Cameron Hanes Joins Team Realtree

Cameron Hanes Joins Team Realtree

Posted 2008-11-07T15:40:00Z  by  Stephanie Mallory

Cameron Hanes Joins Team Realtree

When preparing for bow season during the summer months, most people tune their bows, shoot them a couple times a week and mend and pack all of their essential gear for opening day. But, if you're Realtree's newest Pro staffer Cameron Hanes, you're not like most people. In fact, if you're Hanes, you're running every day, shooting your bow numerous times daily and participating in 50-mile ultra marathons through the mountains. For this reason, many of you are probably thinking, Thank God I'm not Cameron Hanes. But for this top athlete and extremely successful bowhunter, all of the hard work has paid off.

The sport of bowhunting is so tough and the success rates are so low, that I want to do everything that I can to prepare for the hunt, said Hanes. I want to push my body to the limits. My training gives me the confidence I need to never give up even when the hunting gets extremely tough.

And the hunting did get extremely tough during a recent 12-day Alaskan Dall sheep hunt, so grueling that even Hanes questioned his resolve. The hunt began late in the season on October 1, not an optimal time for hunting these elusive creatures. A deep layer of snow covered the ground making the already treacherous terrain, with its steep cliffs and narrow pathways, that much more difficult to navigate. Always prepared, the extreme athlete wore crampons and carried an ice ax to aid his efforts. Hanes knew that by October the sheep had already been hunted hard and were wound up. Under such conditions, his chance for getting a ram was minimal—perhaps as low as 1 percent. But this knowledge didn't stop him. In fact, he went into the hunt just like he does everything else, with the attitude that quitting was not an option and that he would succeed.

Dall sheep are remarkably tough animals to hunt. They can spot a human from half a mile away, and once they do, they head up the cliffs where no man can follow. You must somehow remain hidden in the wide-open terrain while you move into bow range—an almost impossible task.

Hanes hunted a big group of 10 rams and claims nothing got by them. With so many eyes scanning the terrain, he knew that the odds were stacked against him. Hanes began to lose hope until he spotted a lone ram. When the ram walked around a finger ridge and bedded down by himself, Hanes made his move. He got downwind of the sheep and took his time carefully closing the gap before making his kill.

The sheep hunt is just one of many challenging hunts that Hanes has or will partake in this season. Since the middle of August, he's spent extensive time in the field completing eight bowhunts.

My goal was perfection, but I ended up succeeding on seven out of eight hunts. I took an elk, caribou and several deer all with a bow. I wasn't perfect, so I have room to improve, but I had an awesome time.

In his quest for perfection, Hanes has made quite a name for himself in the bowhunting world. In addition to successfully harvesting animals in the most extreme conditions, he's living a lifelong dream as the editor of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal and hunting editor of Eastmans' Hunting Journal. He's recently released a new book, Backcountry Bowhunting, A Guide to the Wild Side as a follow-up to his bestselling book, Bowhunting Trophy Blacktail. He's also the host of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation's TV show, Elk Chronicles, which airs on Outdoor Channel.

When asked about his successes, Hanes says if it weren't for bowhunting, who knows what path his life may have taken.

I wasn't that great at anything. I didn't come from money. My dad didn't hunt. I had everything going against me. No one believed in me.

He gravitated toward bowhunting because of the challenge. When he killed his first bull elk during his first year of bowhunting, he finally felt he had found something that had been missing. He had accomplished something few others had.

Bowhunting gave me hope.

Despite his successes, people continued to write Hanes off, claiming that he'd gotten lucky. And when he first began writing, people told him that he would never make it. But, after years of struggling, he proved them wrong by securing the job as the editor of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.

Someone believed in me, and gave me a forum to write from my heart and tell my story. I have found some success against all odds, and if I can do it, anyone can. I am an average guy, but through hard work and a love for challenge, I have earned a chance with companies like Realtree. I am just like every other guy that has a bow and dream. I am nothing special. I try to help the next generation, which is why I gave the bow I killed my biggest elk with to a youngster at a recent seminar I conducted. My goal is to help grow the sport of archery one person at a time. I want guys to know I believe in them, and they can do anything they want in bowhunting and in life. I know this because bowhunting has changed my life.

Editor's Note: Realtree is proud to welcome Cameron Hanes to the Team. You will see him sporting Realtree and Advantage camo across the country, doing what he loves best—bowhunting. Stay tuned for more information about what Cameron will be doing on