The Anatomy Of A Bowhunter

Posted by: Bowhunting Contributor on Feb 10, 2013
Page 1 of 3

Written by contributor Dan Staton of

A common thread among all bowhunter’s is the love for a good challenge.  Without a doubt the odds are stacked against us while trying to get within bow range of our quarry - and on the animal's home turf no less!  It's not only a test of your hunting prowess, but I argue it can literally define who you are and what you are made of.  The anatomy of a bowhunter to me is made of more than just mile times and body fat percentage. In my humble opinion, it has a great deal more to do with “mindset”.  The off-season is the perfect time to begin strengthening not only or bodies, but our minds. So, let's take a closer look into the physical body and mental resolve of a well-rounded bowhunter.

Physical Hallmarks
Bowhunting boils down the earning a shot opportunity.  When this window quickly materializes you hope to execute with control and proper form.  It takes perfect practice to create muscle memory, or what I like to call "auto-pilot" mode.  Equipment selection plays a roll, but if you ask 10 bowhunters what their set-up looks like you're going to get 10 different scenarios.  Regardless of bow rig or accessories, all bows must be drawn, anchored, centered, and a smoothly released in order to maximize success.  However, the one piece of equipment that gets overlooked most often is a body that is ready to “do and perform”…..regardless of the hunting situation. 


A strong core is the foundation of good fitness that will pay big dividends in the backcountry. Even treestand hunters can benifit from the stability that comes with a strong mid-section.

A bowhunter's body is the vessel to navigate the places in which our prey calls home.  This could be backcountry or backyard, regardless, physical condition matters.  The anatomy of a bowhunter determines how long and alert one can stay in the field. The following physical hallmarks may decide how deep you go and how well you deal with bowhunting adversity this fall.

• Stamina - Exerting yourself and remaining active for a long period of time.  This can be related to your resiliency or durability throughout a tough hunt.
• Strength – The ability to produce force.  This can be related to pulling, hiking, climbing, posture, and moving external objects like your pack or dragging a harvested animal.
• Endurance – Your ability to resist fatigue over extended periods of time.  This can be related to your ability to withstand long consecutive days in the field in harsh conditions.
• Mobility – The absolute range of movement in a joint or series of joints.  This can be related to your quality of life and your quality of movements.
• Balance – Your ability to maintain the line of gravity of a body within the base of support.  This can be related to any ground you plan on hunting.



While everyone enjoys a good bench press or arm curl, in the mountains "legs" are king. The complete bowhunter should focus on all aspects of physical fitness and not just the most popular exercises or body parts.

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