In Michigan alone, there were 574,127 hunters as of 2017 compared to 11.5 million nationally in 2016 (1,2). With the start of the Michigan deer season tomorrow away, many hunters will take the field with hopes all their preparation will pay off by blessing their tables with mother natures bounty. A majority of hunters’ preparation efforts often revolve around shooting accuracy, food plots, and scouting that lasts all summer long. These components are crucial to have a successful hunt, but what about the physical demands of hunting. Multiple aspects of the hunt can challenge a hunter’s physical fitness. Studies have shown that there are vigorous demands placed on the heart with hiking in, climbing the stand, getting ‘buck fever’ and dragging the harvest out of the woods (3). These can be further complicated with uneven terrain or inclimate weather. The above physical demands of hunting are clearly tremendous, often achieving the definition of vigorous exercise put forth by the American College of Sports Medicine. With the aging population of hunters, most being 40-60 years old, health risks such as cardiovascular disease can further complicate the hunt for deconditioned individuals (4).
This first hunting series will look at multiple research studies that detail the demands of various aspects of hunting and to highlight the importance of including physical health in hunting preparation in order to improve the ease of hunting and keep hunters in the woods longer. I should note, deer is the primary animal in these posts but that is not to say what is being discussed is exclusive to deer hunters.
1. Krebs, N. (2018, January 19). Why We're Losing Hunters. Retrieved from https://www.outdoorlife.com/why-we-are-losing-hunters-and-how-to-fix-it/
2. Matheny, K. (2018, November 10). Michigan hunting in major decline - why that matters. Retrieved from https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2018/11/09/michigan-hunting-big-decline-deer-fishing/1924497002/
3. Verba, S. D., Jensen, B. T., & Lynn, J. S. (2016). Electrocardiographic Responses to Deer Hunting in Men and Women. Wilderness and Environmental Medicine, 27(3), 364–370. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wem.2016.03.005
4. H. A. Understand Your Risks to Prevent a Heart Attack. Retrieved from https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-attack/understand-your-risks-to-prevent-a-heart-attack