Answering the When, Where and Why
What are You Using them For?
What Time of Year Will You Be Hunting?
As much as we’d like to have one boot to get us through the entire hunting season, that’s just not the case. There will come a time when you have to swap out your warm weather boots for ones with insulation to get you through the cold days in the woods. Wearing heavily insulated boots in the early season can be miserable. And we all know the misery that comes with cold feet in the winter months. You need to answer the question of when you plan to use the boots before you buy them. And as much as you’d like to get multi-season use out of your boots, don’t stretch it. Be sure to buy exactly what you need for the season – and weather – you’ll be hunting. The boots you’ll wear for a September elk hunt out west won’t be the same boots you’ll wear while sitting in a late-season treestand in Wisconsin.
What Type of Terrain Will You Be Hunting?
As mentioned previously, swamp boots and mountain boots don’t mix. Don’t skimp here. The right boots for the right terrain is a must. What type of terrain will you be moving around in? What kind of load will you be hauling on your back? The bigger the load on your back, the more support you’ll want for your ankles. If you’ve got horses carrying the load for you, you can get away with a more comfortable/less stiff boot.
Good friend, Jeremy Scotton, of LaCrosse says, “A DIY backcountry elk hunt would get a different boot recommendation than a guided pack-in hunt or hunting out of a lodge. The key is to be really specific on what you’ll be using the boots for before you buy.”
Early season morning hunts in the east can often mean moisture on the ground for your walk in. If you don’t have waterproof boots, your feet will be soaked in a hurry. Tall rubber knee boots are a great option to keep you high and dry. The terrain you’ll be hunting should impact your decision on what boots you need.
Hunting Snake Country?
I’ve had a handful of way-too-close snake encounters over the years, including two rattlesnake encounters at my feet in recent years. I’ve grown to love a good pair of snake boots when hunting in areas where the snakes tend to hang out. Snake boots are like insurance. You’ll never truly appreciate them until you really need them. They provide peace of mind when tromping around in sketchy snake country in the low-light hours before and after your hunt. You won’t often see people across the midwest wearing snake boots, however, they’re often considered standard equipment for warm weather hunting for hunters in Texas, Florida and many other southern states.
How to Pick the Perfect Hunting Boot – Conclusion
I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard hunters say, “I just can’t spend $200 on hunting boots!” Those same hunters wouldn’t think twice about spending far more than that on other pieces of gear in their hunting arsenal. Remember, boots are gear – one of the most important pieces of gear you can possibly own. Don’t skimp on your boots. Buy quality boots that were built for your next hunt.