Fitness fad or necessity in Hunting?

Hunting, especially western hunting does require physical tools, but is the fitness trend a fad.

Hunting, especially western hunting does require physical tools, but is the fitness trend a fad?

Fitness has become very trendy with regards to the hunting community and with the help of Social Media (communication technology).   With that said, I don’t think fitness is a fad, but I believe it’s getting way too over emphasized, while hunting skills like tracking are getting devalued by the younger demographic.

Let me make this point very clear, I know fitness has it’s place in the hunting world, but personally, I won’t  be winning any Train to Hunt Competitions (which I actually like).  I was blessed with long legs and I do try to get into the gym on a semi regular basis because I believe it’s important. I just want to make sure hunters realize when you are a PRO basketball player you have certain skill sets which allow you to get to that level. You must have the right genetics, be a great shooter, passer, dribbler, rebounder, basketball IQ, etc… Being more physically fit will help make any athlete get better, but you still need skills in that sport or craft to get to a HIGH level.

As hunters we always play to our strengths, by that I mean, if you are a good elk caller you probably put a lot of emphasis on elk calling. If you are great at glassing, you probably spend large amounts of time glassing. If fitness is what you value most you will probably put emphasis on backpack hunting. Again, we all play to our strengths.

Mental Toughness is probably one of the most underrated hunting skills.  We stood above this bedded mule deer for over an hour in our feet filled with cactus.

Mental Toughness doesn’t get talked about enough.  1 hour standing in no shoes with cactus in our feet while waiting for this buck to stand up.

Personally, I like the idea of being a Hybrid type hunter, because I hunt and guide a lot of different animals and country.  I know most of the hunting I do can be very physical, but that is just 1 small function of the hunt. Shooting, Scouting, Tracking, Field Judging, Animal Knowledge, Glassing, Calling, Mental Toughness and other skills are just as, if not more important to have in order to consistently be successful.

Everyone has physical limits based on their genetics and fitness level.  My wife can't go every place I go because her limits are different than mine.

Everyone has physical limits based on their genetics and fitness level. My wife can’t go every place I go because her physical limits are different than mine.  This doesn’t mean she can’t be a successful hunter, it means we have to change our tactics when it’s her hunt.

Again, I am not a fitness hater, in fact I actually believe my physical ability has played a huge part in my success as a hunter and guide, but without a good foundation of hunting skills I would just be a sexy 😉 big guy hiking around in KUIU Hunting Gear.


After thoughts…

  • Everyone has different skills and levels they can reach within those skill sets.
  • Being more physically fit will help you get better, but it doesn’t mean you will be better than the guy next to you.
  • Necessary hunting skills and tactics typically change based on geographical locations.
  • Being more healthy and physically fit does help improve and extend your hunting career.


3 thoughts on “Fitness fad or necessity in Hunting?

  1. Jay

    Couldn’t agree more Craig. It’s funny how bodybuilding (emphasis specifically on bodybuilding) has found it’s way into hunting. Look at most sheep hunters, and they’re rail thin. That’s not to say they’re weak or unfit, at all. But there comes a point where adding muscle mass makes you worse. It’s just added bulk you have to carry up the mountain. If you want to be in shape to hunt, the best thing to do for your body is actually hunt… based on the training specificity principle. But selfies on the leg extension machine look really great on Facebook. So it’s here to stay.

  2. Craig SteeleCraig Steele Post author

    Jay, you know I am a big guy and I am the first to admit I break down much easier than some one below the 200 mark. 160-180 on a long 6 foot to 6 foot 4 inches frame is probably the most ideal body for backcountry hunting.


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