He Quit on the Mountain

There’s only three more days to save $150 when you join the online MTNTOUGH Backcountry Hunter All Access Program and I wanted to send one final article out about one of the hunting statistics that really interests me.

Only about 10% of Western Elk Hunters are successful each year.

And when you look specifically at those that kill mature bulls on public land with OTC tags… the number drops to around 3%.

If you ask people about the data, some will say it’s about “finding the right spots.”

Others will say it’s about how many days they hunt in the field.

Still others will point to skills like calling or shooting longer distances…

Of course these are all important factors and certainly some luck plays a role...

But I believe it’s something else all together.  

Something I don’t see many people talking about.

What is it that separates the 10% of successful hunters from the other 90%?

The “Quit Moment”

We’ve all been there, on the side of a mountain, mentally exhausted.  

Tired.  Cold. Hurting.  Hungry. Thirsty.  Beat down.

I call it the Quit Moment.

Most guys don’t talk much about it.

It’s that moment when thoughts start creeping in.  Thoughts of home. The kids. Work. A warm bed. Good food.  Reasons to leave.

Do I push deeper until I find elk?  Can I really put in another day of this?  Is this safe?

Before they know it, the decision’s already been made...

And they find themselves back home. 

The hunt is over. 

At first it felt good.  

Then a few days later, the regret sets in and starts to eat at them.

The “what ifs” run through in their minds. 

What if I had just stayed one more day?  What if that bull was just over the next ridge?  What if I would have worked harder? 

It’s never about the fact that they came home empty handed.  Any day spent hunting in the wild is better than most.

The regret is more about knowing they could have given it more.  That the mountain won. That they gave up. That their family knows how much this hunt meant to them only to see them come home unsuccessful. 

The truth is: during that Quit Moment, most people give up.

Regardless of where they’re hunting.  Or how far they can shoot. 

It’s about something else entirely.

So - what’s the difference?

The Difference Between A Consistently Successful Hunter and the Other 90%

After a lifetime of backcountry hunting and training other hunters, I believe the thing that separates the 10% from the rest is not what most people focus on during the year.

Don’t get me wrong, the right gear is vital.

Scouting and knowing the right locations is a game changer.

Being a good shot is critical.

But at the end of the day, every incredible hunting story I’ve heard of or been a part of, has a Quit Moment right in the middle.  

Whether it was some wicked storm that blew in.  Or we ran out of water. Or we got cliffed out or stuck in some blow down.

Most great hunting stories have a moment when things get really bad on the mountain.

It’s the moment we all get tested, both mentally and physically. 

The difference is this: the guys that are successful, they push through that Quit Moment, keep going… and usually end up with success at the end of the story.

The other 90% stop.  They go home. They can’t get through that moment.  And their story ends right there.

And I believe it comes down to one thing: Mental toughness.

Ever since I was young, I noticed certain people had it… and others didn’t.

The ability to be persevere.

To never quit.

To push themselves mentally and physically beyond what most humans are capable of.

And most of the consistently successful backcountry hunters that I’ve met and learned from, they have it too.

That’s why they can make it 7-10 days on the mountain barely seeing an animal.  Hike 10 miles a day with a heavy pack on. Climb 1,000s of feet of elevation day after day.  

Survive whatever nature throws at them.  The harshest temperatures. Wicked snow. Frigid cold. 

And most importantly, that’s why they can push through the Quit Moment.

I believe Mental Toughness is what separates the successful backcountry hunters from the ones that get crushed by the mountain.

Consistently successful public land backcountry hunters are just plain mentally tough.

They have something most guys don’t.

But the cool thing is: getting it is no secret… it comes down to hard work. You have to earn it. 

Take one of our MTNTOUGH athletes Jordan, for example.

175 Miles of Backcountry Hunting

I first met Jordan in 2016 and he’d been beaten half to death by autoimmune disease.  

He was still recovering and needed to gain a lot of strength and endurance to make it in the mountains… but most of all, years of Doctors telling him he was “sick with a lifelong disease” stole his mental toughness.

From the Midwest, he dreamed of hunting elk in the backcountry of Montana but his body and mind needed a complete overhaul.

He was a family man who owned his own business… and didn’t have a lot of time.  

But with balanced backcountry training and a focus on mental toughness, he pushed through many Quit Moments last year, hiking over 175 miles throughout the season hunting Elk in Montana, finally harvesting a 6X6 bull solo during the last few moments of the archery season.

Years ago, this idea of Mental Toughness profoundly impacted me.

That’s why at MTNTOUGH, we are dedicated to finding out why some people have it and others don’t, and how to help people get it.
And the most important question to ask is this: when hunting season starts, will you be ready?

When that Quit Moment comes… and it will come, how do you want your story to end?

