Chronic diseases are defined as, “…conditions that last 1 year or more and require ongoing medical attention or limit activities of daily living or both.” Hunting with one is immensely difficult. On a good day, life is good, you feel like you can be out in the field all day long. On a bad day, you might be lucky to get out of bed without any symptoms. I have my fair share of struggles with chronic disease. Being a woman with Endometriosis while loving being outdoors has brought many, many challenges.
In this post, I want to give YOU the insight you will need to hunt if you also struggle with chronic disease.
Hunting is a sport that requires a lot of time in the field, moving around, and oftentimes sitting still for extended periods. Having to work through chronic disease symptoms while bundled up in a layout blind is not ideal. With that, if you love to hunt and you struggle with any form of chronic disease, here are three things you need to prioritize to help set yourself up for a successful hunt.
You need to communicate clearly with your people regarding the symptoms you are having, or symptoms that may arise randomly.
Your friends and family love you. Be honest about what your body is going through while you're hunting. I have seen a significant difference in how people treat me once they know what I struggle with. What started off looking like I was just “crampy” or “PMSing,” now is understood as inflammation, extreme fatigue, migraines, painful joints, and more. I communicate what I need that day, and make adjustments to my hunt accordingly.
Pack extra water and HEALTHY food.
We all know by now that food is fuel and it will either help you feel better or could make your symptoms worse. Fruits, jerky sticks, protein shakes, and yogurts are my personal go-to's. I also carry electrolytes from either 1stPhorm or LMNT Salt Packets. That way, I am keeping electrolytes where they need to be even on the hottest days. Nutrition is vital. I know it's easier to grab the Little Debbie Snacks at the gas station, but you'll thank me if you grab fruit and a protein shake instead.
Break your hunts up a little more, depending on your energy levels.
If your friends are pulling all-day hunts and you can't keep up, that's okay. Take a break after your morning hunt and go back out after a nap. There is NOTHING wrong with giving your body the grace that it needs to function correctly. If you struggle with any kind of illness or disease, your body is already working against you, don't try to be a tough guy and “push through it.” It's 2023, and the “Boss Babe” and “Go Hard or Go Home” mentality is no longer trending. Honor your body. Take advantage of the good days, and rest a little extra on the difficult ones.
Don't let your physical ailments and chronic diseases be the reason you stop doing what you love! Get outside, make the very best of your time outside, scout when you can, and ask for help when you need it. Pronghorn season is almost here folks! Let's make the very best of it. Happy hunting!