There are some prime hunting seasons on the horizon and one important piece of preparation along with securing those licenses is being in shape to enjoy the hunt.

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If I were to hit the field today it wouldn't be pretty. Picking up a shotgun in with my hands right now would not be the right thing to do. Why? I'm out of shape. Admittedly, I've been soft on exercise. My best effort for hunting at this moment would be cleaning the birds.

Like many who will be taking to the fields, blinds, and stands this hunting season it's important that not only your equipment is in perfect condition, you should be too.

After reaching out to expert fitness trainer Corey Howard at Results Personal Training, he offered these 5 steps for those of us who've spent too much time on the sofa and not enough time working out.



You need to get used to functioning with an elevated heart rate and shortness of breath. Incline walking on a treadmill is exactly what you need. Walking at 10%, 3mph, for 30-40 min without holding onto any handrails is perfect. If you can do this while wearing a weighted vest or your hunting backpack, you're a beast.

Farmer Walks


This is simply walking while carrying weights in each hand. It's important to keep your shoulders back and chest out. This can be done either with light weights for a longer walk, or heavier for a shorter walk. Either way, you're improving your body's ability to stabilize while carrying a load and moving, as well as strengthening your grip and upper back.



I'd strongly suggest lower body strength work- i.e.; squats, or lunges. You need strong legs. Your legs are your foundation. If you can get your legs fatigue-proof with incline walking AND add significant lower body strength, then no backwoods Colorado mountain stands a chance. I like lunge variations because it's similar to walking.

Upper Back


Rows and pulldowns are great here. You need a strong upper back to support your pack and to keep your posture tall. As you fatigue, your shoulders roll forward like a teenager on his phone. You need upper back strength for support, strength, and breathing. Dumbbells and seated cable rows are perfect for this.

Core Stability


I don't mean an endless number of crunches and sit-ups here either. A hollow hold on the floor is perfect for this. Lay on your back, lift your head, shoulders, and legs off the ground, and actively drive your lower back into the floor to engage your midsection. Now work towards holding this for a minute. This is a high-tension movement that pays off with big dividends.

Source: Corey Howard at Results Personal Training

Along with getting the necessary hunting license, making sure your gun or bow is tuned up, and having the right ammunition and clothing, you need to put your health at the top of the list.

Here's a list of hunting seasons in South Dakota:

  • Antelope Firearms - Through October 15, 2023
  • Archery Antelope - Through October 31, 2023
  • Archery Deer - Through January 1, 2024
  • Pheasant - October 14-January 31, 2024
  • Deer Black Hills - November 1-30, 2023
  • Deer West River - November 11-26, 2023
  • Deer East River - November 18-December 3, 2023
  • Deer West River Buck - November 11-26, 2023
  • Deer East River Buck - November 18-December 3, 2023
  • Deer Muzzleloader - December 1-January 1, 2024
  • Deer Antlerless - December 9-17, 2023
  • Turkey Fall - November 1-January 31, 2024

There are many more specified hunting seasons for big and small game here.

If you can take the time to visit the Outdoor Campus in Sioux Falls or Rapid City, the conservation officers will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

States with the most registered hunters

Stacker analyzed data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine which states have the most registered hunters. Read on to see how your state ranks on Stacker’s list.

Gallery Credit: Meagan Drillinger

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