Gearing up for Warm Weather Prairie Grouse

This season, we’re going to head north and west for early season prairie grouse hunting in South Dakota and Idaho in late September and early October. The average temperatures are expected to be a low of 38 and a daytime high of 66, with the possibility of hitting highs the mid-80’s. The distances and elevation changes will also be more significant than our field hunts in the Midwest, so I’ve decided to start my preparation now for my gear, myself, and my dogs.

My Gear

The center point of my gear is my Q5 Centerfire Upland Vest. This vest is this vest made right here in the good old USA is light weight, has a heavy capacity, ventilated, adjustable and adaptable. This vest has pockets, add-on pouches, and a removable backpack to load up with extra gear.

Q5 Centerfire Upland Vest

In addition to the normal shells and gloves I’ll be carrying along:

Mark's Hunting Gear

The weight of the vest and gear combined is approximately 15.5 pounds. My Ruger 28 gauge and Beretta 690 20 gauge both weigh in at 6.5 pounds, so I’ll be packing and carrying twenty-two pounds of gear at elevations over 4,000 feet and daily inclines of hundreds of feet!

Conditioning

My strategy is to increase both my daily mileage and my weight training. Last week, I upped my daily mileage from 5 – 8 miles each day to 7 – 10 miles by splitting the dogs into two groups (instead of one) and walking both pairs for 2 to 3 miles each day. I have also added back in the weight vest of 26 pounds to at least 3 of the 2-mile legs each week. I upped my resistance and weight training into three times a week vs. the two I had previously been doing. I’m planning on my increased calorie burn and reduction of calorie intake to help me reduce some weight along the way to a more respectable 155 pounds. My love of good food and brown whiskey may be somewhat of a road block!

Sharpen up the shooting

We’ve been shooting a couple of rounds of skeet each week. I plan on increasing my 50 rounds to 100 a week and mixing in sporting clays to the mix. My new 692 Black is rearing to go to the big stations. I’ve also been watching the Chris Batha Skeet videos on YouTube. He’s really helped me out on stations 2, 6, and 8 to focus on strategy, set up, and lead on each of the shots needed. He’s also helped me increase my speed of the shot so the birds are getting broken before the middle post. I shot a 24/25 Wednesday. Missed the #8 low house (the last regulation shot you can miss) but followed it with a hit on the same bird as my option shot.

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Mark

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