Elk Hunting Preparation – Footwear


Proper footwear is one of the most important items that any hunter will bring on his western elk hunt. The rugged Rocky Mountains require solid, well-built boots that support the ankle yet are light and comfortable to wear all day, every day. If you wear those inexpensive smooth-soled hunting boots, the rugged, broken terrain will literally peel the blistered hide off your feet and leave you a virtual invalid to be left at camp while the other guys are having all the fun.

In the early season, plan to wear a light insulated boot that is waterproof. At this time of year, heavy dew or frost is normal, and so is rain, so you want any boot to be waterproof. A Gortex-lined boot with about 200 milligrams of insulation is perfect for early season elk hunting.

However, later in the fall when cold weather and snow are normal, a heavy insulated waterproof boot is better. A Gortex-lined boot with 40 milligrams of insulation is a good choice for late season hunting, but when a foot or more of snow covers the ground, it’s better to wear rubber boots, or robber bottom/leather upper boots.

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Always choose footwear with good traction. A gentle ripple pattern is insufficient for steep western elk terrain. You want traction! The Air-Bob sole was designed for hunting in steep, snowy frozen terrain. it consists of numerous bullet-like stubs which apply individual pressure to the walking surface, preventing sudden slipping and injury.

Proper socks go hand-in-hand with good footwear. Heavy weight soft cotton socks that wick away moisture from the skin are best for the early season elk hunter. But in the early fall, it’s common to have sweaty feet after the morning hunt, so it’s a good idea to take off your boots during the midday lull and allow your feet to air out and dry.

Heavy wool socks are best when the weather turns colder and heavier boots are used. Some hunters prefer to buy their heavy hunting boots a half size larger and just add an extra pair of wool socks for comfort and warmth.

Don’t’ make the mistake of wearing rubber over-boots for elk hunting. These thin rubber boots ear out quickly in steep, rugged terrain and lack the traction soles necessary for safe walking.


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