Hunters have known the health benefits of hunting for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Not only does hunting give you a chance to escape the stress of everyday life, but it also boosts your physical health as the exercise you do and the meat you’ll earn will improve your cardiovascular system and diet.
Hunting is also a great way to improve your mental health, as time in the backcountry will help you de-stress and the time spent with friends will help you find a sense of normality during these crazy times.
Here are a few ways hunting can benefit your health, and a few tips to ensure you stay safe while searching for wild game.
Hunting requires you to travel great distances through rugged terrain in search of an animal. Tracie Abraham, a health educator from Michigan State University, reports that this kind of strenuous activity ticks all the boxes of CDC health recommendations, as It takes great strength and stamina to climb, haul, and stretch while out in the backcountry.
Hunting also helps improve your balance, which is a key element of physical fitness and health. When hunting, you’ll need to recruit all the under-used muscles in your body to stay upright and maintain a good posture while hiking or shooting — particularly if you’re bowhunting. Good balance can keep you safe in old age and will improve your performance in other athletic activities.
Hunting can also help you manage diseases, as cardiovascular activity can improve blood flow and reduce the effects of diseases like varicose veins. You will, however, need to take regular breaks to ensure you don’t aggravate any existing injuries or illnesses and should always have a solid exit plan if you do have a known health issue.
There are few things better than being out in the backcountry. Even if your hunt isn’t successful, it’s hard to be mad about spending a few nights sleeping under the stars with your buddies. Whether you’re a hobbyist hunter or make your living from trapping and shooting, hunting can have a great impact on your mental health.
The mental health benefits of hunting are even more important now, as global uncertainty about the pandemic and climate change has left us all feeling shaken. Getting back to doing what you love with people you love can reduce stress and remind you of what is important, and research shows that physical activity with friends can help manage conditions like depression and anxiety.
Almost all of us are too reliant on convenience food that has been enhanced with hormones and denied a good quality of life. As hunters, we get to reconnect with the food on our plate and learn the value of quality meat that has lived a healthy life.
You can live off a successful hunt for months if you store your wild game meat correctly. This means you have a consistent supply of high-quality protein, which is essential for fueling other activities and generally maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
A bump in protein intake might also benefit other areas of your health like your vision. Diets that are high in protein promote eye health, and, if you combine your intake of wild game meat with fish, you’ll have a well-rounded intake of the vitamins and minerals which keep all your organs healthy well into old age.
Immersing yourself in nature can give you a restful break from work stress, but it can hold some serious dangers — even for experienced hunters. Part of taking care of your health is about proactive mitigating the dangers you may face. Here are some safety tips to keep yourself healthy:
- Bring the Right Equipment: you should already have a checklist of the gear you will need, but be sure to bring sturdy footwear, a first aid kit, and weather-appropriate apparel as a minimum.
- Research the Area: Researching the area where you will hunt is part of the joy of hunting. You should dig through hunting guides to learn about things like animals, terrain, and camping spots that are present in the local area.
- Create an Exit Plan: if something goes wrong, you must know how you will leave the area safely. You can invest in tech like radios and GPS to help you in an emergency and should have necessary equipment like a deer drag to bring your catch home.
Hunting is a fulfilling, immersive experience. You spend hours amongst nature, and create incredible memories while you’re out in the backcountry — it also benefits your health. Hunting will boost your cardiovascular systems and can improve your balance and eyesight. Hunting with friends is also good for your mental health, as the time spent amongst friends will help you put life in perspective.