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Administration Home News/Information Contact Us DNR Home   

Joe Manchin III, Governor

Frank Jezioro, Director


News Release : April 11, 2007


Hoy Murphy , Public Information Officer (304) 558-3381
Lt. Tim Coleman, Law Enforcement Section (304) 558-2784

Hunters: Get Fit for West Virginia ’s Spring Gobbler Season

This spring, West Virginia hunters will flock to their favorite wild turkey hunting haunts for the spring gobbler season. However, if they don’t prepare physically for the hunt, some might find themselves winded, tired and miserable, according to Lt. Tim Coleman of the Law Enforcement Section of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.
  “Most turkey hunts require the hunter to walk moderate-to-long distances while scouting or trying to locate birds,” said Coleman. “Add the fact that he or she is usually traveling up and down hills, around trees, over logs and traversing creeks, and the hunter has a formidable workout.”
  Because turkey hunting is often physically exerting, and more than 910,000 Americans die of cardiovascular diseases, many hunters could be at increased risk of a heart attack or stroke while in the field. In West Virginia during all the 2006 hunting seasons, four of the five reported hunting related fatalities were caused by heart attacks, according to Coleman.
  However, a few months, or even weeks, of exercise before the season starts could make the difference in whether you walk out of the woods with your hunting partner or send him scrambling to the nearest hospital for help.

The National Wild Turkey Federation has a few health tips for hunters on its Web site: Highlights include:

  • Train for Conditions You Plan to Hunt
    If your hunting conditions require you to walk three miles before daylight, try walking that far on a forced march several times before hunting season arrives. If you want to hunt in the mountains, train in the mountains or at least simulate that type of hunting in your exercise. Many pieces of cardiovascular training equipment have modes that allow you to mimic mountain passes, gradual inclines and any other condition found in nature. Also, walking or jogging in the area you’ll hunt during the weeks prior to the hunting season will allow you to do some much-needed scouting and will increase your chances for success during the hunt.
  • If You Smoke, Stop
    Smoking is the worst thing you can do to yourself. Smoking and tobacco use can cause disabling lung disease, cancer and heart disease. Mixed with the added strains of the hunt, tobacco use can lead to disaster.
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight
    Your ideal weight depends on factors including your sex, height, age and heredity. Excess body fat increases your chances for high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, some types of cancer and other illnesses. Conversely, nutrient deficiencies can increase your risk for osteoporosis and other health problems. If you're constantly losing and regaining weight, a registered dietitian can help you develop sensible eating habits for successful weight management. Regular exercise is important to maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Walk
    Walking is without a doubt the easiest and most beneficial form of exercise. Start off walking short distances and work into longer more difficult walks. In just a short time, you’ll start to shed unwanted pounds and feel better.
  • Eat Moderate Portions
    If you’re out of shape, it’s probably because you don’t exercise enough and you’re taking in too many calories. By keeping your portion sizes reasonable, you’ll be able to eat the foods you want and stay healthy.
  • Eat a balanced, nutrient-rich diet.
    To maintain good health, you need more than 40 different nutrients so avoid cutting any single nutrient out of your diet completely. There is no magic food that supplies them all and weight loss from all-or-none diets are difficult to maintain. Your diet should include:
    • Bread and other whole-grain products;
    • Fruits; vegetables; dairy products;
    • Meat, poultry, fish and other protein foods.

Health maintenance has become an important part of the DNR Hunter Safety Education Program, according to Lt. Tim Coleman, who is the statewide program coordinator. Classes are available across West Virginia in time for the spring gobbler season, which runs April 23 through May 19 . For information about classes in your area, call 800-243-9968 or visit the following Web site:


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