Bowhunting: A Safe and Healthy Sport
Did you know hunting is safer than golf, tennis, football, baseball and even ping-pong?
It’s true! According to a National Safety Council report, hunting is 14 times safer than golf and 293 times safer than football. Writer Candice Davis cited the NSC report in her “Discover Nature” blog. The NSC compiled those numbers by tracking the nation’s recreational injuries requiring emergency-room treatment. Football and baseball generated the most injuries, followed by soccer, bicycling, skateboarding, horseback riding, tennis, golf, swimming, badminton and … eventually … hunting.
You might wonder how activities requiring a weapon, such as a gun or bow and arrow, can be safer than other sports. The answer is easy: education and prevention.
Most state wildlife agencies require people to complete a hunter-education course before obtaining a hunting license or permit. Hunter-education courses teach students about safety, ethics, game laws, hunting equipment, wildlife conservation and more. Knowledgeable instructors follow the course curriculum and answer any question students ask.
This strategy ensures hunters learn the skills and knowledge to safely enjoy the woods while wielding firearms and archery gear.
Bowhunting also improves your physical and mental health through exercise that builds muscle and strengthens your cardiovascular system. Climbing hills, carrying treestands and packing animals from the woods improve your lungs, heart and circulatory system. Further, drawing a bow and regularly shooting strengthens your arms, core, hands, chest and shoulders. Prevention magazine says drawing a bow burns about 140 calories per half-hour, the same as walking a brisk 3.5-mph pace.
Diet is also vital to your health. Bowhunting provides healthy nutrition because venison is an organic, low-fat, high-protein wild-game meat that’s healthier than beef. A 3-ounce chunk of beef has 247 calories and 15 grams of fat, while an equal portion of venison has 134 calories and 3 grams of fat, according to Wide Open Spaces.
Bowhunting offers mental-health benefits, too. A World Archery article said shooting a bow and arrow forces people to slow down, concentrate on their technique, and take a break from life’s everyday hustle and bustle.
Archery practice also boosts mental toughness because archers must learn discipline, responsibility and self-control. Meanwhile, bowhunts help relieve stress and tension.
In fact, just being outdoors regularly can decrease depression, and improve your mood and self-esteem, according to a 2010 study in “Environmental Health and Preventative Medicine.” The study discusses shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing,” which means immersing yourself in nature. You can learn more about that concept and its benefits here.
If you want to try a safe, healthy activity, go bowhunting. Visit an archery store to gear up and get started. While you’re there, ask about mentor programs, hunter-education courses, and introductory bowhunting classes. Don’t be shy to say you’re a beginner, and that you appreciate tips and guidance. Most bowhunters eagerly help newcomers shorten their path to success.