Hunting is massively popular in the United States–almost 26 million people went hunting in 2021, a slight decrease from the previous year. It still accounts for around 7% of the population, underlining hunting’s popularity, and the number has been relatively stable over the last decade.
Responsible hunting, within hunting regulations, can be an enjoyable social event that brings people together. It can also be good for you–in 2005, a National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) report suggested hunting or fishing to get out and burn calories, with an estimated 350 calories burned per hour when out on a hunt.
That said, it is possible to be too out of shape for hunting. It’s estimated that almost 41.9% of the adult population is obese in the USA alone, and that can severely impair your ability to go hunting. If you’re interested in discovering how obesity is a problem for hunters and what you can do about it, we’ve got you covered.
Why Obese People Struggle To Hunt
Obesity severely impacts physical fitness, overall mobility, and endurance, which could make it difficult for hunters to navigate challenging terrains and cover longer distances. Those not carrying excess weight will have increased agility, reducing the likelihood of injuries and ensuring they can move swiftly and quietly through various environments. If you’re obese, your quarry will have a considerable advantage.
Also, weight loss positively impacts stealth and concealment. A lighter, more streamlined physique enables hunters to move with greater stealth, minimizing noise and disturbances that could alert prey. This heightened stealth is particularly crucial in stalking situations, where getting close to the game without detection is paramount. Sadly, an obese person crashing through the undergrowth will likely alert everything within a reasonable radius long before the gun is cocked.
Also, good fitness leads to improved stamina, which is vital for activities such as tracking, climbing, and carrying gear over uneven landscapes. Increased lung capacity and endurance are invaluable assets when facing the physical challenges of the hunt, especially if you’re going out for several days carrying camping gear and the like.
How You Can Combat Obesity and Get Hunt Ready
Prepping for the hunt might not just be cleaning your gun and getting your gear ready. If you’re obese, we’ve demonstrated that you might also need to lose a few pounds to make sure you have the best chance of success.
You can do this in three main ways: diet, exercise, and support. If you get those three things right, you’ll soon be stalking your prey with all the stealth of a chameleon.
Firstly, like a good hunt, weight loss is better conducted with someone else. You’ll need support to get you through tough times, and if your fellow hunters are all in shape, you may need a new support network.
Searching online for 'weight loss classes near me' can help you discover like-minded people who want to help you on your journey. They may not be alongside you the next time you pull the trigger on a dove, but they’ll help keep you on track to get in shape. These workshops can also give access to further help and advice, which will help you on your journey.
Good weight loss starts in one place, and one place only—the kitchen. Weight loss is all about burning excess calories, and therefore, you have to ensure you’re not putting anything significant into your body to counteract your efforts.
Try to drop sugary foods, soda, or anything high in saturated fats and avoid needless snacking. A few simple changes to your diet can make a big difference – think fruit for dessert instead of cake, low-fat products swapped in for their high-fat cousins, and you’ll soon be on the right track.
Remember, just like the animals you intend to hunt, everyone is different, so try to find out the diet that works best for you rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.
Finally, you’ve got to burn those excess calories. Hunting might be a good way to shed a few pounds, but you’ll need to do much more than that to move away from obesity.
Try to up your step count to 10,000 a day, and integrate more exercise into your daily routine; walk to the store, don’t drive, that sort of thing. Exercises such as swimming are a great way to start as they are low-impact, meaning your joints, likely to be under pressure from the excess weight, are not worked further as you drop the pounds.
You can switch out swimming for running, cycling, or gym work as your weight drops. This will help you lose weight and build strength around the body to improve your efficiency as a hunter. Also, check out our article on hunting fitness to know when a hunter should begin to get in shape for a hunt.
As any good hunter knows, you have to be able to adapt when it comes to stalking your prey, which, in this instance, is a leaner, meaner you.
Being overweight or obese can present physical challenges that can make hunting more difficult. These challenges can include reduced mobility, endurance, and agility, which are all essential for navigating challenging terrain, stalking prey, and carrying gear.
While everyone's body is different and some individuals with obesity may be able to comfortably participate in certain types of hunting, for others, improving their fitness can make the experience more enjoyable and successful.
So, why not lace up your boots, swap sugary snacks for trail mix, and take a step towards becoming a stronger, more effective hunter? Remember, the rewards of pushing your limits and conquering new physical challenges extend far beyond the thrill of the hunt.