is why I’ve compiled a list of the general offseason hunting tips you’re used to hearing AND incorporated some that few others discuss because they’re typically not thought of as training to hunt.

Let’s get started!

Typical Ways To Train During The Offseason

We’ve all read about the typical ways to keep your skills sharp during the offseason, and it’s great to have a fresh reminder, but I feel they’ve been beaten to death so that we won’t spend much time on them below. 

  • Keep your shooting skills sharp
  • Clean your firearms and gear
  • Repair or replace all your damaged hunting gear
  • Break in your new boots
  • Find new places to hunt

We all know it’s critical to remain comfortable and confident with our bow or firearm to avoid poor shot placementwhen the time comes to pull the trigger on the buck of a lifetime. Plus, shooting is just fun!

I’m incredibly tough on gear, which means it all needs to be clean after the close of hunting season (typically a few times during the season as well). Even if you’re not as rough on your gear as I am, it’s wise to clean everything before you put it away for a while.

Once all your gear is cleaned, repairing or replacing anything that’s damaged or lost is best to do now since you won’t need it for a couple of months. Your future self will thank you for being proactive.

Wearing your new hunting boots around town might be a complete no-no for some hunters, but you definitely need to break them in before you go trekking miles through the woods. Otherwise, get ready to have some crazy blisters.

Just because it’s the offseason doesn’t mean you should stop thinking like a hunter. I’ve found lots of excellent hunting spots because I kept my eyes peeled for new opportunities. Farmers who planted a new crop that the deer are wiping out are often happy to let you come in and help control the population.

Unconventional Offseason Training Tactics

  • Take hikes/ Workout
  • Go fishing
  • Test out a new gun or bow
  • Play airsoft or paintball
  • Learn from people outside of the hunting world

Maybe it’s because I’m from an area where the typical deer hunt consists of sitting in a treestand for hours, but I find many hunters to be way out of shape. It doesn’t help that our modern advancements allow us to be as lazy as possible, so we have to be extra intentional about working out and staying active. 

I don’t think we need to be CrossFit junkies, but being able to pack out your harvest without feeling you’re having a heart attack is well worth the effort of taking hikes and working out during the offseason. Swimming, hitting the gym, riding your bike, kayaking, and any other activities that require you to be active are great for staying in shape during the offseason.

No one can argue that fishing is relaxing, but I’ve also found some excellent hunting spots while fishing. It doesn’t matter if you’re kayak fishing, fly fishing, or fishing from a bass boat; if you keep your eyes peeled, you can find many spots that most hunters don’t know about because they’re unwilling to put in the extra effort or simply don’t pay attention while they’re doing other activities.

I’ve discovered that I’m prone to be stuck in my ways. When a new technology comes along, I’m reluctant to try it. However, I’ve recently been experimenting with air guns and found I really enjoy shooting them. As I dug into this topic, I discovered something shocking. Some air guns are capable of ethically harvesting big game. While I haven’t attempted to harvest deer or wild hogs with an air gun yet, I’m excited to test the limits and see what they’re capable of in terms of hunting and target shooting.

Okay, stay with me on this one because I know it’s a little out there. However, playing airsoft or paintball is not only incredible exercise, but you can also practice stalking and basic gun mechanics during these activities. Yes, paintball and airsoft guns are not identical to your hunting rifle, but they’re close enough to allow you to pick up on some shooting mistakes you might not notice while hunting because you don’t get to take as many shots as you do while playing paintball or airsoft. Plus, if you have kids, it’s a great way to get them outside and away from the screens! I loved playing paintball and airsoft with my dad.

Lastly, as hunters, we can learn a lot from the body armor-wearing tactical guys. Maybe not about hunting, but definitely how to protect ourselves in the event we run into an enraged wild animal, such as a bear, or basic gun manipulation to allow us to be more efficient while in the field. Taking advice from non-traditional areas will allow you to be more creative and think of approaches that other hunters aren’t considering, which means you’re more likely to harvest the animals they are incapable of finding.

When I took my first firearms training class, my concealed carry instructor taught me one of the most essential life lessons. He told us how staying alert and aware of your surroundings dramatically reduces the risk of being a victim. Since then, I’ve applied this to my hunting. I notice things that are slightly out of place, allowing me to spot animals I would have overlooked. 

I say all that to remind you that to be the best hunter possible, you shouldn’t be afraid to take advice and tactics from other areas.

Parting Shots

While it’s great to have those reminders of the typical offseason hunting tips, I believe we, as hunters, should be more willing to accept tips and advice from multiple sources. 

The unconventional offseason training tactics listed above will help you be more creative in the field, which often means you can approach hunting from a different angle and be more successful in the field. 

I’m not dogging on the old ways of hunting; I still very much enjoy them! I just believe there’s always room for improvement.

Stay safe in the field, and best of luck this coming hunting season!

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