This is not a story of an adventure where my bow grows wings and miraculously swoops in and sweeps me away out of the clutches of a giant grizzly bear; this is a story about how hunting and more specifically bow hunting saved my life and inspired a lifestyle change in me that I am ever so grateful for. This is more or less a true testament of how others can motivate change in people’s lives. I have to start by saying I am still not as healthy as I would like to ultimately be, but it is a process and I know through my commitment I will get there.
Most hunters are always striving to learn more and get better at their craft so they can increase their odds for success. Like most hunters, I am constantly doing this very thing. I am desperately seeking that one tip or trick that will make me successful or constantly seeking that one variable, that I feel I have found from a lifetime of trial and error, that will make a night and day difference in my hunt.
Up until spring of 2016 my search was usually for the latest and greatest gear or gadget. That one thing that would make it easier for me to shoot more and work less. When it comes to types of hunting my favorites are bow hunting and waterfowl hunting.
I am going to be very honest here and hope that folks can get the main point of my story.
Last year I bought a new bow and decided that I was going to become an archery “ninja” (life goals). I was going to practice every day, read every how to article and commit myself to mastering the craft and becoming a better, more efficient bow hunter. However; before I dive too far into this, it’s important to know just a few facts about who I was when I bought this bow……
You see, I was the heaviest I had ever been weighing in at 327lbs. My size was a joke and not just to others, I was even cracking fat jokes about myself and laughing. I was always taking the approach of, “oh well, I have a good personality” and we all know what that means. I was the guy that always wanted to get in the stand that was easiest to get to or the guy who always wanted to take the four wheeler to the bottom of the hill so I didn’t have to walk back up. Sure I wanted to be successful, but I always thought that my thirst for knowledge would be the hard work that would put me there. I would never in a million years say that I was too unhealthy to hunt the way I should be hunting to maximize my chances.
So I bought my new bow. I was stoked to be doing this. I had saved up, budgeted, and sold stuff so that there would be NO reason I couldn’t afford a top of the line bow. For those that are interested, I bought the 2016 Elite Impulse 31.
Like most tools, I had to learn how to master it. So my search for knowledge began. I found myself constantly reading articles, listening to podcasts soaking it in and attempting to apply it. I was reading Petersen’s Bow Hunting Journal and countless internet articles. I was constantly listening to the Gritty Bowmen Podcast and John Dudley’s Nock on Podcast. I found myself on many evenings glued to youtube watching the pros and the experts.
I noticed a consistent theme from all of these guys whom I was beginning to call my digital mentors. It was that they preached about fitness. Now, a lot of these guys are true back country hunters and hike for miles and spend days in the woods, so without being healthy their ability to hunt the way the love to would dwindle away to nothing. Regardless of how they were hunting, I found it inspiring to see that these guys were willing to do whatever it took to participate in their passions and they refused to let anything they had control over dictate their enjoyment.
Wow! It made me think. Was there anything I could control that was dictating how I was able to enjoy hunting? The more I thought the more I realized there was. It was my health and my weight. You see, I was avoiding going deeper into the woods or walking through the marsh just little further, I was avoiding the hike over just one more ridge during spring turkey season, and all because I was overweight and content. I was out of shape and more or less too lazy to go the extra mile. The drive was there, the determination was there, but the will power was nonexistent because the work was miserable. It was miserable, but I quickly learned it didn’t have to be.
I made a commitment to myself and I decided that if I could find the willpower to change my life then the ability to hunt harder would manifest itself as a by product. I can guarantee you, without a shadow of a doubt,this thought process was 100% absolutely correct. You see my goal was to be a successful hunter. Being successful at anything means working harder, and getting healthy made it easier to work harder. The more I invested into my health the more comfortable I was. It made me feel better and it made my time in the woods 150% more enjoyable.
I started shooting better and spending more time outdoors. When I need motivation today, I still turn to the guys that inspired me and they still preach the same thing….. get fit, have fun and enjoy your life to the fullest.
I have not gone on any diets or plans that guarantee weight loss. I started eating clean and changed my diet. I always make time to exercise and incorporate the outdoors. It’s a simple rule that we have all heard before “80/20.” Yes, 80 percent diet – 20 percent physical and with commitment it’s easy. Through this quest of wanting to be a better bow hunter, I have become a better person and my quality of life has changed from average to ….”climb that hill…… NO PROBLEM”.
I do take supplements. While there is no magic weight loss pill, I take supplements because they help me feel better and guarantee that my body gets what it requires and helps me maintain my energy levels. For those with inquiring minds, I take the MTNOPS supplements. Not only because they work but on several occasion I have called or emailed the company and I genuinely feel like one of their main focuses is that their customers are successful at achieving their goals and all they want to do is know that they have helped. So it’s February 2017 and I can say that from May 2016 to now I have lost over 80lbs. Maybe to some it’s not a lot maybe to some it’s a whole lot. To me it was and continues to be life altering. All this because I wanted to become a better bow hunter. Sounds funny but the people I found making a difference in this sport are still one of my most inspiring factors.
So if any of those guys are reading this, I can’t begin to thank you enough. If anyone else knows those guys please pass along my gratitude. When you see the joy and passion in others and realize that there is nothing they have control of preventing them from doing what they love, it’s inspiring, and for me it was life changing. So my call to action for those reading is as follows…… get up and do something!!!!! Like Cameron Hanes says….”no body cares, work harder”.