Protein gets all the fame in society's current trend with nutrition, and it is critical for many essential functions in the body. However, it is often misunderstood and over supplemented. This article will expose a couple trending protein myths and provide guidance about the why, when, and how much in regard to protein. Optimize your body's recovery from difficult training and save money by knowing the protein basics.
Like carbohydrates in our previous article, fats are a critical part of a hunter’s diet. Fats are essential for immunity and anti-inflammatory processes, provide structure for cell membranes, act as an important energy source, and contribute to brain and heart health. Certain vitamins could not be absorbed, and hormones could not be produced, without the contribution of fats. Fat and carbohydrate work together to fuel the body: carbohydrate is preferred for the higher exercise intensities, and more fat is burned at lower to moderate intensities.
There is an immeasurable amount of information thrown around the internet about nutrition. It is overwhelming! Which information is correct? Does it pertain to my fitness level? My goals? My body type? We often hear guidelines meant for the average, relatively immobile American and think it is a blanket answer for all people. In reality, every person is different and has different needs. The hunter who goes hard all day every day will have different needs in season than out of season. Further, the mountain hunter will have different needs than the tree stand hunter. To get you started on what your needs are, you first have to understand the basics—which many people skip. This article will be the first in a series covering the major nutrients and how they pertain to the backcountry. The basics on carbohydrates:
Whole, halved, quartered. Hide on, hide off. Gutless, gutted. Packs, backs, bikes, trucks, and ATVs. I feel like I have taken game animals out of the woods in about every fashion except for the use of pack animals. Early on we often did things the hard way because we didn't know any better. Today, I predominately use the gutless method to quarter my game and carry it out of the woods in my pack. I have acquired some… unique pack out stories over the years in my hunting journey. One, in particular, comes to mind.
In the middle of July, I was hiking out of the mountains after a successful day of elk scouting. The setting was beautiful at 9000 feet. Despite the summer's warmth, ice and snow stubbornly clung on the steep declines to the west beneath a bluebird sky. A mountain goat clambered among the rocks, adding to the majestic scene. As I glanced to my right, a flash of tan caught my eye. I did a double take and observed two spike bulls and a 5x5 had wandered to the top of a nearly vertical ice field dropping about 100 yards. I guess they wanted the fast way down. Maybe they wanted an adrenaline rush. Whatever the reason, I know what I saw next.
I grew up rifle hunting blacktail deer in western Washington. It was not until my senior year in college that I finally picked up a bow in pursuit of elk. I have never looked back and it has become quite a passion. There are several things I wish I had known as a new elk hunter that would have saved me a lot of time and missed opportunities. I am far from having it all figured out, but I have learned much. If you are a new elk hunter, here are a few things that will hopefully give you a boost up the learning curve (it's quite steep):
During casual lunchtime conversation, a coworker recently posed two hypothetical hunting opportunities and asked which I would choose. The catch: it would be the last hunt I could ever go on.
When I married my husband, two very different worlds and perspectives collided and began to merge. This doesn't mean we became the same. We continue to learn from and value where we came from and also make our own way together. It's peculiar how something like a hobby can reveal so much about marriage, individual personalities and worldviews, and baggage. For us, hunting has been a tool to learn important lessons to become a strong team.
The balance of marriage and hunting is a challenge. For some couples, the process is more natural than for others. The best balance results in an enriched marriage. The worst balance leads to a hunter's spouse feeling resentful, lonely, and jealous.
Human appetite is intricate and somewhat unpredictable—it is affected by hormones released by the brain, digestive system, glands, and fat cells. Many different variables may impact your hunger in this scenario. I often talk to hunters who prefer to keep moving instead of stopping to fuel. A rigorous hunt alone will dramatically increase caloric needs, and if that hunter is eating less than normal because of the hunt, they are left with a significant calorie gap. Here are some likely reasons your appetite has changed and why it is important:
It had been five years since I hunted with my favorite hunting partner and father, Mike Patrick. I had plenty of excuses; moving around the country for the Army, getting a new job during hunting season, and long distance. So in the fall of 2018, I was really looking forward to my dad drawing a non-resident Montana deer tag. We would have five days together chasing deer again. I could not wait.
I have always desired to be a competent hunter. I have grown a lot and enjoy more consistent success now than ever before. From day one, I have learned from other hunters. The true credit of any success I have experienced belongs to them. The following is a snapshot of how I have watched, listened, and grown.
The arrow has been released and flown true. The blood trail was short due to the ethical shot. Now you stand over your kill. What do you feel? Simple joy? Sorrow? For others less in tune with the wild, there may be little emotion at all. Why does this even matter? Perspective plays a key role in the big picture of our approach to conservation. With no respect for the beast pursued, thoughtless killing takes place. Such a perspective lends no hand to stewardship and historically places animal populations on the brink of extinction.
SB 127 is a bill recently introduced in the state of Montana. If passed, the bill will make it illegal to sell information or coordinates revealing the location of game animals. The point of this bill is to support fair chase hunting. The bill prevents people from paying large sums of money to kill a trophy class animal someone else found on public land. SB 127 is not about habitat or animal populations; it is about ethics. It is a sad state of affairs when hunting becomes about the highest bidder paying not to hunt but to kill for a living room decoration.
A motivating bugle over the next ridge coupled with a high fitness level will carry an avid hunter an impressive distance. Fueling the hunt strategically will carry him or her even farther—by improving strength and stamina. Smart nutrition will promote recovery and allow the arduous hunt to be done again the next day.
The shoulder joint has great potential for injury due to its range of motion. It is one of the injury sites most common for bow hunters (1, 2). Here are some of the top reasons bow hunters injure their shoulders and how you can prevent it from happening to you:
Physical fitness affects all aspects of life. It is critical to find a way to stay fit that works with your personality, goals, and lifestyle. Ultimately, you need to enjoy the workout to stay in shape for the long run. If you hate the gym, you won't stick to a long term gym plan. Find something you can commit to; be it running, lifting, hiking, swimming, climbing, sports, etc. That being said, you have to be disciplined no matter what. Pushing through those days you don't feel like working out are the days you make the most gains.
America is in the golden age of technology. New software and products flood the market daily and gear gurus are ever able to spend their dollar. The hunting culture is not exempt. High tech clothing, new calls, packs, research, online scouting, and map technology all make aspects of the hunt easier or more comfortable. The average hunter does not have to be good at reading a map or navigating terrain. There are no secret spots anymore. Every honey hole can be viewed with a click of a mouse if you know what to look for. Quality optics, clothing, and gear give every hunter opportunity to be comfortable in the elements, see farther, and shoot farther. Even knowledge is close at hand for everyone. Resources to learn about your quarry and how to hunt them are available like never before.
I love to hunt for a lot of reasons. More reasons than will fit in this article; but one rose to the surface. That is, hunting speaks to the heart of manhood. This aspect of a man’s heart is not limited to hunting of course. For other men it may be fulfilled through woodwork, ranching, or a myriad of other activities. Woman hunters are on the rise and I do not mean to dissuade them. I simply seek to point out that certain aspects of adventure, manual labor, and large muscle movement activity speaks in a special way to men. For me, I find this fulfillment through hunting. What do I mean?
Dialing in your nutrition strategy in the backcountry can make an incredible difference in your momentary and overall stamina (not to mention enjoyment) during your hunt. How you eat can promote recovery, prevent constipation, and fuel the intense climbs and long days.