Backcountry bowhunter and ultra-marathon runner Cam Hanes sits down with Bert Sorin, talking about everything from Cam's childhood to how he got to where he is today, and why he has partnered with Sorinex Exercise Equipment for his new home gym and become a Sorinex Sponsored Athlete.
Hanes: I’m a Bowhunter, grew up in small town Oregon. Ever since my first bow kill (a bull) in 1998 I’ve been infatuated with the tradition of archery and with the journey to become the best bowhunter I can be, learn about animals, experience the country, just to take it all in and trying to get to the highest level I can as a hunter, which is what brought me into the Sorinex fold. I lifted with Coach feld at the University of Oregon and it matched my lifestyle of trying to be at the pinnacle of what I do and training with the best equipment just makes sense. I am a bowhunter, a runner, a lifter, and a worker.
Bert: Not many people from the hunting world have a regular job, why did you make that choice?
Hanes: I work for the local water and power company. I don’t think I really made a choice it’s just what I do, I’m a worker. I’ve always worked really hard because I’ve never really felt like I had a ton of natural skill or talent so it would feel unnatural to me not to have a real job, I feel like that’s reserved for someone thats a star, and I don’t think I got that so I grind it out. I grind it out at training and I grind it out at work.
Bert: How did your childhood shape who you are today?
Hanes: My childhood sucked. Divorced parents, alcoholic dad and all that. It was hard, but I don’t wish I had a better childhood because it has made me who I am. People have struggles and those struggles can define who you are, it’s just part of the journey. I also know what I don’t want my kids to go through, so it made me a better parent.
Bert: What’s the daily routine look like for you?
Hanes: If I’m comfortable it doesn’t feel right. I want to feel like I’ve put in some work today. Today was a perfect day for me; got up and ran a bunch a miles, had a big day at work, lifted some weights, shot a few arrows.
Bert: Where did the phrase “Keep Hammering” come from?
Hanes: There’s a famous bowhunter named Bobby Fromme who owns a proshop in San diego called Performance Archery, he’s killed all 29 big game animals in north america, just a total stud. He used to call me Cam the Hammer, then a gym I trained at here in town called Forever Strong put Keep Hammerin on a t-shirt with my name on it for me. Keep Hammering just means don’t give up, don’t quit, keep going.
Bert: How has failure motivated you?
Hanes: It’s really hard for me to deal with failing. I remember every bull I’ve killed, but I remember in even more excruciating detail every failure, every missed bull, every missed opportunity. When I was younger and I failed, I would think ok I just need to ramp it up or work harder here. Now when I fail I know I couldn’t have done more, so if I fail it’s just because bowhunting is really hard, but I know I’ve given it all I got. I can’t take failing, so now I don’t.
Bert: What’s the relationship between long distance running and hunting, and how did you marry these two?
Hanes: It’s the endurance aspect and also the discipline. The success rate is 10%. You might luck out once, or you might get average which is a bull every 10 years, but you’re not going to get lucky all 10 years. So if you’re going to get it done, you got to be married to the game.
Bert: How has bowhunting shaped you as a person?
Hanes: Bowhunting has defined me. Nobody would know who I was if it wasn’t for bowhunting. When I was younger I was working during the week, drinking with my buddies on the weekend, I was very average. Bowhunting gave me something to focus my energy on. When I have something to focus my energy on I get going in a positive way and that's why I’m here. Bowhunting is the key to everything.
Bert: What has the journey to the top of the hunting world been like?
Hanes: It’s a struggle, it’s hard, its very competitive, very cut throat. People are going to find ways to shoot you down because they want to be up. Since I’ve been doing it for so long I kind of get it a little but, but I’m still not immune to reading stupid comments and getting irritated. The journey has been up and down. The passion has always been there but sometimes you wonder ‘is this worth it?’ Is it worth it to be judged on every single thing you do? On the flip side I have gotten a lot of positive attention for what I do, and that has helped shape me because it gave me confidence and once you have confidence you work hard and once you work hard you have success.
Bert: Why do you put lifting in your schedule?
Hanes: It’s mostly just another way to be disciplined in my life. “Strength is never a weakness” as the saying goes and discipline is never a weakness. I’ve never heard anybody say ‘Ah I’m just too strong.’ Helps with carrying bears, too.
Bert: What does your lifting routine look like now?
Hanes: Endurance and reps. Usually a circuit. Getting that burn and keep going. People try and over think it, they ask me what I do and I say just put some weight on something, and do it a lot. Do it until you can’t do it and then do it more.
Bert: How is having this new equipment and having an Apex rack at home going to change your training?
Hanes: It’s going to make me that much better because it’s so convenient. I’m super busy because of the regular job, with trying to run what I do, with trying to put content on social media. I figure if I can save 15 minutes driving to the gym and 15 minute driving back, that’s a half hour, that’s a pretty good workout. My normal workout is about 45 minutes so 30 minutes on top of that is now an hour and 15 minute workout. And this equipment is just so high quality and there’s so many variations and the different moves you can do with this equipment. It takes up a small area but there’s 500 different moves I can do with this, it’s so versatile. I’m really excited about how this is going to let me raise my game. Also having a hanging carrot in front of my face with my kills on the wall keeps my head in the game. This is really like a dream come true for me. Sometimes I wonder do I deserve this because it feels surreal to me. But I’m here, I’m going to try and honor it and try and prove myself.