What to eat when hunting
Hunting is a very demanding physical activity consuming lots of calories, especially on cold weather and though terrain. A hunter's calories expenditure is very high, nothing surprising considering the need of long hikes, stuff carriage and physical effort to recover and field dress your game, particularly big ones.
In fact a wild sheep hunter may need as much as 8.000 calories per day while deer hunters usually need among 4.000 and 6.000 calories to keep moving.
With the above in mind, there are no doubts about nutrition importance for hunters. Food is a hunter's fuel and if nutrition is not good, physical and mental exhaustion will show sooner than one might think.
But deciding what to eat during a hunting trail is not a matter of personal preferences but of needs. On this regard what a hunter eats will depend of caloric intake needs, bodyweight, weather, time of the day and a lot of many other variables.
However and in order to provide a quick guide about the most important nutrition facts while hunting every hunter may follow the next guidelines:
Hunters' food must be easy to carry on and eat. It would not be convenient to walk around on the mountains with a backpack full of fresh food requiring to be cooked before eating while you are on a hunting trail; instead high calories, processed foods may be an option, especially for day snacks which need to be quick but providing good nutritional support.
But a hunter can't live only of granola bars, so canned food is also a good option if you know what to include on your pack.
Keep in mind that carbs are brain fuel and the main source of energy for your body, thus you need to count with enough bread, crackers or cookies to face a hunting trail, however carbs provide a fast-burning caloric load and you will need to include additional nutrients to achieve a good, healthy nutrition when hunting.
That's when proteins and fats begin to play their roles. Fats provide an enormous source of energy on relatively small portions; in addition fats tend to be slown burned and give your body a long lasting energy load.
So if you don't wish to be hungry every half an hour remember to include fats on your diet, that will help to reload your energy deposits up enough to deal with physical demands without the need of eating each hour.
It's important to mention that fats on a hunter's diet won't increase his weight! People gain weight when high fats food is combined with a sedentary lifestyle, but when you are hiking and climbing, going up and down through creeks and forrest, fats will not increase your weight but will keep you moving.
However not all fats are recommended, in fact trans-fats must be avoided, no matters how much energy you may gain from them, these fats deleterious effects on health are big enough to keep them out of your diet.
Instead vegetal fats, especially polyunsaturated will be an excellent source of energy without negative effects on your health. During cold winter days caloric intake must be increased with fats in order to provide your body with enough fuel to keep temperature stable.
Proteins are also crucial, but time to include them on your diet is critical. Usually proteins are hard to process by your body and tend to slow your bodily activity, thus it's not a good idea to have proteins in the middle of the hunt.
Instead at the end of the day, once you have settled down on your camp or at home, proteins will give you a good energy boost as well the required amino acids to recover your body for the next day. That's particular important for several days hunts.
Finally remember to drink enough water. Dehydration is hunters enemy, particularly during cold weather because it's harder to feel thirsty, thus keep in mind to drink enough water along the day in order to keep your system moving without disturbs.
Now, what food will you pack for your next hunting trail?