Most people see running a marathon of 26.2 miles as a serious challenge that takes months of preparation. Cameron Hanes prefers to run 100-mile long ultra-marathons.
The professional hunter, who brings his talents to the small screen on Outdoor Channel's "NRA All Access presented by Franchi," spoke to FOX411 how he went from a small town boy to one of the world's greatest bow hunters.
FOX411: 100 miles! Do you ever feel like giving up?
Cam Hanes: Giving up is easy and that's why people do it. When you have big goals and big dreams it's hard work to achieve them and you're going to get knocked down and it's going to hurt but you have to keep going. My buddy who was my best friend in high school he just said to me…"Remember how hard we used to train, but you never quit." I'm not talented, I'm not anything special but I've never quit and I keep pushing. I just have never quit.
FOX411: You grew up in a small town and said not everyone was supportive of your goals?
Hanes: Anytime you're trying to do something different like what I do, you're going to get some pushback. Growing up, I would always say I wanted to be an outdoor writer. Looking back now, I guess a lot of people probably thought, "Who is this guy who thinks he's someone special where he can be some famous writer?" I just wasn't getting a lot of support for chasing my dreams.
FOX411: Instead of writing you turned to bowhunting and that changed your life?
Hanes: It started in high school and college, I didn't really have a lot going on and I needed an outlet for my energy and I found bowhunting and became enamored with it. I like the challenge -- the challenge is immense trying to get without bow range of an animal and then to bring it down with essentially a sharp stick. So that test is what really drew me to bowhunting and as a lifestyle it gave my life direction when I didn't have any.
FOX411: You aren't the typical hunter. You see hunting as a sport and say you want to change the way people see hunters.
Hanes: What I think people who don't hunt think about hunters is inaccurate. They think of someone who just load up their trucks and get some beer and maybe shoot at animals with no regard. That's not accurate. In reality, we care about the animals we hunt and love the country that the animals live in. I prepare for the hunt like a professional athlete prepares. If I'm going to kill the animal, I need to be my best and I want it to be an ethical kill. It's a big deal to take the life of an animal and it's not like going and buying a steak at the grocery store. To me, there's so much reverence in that moment -- there's a life at stake and if I'm not the best, I'm not honoring that life.
FOX411: You hunt with country singers like Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan. Tell us the truth, are they any good?
Hanes: They're good at playing music...no, they are good hunters. You can’t rank people as good or bad hunters. For instance, bowhunting success rates are 10 percent for elk. Basically, that translates to 1 out of 10 hunters are harvesting elk every year. Non-hunters might be surprised to learn of such a stat because they probably think what we do is like shooting fish in a barrel. It’s not. For Luke and Jason, it would be hard for them to match the success they have in country music with hunting. What’s important is that both of them are good people that aren’t afraid to openly celebrate the hunting lifestyle. They don’t shy away from it – despite the fact that it’s sometimes viewed as controversial.
FOX411: You're the only hunter to be an Under Armour athlete.
Hanes: I think I am Under Armour's longest tenured athlete...and what they know is that the passion that goes into hunting and they think I emulate that passion daily and give the inspiration to hard. Being your best when conditions are worse. It's easy for a football player to go out there with cheering fans in the stadiums but when you go into the mountains you don't have anyone. My whole thing is if you're not doing something positive with your life, what's the point?
Watch Cam Hanes on "NRA All Access" on Outdoor Channel March 23.
You can find Sasha Savitsky on Twitter @SashaFB.