The pursuit of wild meat has surged in popularity in recent years. Now, more than ever, people want to know where their food comes from. But why?
“Generation Y has inherited the most polluted planet in all of recorded human history,” said Michael Parker, reporter for the Huffington Post. “The impact of this is felt everywhere, but no more viscerally than on our dinner plates. The question of where our food comes from is on the lips of everyone today, with books like Food Inc or The Omnivores Dilemma fueling a rethink on what food and eating mean in the 21st century,” he wrote.
For many, “eating” isn’t just consuming and digesting food. It’s knowing where your food comes from, and holding a direct role in the process of taking it from the field, farm, garden or other ecosystem and to your plate. For bowhunters like Cameron Hanes, that means getting up close and personal with nature and the wild meat he pursues.
Cameron Hanes is a professional bowhunter who trains like a professional athlete. He is sponsored by Under Armour and field-tests their camo to ensure it’s up to par.
Hanes recently tested Under Armour’s new Ridge Reaper Forest camo. Outdoor Hub asked how he gauges whether a camo is efficient. He said: “Well, if the animal sees me. … But seriously, it’s pretty simple. I bowhunt only, so I’m close to the animals. My whole thing is stealth and getting close. Archery is an up-close and personal challenge.”
Hanes works closely with Under Armour because he believes in the product. “People who may not be as serious about hunting buy different camo patterns because they look good,” he told Outdoor Hub. “I don’t care if something looks good; I only care that it works. Under Armour is really serious about making top-notch functional gear that’s field tested.”
Hanes’ passion for his craft carries over to every hunt, and Under Armour fuels that passion. Hanes told Fox News: “I think I’m Under Armour’s longest-tenured athlete. … They know the passion that goes into hunting, and they think I emulate that passion daily. It’s being your best when conditions are worse. It’s easy for a football player to go out there with cheering fans in the stadiums, but when you go into the mountains you don’t have anyone. My whole thing is if you’re not doing something positive with your life, what’s the point?”
Hanes knows hunters aren’t always shown in the best light. He addresses those common misconceptions. “They think of (people) who just load up their trucks, get some beer and maybe shoot at animals with no regard,” he told Fox News. “That’s not accurate. In reality, we care about the animals we hunt and love the country the animals live in. I prepare for the hunt like a professional athlete prepares. If I’m going to kill the animal, I need to be my best, and I want it to be an ethical kill. It’s a big deal to take an animal’s life and it’s not like buying a steak at the grocery store. There’s so much reverence in that moment. There’s a life at stake and if I’m not the best, I’m not honoring that life.”
It’s that same reverence and connection to the food on his plate that lead actor Chris Pratt to adopt his new “Game Plan”: To eat only wild meat sourced by himself or his friends. Like Pratt, Generation Y values holistic health stemming from good decision-making about their food and exercise habits.
Smash.com reported: “Fitness isn’t just about being skinny or having that 6-pack any more, it’s about long-term health and strength, inner and outer.” But physical training, while necessary, need not break you.
It’s obvious that Hanes is physically fit. Have you seen his quads?! So what’s his key to success?
Hanes promotes his belief that it’s possible to give your body its needed strength without crushing your spirit. In an article on his website, he advises hunters to learn from the trial and error of others.
“Expect a lot of yourself,” he said. “Don’t make it a pipedream, but expect a lot and expect to get it. It can be easy to overtrain, overcommit and overwork if your expectations are too much. Go with the flow. Success will come. Just understand it might take months instead of days.”
Hanes has raced in 100-mile ultramarathons to push his mind and body to their limits. And he’s training for a 200-mile ultramarathon this summer. “The race is August 12 to 16 around Mount St. Helens,” he told Outdoor Hub. “My goal is to be mentally and physically ready enough to push through for 60 straight hours and just get it done.”
The winning time of the most recent 200-mile race was 64 hours. Obviously, much like his hunts, Hanes is expecting a lot from himself, and he plans to prevail.
Hanes’ physical capabilities are nothing shy of impressive (Hello, biceps!). But you don’t have to be physically built like Hanes to enjoy archery and bowhunting. Anyone, regardless of age, gender or physical build, can shoot archery. Whether you want to source your own wild meat, increase your core stability and mental focus, or get close to nature on a 3-D archery course, there’s a bow and arrow for you. Visit your local archery shop to get started today.
Interested in sourcing your own wild meat? Here are 8 questions you probably have about bowhunting, but are too afraid to ask.