When you think of hunting gear, an often overlooked but vitally important item on your checklist should be boots. Of course, all hunters have it, but sometimes it is not given enough importance.
A good pair of hunting boots is as important as the bow you shoot or the ammunition you use. But in reality, a pair is not enough.
A prepared hunter will have a few pairs. For deer hunting here in the Midwest for example, scent-free knee-length boots are the norm. Make sure they are of an ankle-hugging design for optimal comfort and mobility. If you’re a multi-season deer hunter, you also know that depending on whether you’re hunting with a bow in October or a muzzleloader in late December, temperatures can vary widely. For this reason, a pair will not cut it. I use LaCrosse Footwear’s AlphaBurly or AeroHead boots for all my deer hunts and have them in pairs ranging from non-insulated to heavily insulated to make sure I’m covered no matter what the weather. My uninsulated pair also serve me very well during the spring turkey season.
When hunting highland birds or hunting elk in the mountains, for example, a different type of boot is needed. The amount of walking or rough terrain requires more of a hiking type boot.
When I hunt elk in the Colorado Rockies, I choose Danner boots for my son and I. Danner offers a superb range of boots perfectly suited for long, perilous mountain hikes, while keeping your feet comfortable and healthy. This is so important, because I have seen many hunts ruined by inferior boots.
Believe me, you might think you’ve got a broken pair of boots, but until you’ve been crossing the mountains for a week, you never really do. The constant gear changes, climbs and descents will let you know very quickly if the boots you are wearing are cutting the mustard. And believe me, coming down from the mountain is no easier than climbing it.
If you’re a multi-season or multi-species hunter, having a pair of hunting boots to try and cover all your hunting efforts just doesn’t make sense – and it can even be painful. Treat yourself – and your feet – and have enough pairs to adequately cover the temperatures and terrain you find yourself in.
Don’t buy cheap boots! There are some things you can skimp on, but your boots should never be one of them. The better you take care of your feet, the better you’ll be a hunter, period. Keeping your feet dry, warm, comfortable, and injury-free will do more to improve your hunt than anything else you do, so protect them!