Weekend At Bradley’s
BARNEVELD, NY– Growing up in the Adirondacks, Will Bradley developed a deep love for the outdoors. But something was missing. When the leaves changed in the fall, Bradley needed something to kill the seasonal boredom he found himself in year after year. He decided to become a hunter.
Bradley bought some tree stands and a rifle and took to the woods. He hung the tree stands where he had seen deer before on hikes, and on the last day of the season, he took his first deer. It was a small four-point buck–he was addicted.
“For me, hunting wasn’t a choice. I think for some of us it’s just something we were just born to do. It’s just in us. It’s innate,” Bradley said.
Bradley says he began chasing the hunter’s high; constantly looking for a new challenge to test his mettle in the woods. He began hunting upland game birds like grouse and woodcock, and took up archery to pursue whitetail deer with a bow and arrow.
As he pushed himself, he said he became more aware of his physical weaknesses. One day while carrying a tree stand up a hill, Bradley realized he needed to get in shape.
He began training in CrossFit, and decided to enter a competition called “Train to Hunt.” Bradley describes Train to Hunt as a obstacle course-style race that also incorporates carrying a heavy load in a backpack and shooting archery targets. He came in second in place his first competition. He also became friends with the man who beat him, Phil Mendoza. Together they started the Natural Born Hunter podcast. The podcast covers fitness and hunting, two of Bradley’s greatest passions.
Bradley says that to be happy, a person must be willing to risk it all. The slogan of the podcast is “Wake up. Chase dreams. Repeat.” He continues to chase his dreams of working in the outdoor industry, working on a film series with Dangerous Cow Adventure Films called Project Upland, building the Natural Born Hunter brand, as well as his latest venture, Iron Wolf Athletics.
Iron Wolf Athletics is a brand Bradley created to unite the community of hunters who also have a passion for fitness, regardless of the disciplines they practice. Whether it’s CrossFit, powerlifting, bodybuilding or strongman, he says the things these hunters share should allow them to come together to help each other grow as hunters and athletes.
Bradley lives what he preaches, stretching himself in the gym and in the woods. He is constantly pushing his skills and fitness to extremes. Even when time is tight, Bradley says he always finds enjoyment in the woods.
“To me, there’s no perfect day in the woods. You just gotta be open to the experience of being in the woods. To me, that’s perfect,” Bradley said.
Video: Flight of the Grouse
Historically, upland bird hunters hunt for birds like grouse and woodcock over the back of a hunting dog. For many people who enjoy bird hunting, but are not afforded the opportunity to hunt with a dog, the hunter must become the dog–identifying favorable habitat and "beating brush"–to flush the birds themselves.