We sat down with extreme bowhunter, fitness enthusiast, and apex predator Cameron Hanes to get to know him and hear what it’s like to prepare for some of the most intense hunts on the planet.
Garmin: What are your favorite species to hunt for?
Cameron Hanes: Elk have always been at the top of my list. Shooting a big bull elk with my bow is what I dreamt of when I was young and it’s still right up there.
Second to that is dangerous game. I like the adrenaline rush of hunting grizzlies, Cape buffalo, and in general, anything that can hunt you, too.
G: What do you love about bowhunting?
CH: I love the challenge of bowhunting. Becoming proficient with a bow is a challenge that has basically defined my life.
G: What do you do to prepare yourself to go on a strenuous and physically demanding hunt?
CH: I pretty much train every day, year-round. I never miss a day of training and the whole reason I train is so I can bowhunt. My goal is to become the “Ultimate Predator.” I don’t even know if that’s achievable, but if I want to be that, I know that I need to work harder.
There are a few other things that keep me motivated. I like doing endurance races and my motto is basically this: “I don’t get ready for a season, I stay ready.” I’m pretty much ready every day of the year and when that ultimate hunt comes, I’m ready to give 100%.
G: Do you feel like there’s a direct correlation between your training and the success you’ve had?
CH: Definitely. The success of my hunts absolutely is because of my intense training regimen. The last time one of my hunts was not successful was in 2009. In 2015 I only bowhunted 10 times. Of those 10 hunts, I harvested 10 animals. Seven of them were in an “any weapons” season, so I could have used a rifle, but I decided to use a bow because that’s all I ever use.
I just like the challenge and preparation, and because I’ve prepared so hard, I’ve been successful almost 100% of the time. It goes hand-in-hand.
I don’t feel like I’m a great hunter or overly talented. All I do is work very hard and it pays off.
G: How does being physically prepared for a hunt help prepare you mentally?
CH: You can be physically strong, but if you’re mentally weak, you won’t be successful. You need to balance them both. I work so hard in training, that when I’m on the hunt, I’ve already sacrificed so much, so I’ve got to be mentally strong.
Because I’m mentally strong when I’m physically training, I’m like, “OK, I’ve got to do four reps,” or “I’ve got to run further.” You can’t have one without the other.
To get that mental strength, that’s where I test myself with the 100-mile Ultra Marathons and other marathons in back-to-back days. I want to make myself miserable. I want to be at my best on my worst days. Many times, hunting is just that. You get so rundown and beat down; you’re grinding it out and you’re not at 100%. That’s when you get the chance.
When that chance comes, I’ve got to be able to take advantage of it, so I train for misery and when it comes time for the hunt, it pays off.
G: How does the Garmin fēnix 3 smartwatch help you while hunting?
CH: Knowing where you’re going, how high you are, what the weather could potentially be doing; all of those things are a big deal to the mountain hunter. The more information you have accessible to you, the more successful you’ll be. People want reassurance. They want to know if a big storm is coming, so that’s where knowing the barometric pressure pays off. It makes a huge difference knowing your elevation if you’re reading a TOPO map. That information gives people peace of mind. So that’s where I think electronics like the fēnix 3 pay off. It’s just a good tool to use. Any tool that’s going to give you peace of mind or help you become successful, you’ve got to add to your repertoire.
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