Each year when hunting season rolls around it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement and forget to take care of your health. Many hunters experience hunter fatigue but don’t take the necessary steps to stay in control. Learning how to handle your hunter fatigue is vital not only when it comes to your success in the woods but also when prioritizing your health!
What is Hunter Fatigue?
Hunter fatigue is a type of exhaustion that occurs after extended periods of hunting. Just think about how much stress you put your body through during a hunt! Long hours in the stand, sleep deprivation and trying to keep up with family and work-life will take a toll on anyone.
As you work your way through the hunting season, the sport will inevitably start to affect your mind and body if you don’t stay on top of it. So what does this look like? Here are some of the main symptoms that may occur:
If you find you’re having trouble focusing in the middle of a hunt or get dizzy, lightheaded or have a headache, these could all be signs that you’re fatigued. Luckily, there could be a simple fix if these symptoms are caused by dehydration. Determine whether or not you’ve had enough water for the day and if you have and your fatigue continues it could become a health concern.
When you’re typically in a good mood but find yourself more irritable than usual, this could also be a sign of fatigue. Wearing yourself down to the point of taking on a negative attitude will not only be detrimental to yourself but it will affect those around you.
Misery likes company so try to be aware of how you’re doing throughout the day and if you find yourself slipping into an irritable mood, try not to take it out on others!
Compromised Immune System:
Your body undergoes harsh conditions during hunting season. If you’re not in your best physical condition, you may find your immune system lacking. When this happens, it’s best to stay home and recover, rather than pushing through the pain.
There’s nothing worse than spending hours out in the cold when you’re not feeling your best so keep that in mind before heading to your next hunt.
Lack of Motivation:
When hunting becomes a part of your daily routine, you may start to lose motivation and forget about your love for the sport. It may help to step back and spend more time with friends and family or engage in other hobbies or activities that bring you joy.
Come back to the woods with the strength and determination you need and enjoy every second of it!
Muscle Aches & Pains:
Although tiredness and aches and pains can occur in many other circumstances, if it’s happening when you’re experiencing the other symptoms, it’s most likely hunter fatigue. If you feel as if you’ve really slowed down and have to remind yourself to put one foot in front of the other, you’ve probably reached your breaking point!
Hunting is a tiring sport and requires a lot of physical and mental strength but sometimes you might need to take a break and that’s okay.
How to Handle Hunter Fatigue
Self-awareness is the first step in handling your hunter fatigue. Pay attention to how you feel physically and mentally as your hunts continue. If you start to notice the above symptoms appear and progress, you may need to re-evaluate and consider the next steps to take.
One of the best ways to avoid fatigue during your hunt is to prepare well in advance. This means maintaining your physical and mental health well before you go into hunting season! Here are a few things you can do to make sure you’re properly prepared:
- Create an exercise program – As mentioned, you must be in prime physical condition to withstand the hunting season! An exercise program will help to keep you on track.
- Get plenty of rest – Sleep has always and will always be important when hunting. If you go in exhausted, chances are you won’t be very successful.
- Stretch on a regular basis – To avoid aches and pains, stretch often. Your body will thank you for it later!
- Ensure you’re getting the right amount of protein – High energy is key during a hunt and having the right food handy will help you avoid hunter fatigue! Check out these backcountry meals to have on deck.
- Supplement vitamins when needed – Boost your immune system with vitamin C, multivitamins and other supplements if you feel you’re lacking any!
Before we head out, these common hunting mistakes to avoid are also worth checking out. We post new blogs each week so stay tuned for new tips and tricks on a regular basis.
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