Eating less on hunts?

Northpark

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Mar 8, 2015
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So I’m curious if anyone else finds themselves eating less while hunting than at home?

At home I tend to over eat. Find myself going to fridge for snacks even if I’m not hungry. It’s a daily struggle for me to stick with the right amounts of quality food.

While hunting I tend to eat less. All the posts on here have me convinced I need to carry 3000+ calories per day and I do. Then I find myself packing half of it back out. 3,000 calories at home no problem, 3000 calories while hunting not gonna happen. So curious if it might be a mental thing or maybe some sort of physiological change due to exertion or something. Thoughts?
 

Dexter Grayson

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Feb 13, 2017
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Kenai, Alaska
I’m usually 1800-2200cal per day when hunting. Yes I’m usually in a deficit but it’s enough to have good energy. And honestly I’m not sure I could eat more. I also have a problem with over eating at home, especially on the weekends.
 

Poser

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Dec 27, 2013
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Durango CO
Your body is telling you what it wants. If you’ve come to this same conclusion multiple times, cut your food down and go with it.
 

TL406

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Jan 12, 2021
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Central MT
I have to force myself to eat on a schedule, I just forget to eat because I’m focused on other stuff but it caused me to crash out so hard it was an actual problem once last year way deep in the backcountry so ya, now I stop what I’m doing, sit down and eat even if I don’t want to. And now I always bring more food than I need, it’s easier to carry a little extra weight with good energy levels than carry a little less weight completely depleted of calories. Doing this has improved my enjoyment of the experience and multi day energy level dramatically.
 

ShortMountain91

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Jun 7, 2018
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Tennessee
I have the same issue. Always packing out extra food. But I'd rather pack it around then run out back in there and need it.

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LandYacht

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Jan 25, 2014
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Frisco
I used to do the pack out of food game, but stopped after a few years of listening to my body.

The first week I’m not even breaking 1k calories a day. I don’t have a ton of weight to give up either.

My wife call it my starvation week because of how little food I end up eating. My mindset tells me that a hungry hunter has a lot more on the line than a content and fed one.


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OldGrayJB

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Feb 29, 2020
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327
Same for me. It probably has something to do with nerves/excitement, but my appetite is suppressed in the backcountry. I always pack about 3000 cal per day anyway. I'll use the extra if I decide to stay an extra day or two.
 

5MilesBack

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Feb 27, 2012
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Colorado Springs
There's a reason why I lose a pound a day on average while elk hunting. I start out at 6'6" and ~220lbs, and end up at ~200lbs by the time the season is over. It's kind of funny.......even at home I tend to eat just because it's time to eat rather than because I'm hungry. So while hunting, I'm rarely just sitting around at normal eating times.......so I end up skipping those meals. Get back to camp after dark near 9pm or so, and it's pretty much bed time for me. Not really hungry anyway, so I go to bed. I don't eat breakfast, so while hunting......lunch is my only meal generally. And I don't carry a lot of snacks. But after several days of that, I feel pretty good......better than I do at home.
 

LongWayAround

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Aug 10, 2015
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I have the same general experience of packing more food than I end up needing. However, I would rather carry some food back to the truck than run out when I want it. The same goes for water, running out sucks.

In the whole scheme of things, how much extra weight is it really? Maybe a couple of pounds? That's easy insurance for me to carry it. Not unlike carrying a rain jacket and puffy that you don't end up wearing.
 

Turkeygetpwnd38

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Aug 11, 2017
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Florida
I have to force myself to eat when in the backcountry If I don’t, I’ll end up crashing around day 4-5. I still only get around 2000-2500 calories in and that seems to be enough. It also seems it’s more about timing what I’m eating than the calories. If you aren’t crashing or having any negative affects from eating less, why pack in the extra weight?
 

zacattack

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Aug 23, 2018
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Michigan
So I’m curious if anyone else finds themselves eating less while hunting than at home?

At home I tend to over eat. Find myself going to fridge for snacks even if I’m not hungry. It’s a daily struggle for me to stick with the right amounts of quality food.

While hunting I tend to eat less. All the posts on here have me convinced I need to carry 3000+ calories per day and I do. Then I find myself packing half of it back out. 3,000 calories at home no problem, 3000 calories while hunting not gonna happen. So curious if it might be a mental thing or maybe some sort of physiological change due to exertion or something. Thoughts?
Loss of appetite is pretty common at higher altitudes.

You also maybe eating different things, back packing food is a lot different than what most people eat on a regular basis.
 

M-Wig

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May 8, 2018
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Location
Texas
Same way as a lot of posts above. I pack all types of food because hungry is one thing I don't like to be. Then I barely eat while I'm out.
 

ande7824

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Feb 3, 2018
Messages
32
Yep, same for me too. Even doing base camp type hunting I still find I have to force myself to eat for the first 5 or so days. Too much going on in my head I think. It definitely catches up to me though. I do get sluggish and start forcing myself to eat which usually gets me back into an eating routine.
 

Cameron.25

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Jan 26, 2021
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975
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Oregon
I usually feel the same, but even when not hunting i never eat much during the day and i eat a shitload at night. Works for me. I typically just eat a couple perfect bars or another high protien snack like cheese or jerky during the day while hunting and drink a ton of water with electrolytes, then can only seem to eat a freeze dried meal at night usually. If it was a really crazy day I'll eat 2 for dinner occasionally. I bring grass fed butter to add to the dinners usually too. Probably only 2000-2500 cal per day but i feel fine even for 2 or 3 weeks and i still end up with extra food i didn't eat usually. I typically lose a bit of body weight by the end of hunting season, some of that is definitely upper body muscle
 

MTMeatHunter

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Jan 1, 2022
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Location
Montana
Like a lot of you, I almost always lose weight on hunts. I hate stopping to make food, and a guy can only eat so many pro bars or perfect bars in a day. Side note, I’ve started carrying clif bloks and Gu energy gels as a supplement (not a replacement to real food). The same nutrition I use for training for long trail runs has proven valuable on hunts. If I start feeling low energy or low blood sugar on a big hike to get somewhere, I’ll pop one of those and feel great five minutes later.
 

AZSTM44

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Jan 12, 2022
Messages
10
I usually skip eating when I'm out in the woods and then make up for it with a large meal when I get back. As far as I'm concerned, the amount of calories you need in a day can be split up into multiple meals or through one big meal, makes no difference.
 

Moserkr

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Feb 26, 2020
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Mountains of CA
Guess Im in the minority. I usually dont miss a meal or snack in the backcountry, ever. When I pushing hard, especially during a pack out, I usually snack even harder or I hit a wall. When I need a boost to keep going its dried fruit for a quick boost, nuts and meat to sustain energy. I pack around 2000-2500 calories and rarely come home with any left. Still lose weight on every hunt but I do have a few to lose.

I do subscribe to the hunt hungry philosophy. Im not superstitious, but one hunt I forgot to pack my last nights dinner. Shot my first archery buck on day 1 of the hunt, had loin and back strap instead. Ever since then I purposely leave last nights dinner behind. I usually have a few snacks left, same with my hunting buddies if they are with me, in case we dont fill a tag which is pretty common. Freezer hasnt been too empty, but I swear opportunities have gone up.
 

Moserkr

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Feb 26, 2020
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Mountains of CA
Curious, do you guys not eating as much drink a lot of water? Im downing a minimum of 1.5 gallons a day including water for meals. I like hot breakfasts, coffee, and dinner.

Imagining how much weight I could cut if I didnt eat or drink as much lol.
 
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