Imagine you push through it (when before you would’ve bailed off the mountain).

You’ll be well on your way to being part of the 10% that are successful, year after year. 
This fall, we want you to crush the mountains and be part of the 10%.

We want you to push through those Quit Moments knowing you have what it takes to keep going.

We want you to be unbeatable mentally and we know the MTNTOUGH Backcountry Hunter All Access Program can help.

Here’s what some MTNTOUGH Members had to say:
“I joined MTNTOUGH to get in shape for last elk season, but I quickly realized the benefits of MTNTOUGH would go far beyond preparation for mountain hunting. The workouts regularly push me past the point of what I think I’m capable of. A lot of factors contribute to the success (or failure) of a hunting season, but thanks to MTNTOUGH, physical conditioning is one factor I no longer have to worry about when I leave the truck.” 
- Ethan Cote

“Prior to starting the MTNTOUGH Backcountry Hunter Program, I was a mess. I won’t hit on all the deets, but I was on a path to nowhere fast regarding a healthy me. I weighed in at 212lbs before I started, a full 6 weeks ago. I hadn’t been at that weight since my college football days (I can assure you I was much more effective at that weight back then, 10 years ago). Half way through now, I’m a much leaner 195lb machine. I feel so much better. I function much better mentally, physically, and emotionally. I feel so much more plugged into life than I did before. Stoked for the rest of this experience with such great mentors, training partners, and friends.”
- Ted Wells

“MTNTOUGH is intense functional fitness. It allows me to perform at a high level and do what I love in the mountains.” 
- Ali Knapp

"Literally, every workout has increased my confidence and I've never felt better in the mountains. Whether it's trail running or bow hunting it pays to be MTNTOUGH." 
- Weston Paul

“MTNTOUGH is what I have been chasing for years. Every workout is an opportunity to explore your own mental and physical limitations alongside a group of like-minded individuals." 
- Dylan White

“I have no doubt it will pay off in November when I'm hiking up a mountain and questioning whether I should keep going higher and farther -- I know my mind and body will be better prepared to answer, "Hell, yes, keep going.” 
- Matt Skoglund

“Now I have the confidence entering the upcoming hunting season in fantastic mental and physical shape BECAUSE of this program. I am looking forward to applying it to my hunts.” 
- Bridger Miller

“The the pain is worth it and there is no better way to get in shape prior to hunting season, especially in a 3 month period.” 
- Jason Mears

“The one year I decided I wanted to lift heavy and set some big numbers in traditional power lifting,  I found I was the worst in the mountains. My lungs were good but my muscular endurance and functional strength seemed to lack

This program makes me get more mentally prepared for the workout because I know it’s going to be a grind every time. What helps the most for me is knowing there are other people out there slugging it out everyday too. Competition breeds success and it keeps you accountable for doing the workouts everyday." 

- Darren Cropley

“I used to focus on either strength or cardio, without a good balance. Flexibility and agility have also received back-burner status.

The most impact received was from the MTNTOUGH program was not focusing on one muscle group or area at one time. Approaching the training in a more methodical way provided (incorporating multiple muscle groups at once) helped maximize gains, and improve overall stability and recovery time.

If you want to be challenged, be pushed farther than you ever expected your body and mind to go in a short time, give MTNTOUGH a small part of your day.”  
- Derek Burns

“I have incorporated the MTNTOUGH program into my existing schedule.  The cardio intense workouts have been most beneficial to me. Living in west Tennessee, there are no mountains so getting conditioned for backpack mountain hunts is difficult.  I have particularly liked, and used more often than prescribed in the program, the 22s as a morning cardio routine. My weightlifting has been solid, but MTNTOUGH showed me I was lacking a bit on the conditioning side of things.  Can't wait to see how this translates on my upcoming hunts.

Before the program my cardio conditioning was not bad, but now its at another level. 

I would definitely recommend to other hunters, even those I would consider already at an elite level (like the guides)!  I look forward to giving you feedback after this goat hunt. I think I'm going to be noticeably more comfortable climbing with a heavy pack thanks to MTNTOUGH. 

- Jason Weaver

“This program has really changed how I look at my training.  It is about more than hunting now. It has made me realize what I am physically capable of, and how to mentally push through any struggle.  It has positively impacted my entire life. 

I have always had a weak core, which lead to a lot of lower back strains and injuries.  I will be honest, that issue is totally gone at the moment. I feel strong. I don't bend over to pick something up and think about how I am going to do it.  I just do it. I know this will help me tremendously in the mountains!” 

- Kelly McGraw
The $150 off discount for the Backcountry Hunter All Access closes FRIDAY at 11:59pm. Our best price offered on 12 months of daily training!

Click here to join and start training for your phone today!

Hope to see you inside,

Dustin Diefenderfer