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JOE MARTINO: Woods and waters with Joe Martino

Boots, the unsung heroes of your equipment

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boots

Booted— I have loosened up on badgering my wife about the dozens of pairs of shoes that she has since I also have my share of boots, and she doesn’t badger me about them.  They keep me out of the house longer!

When thinking about hunting gear, one often overlooked, yet vitally important item on your checklist should be boots. Sure, all hunters have them, but sometimes not enough importance is placed on them.

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, knee-high scent free boots are the norm. Make sure they are of an ankle-fit design for the best in comfort and mobility. If you are a multiple-season deer hunter, then you also know that depending on whether you are bowhunting in October or Muzzleloader hunting in late December that the temperatures can vary tremendously. For this reason, one pair won’t cut it. I use the AlphaBurly or AeroHead boots from LaCrosse Footwear for all of my deer hunting and I have them in pairs ranging from uninsulated to heavily insulated to ensure that I am covered regardless of what the temperature may be. My uninsulated pair also serve me quite well during the spring turkey season.

When upland bird hunting or elk hunting in the mountains, per say, a different type of boot is needed altogether. The amount of walking or uneven terrain call for more of a hiking type boot.

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When elk hunting in the Colorado Rockies, I choose Danner boots for my son and me to wear. Danner has a superb line of boots suited perfectly for long, treacherous hikes in the mountains all while keeping your feet comfortable and healthy. This is so important, because I have seen many hunts ruined by inferior boots.

Believe me, you may think you have a pair of boots broken in, but until you traverse the mountains for a week, you never really do. The constant shifting, climbing and descending will let you know really quickly if the boots you are wearing cut the mustard. And trust me, coming down off the mountain is not any easier than scaling up it.

If you are a multi-season or multi-species hunter, having one pair of hunting boots to try cover all of your hunting endeavors just doesn’t make sense – and it can even be painful. Do yourself – and your feet - a favor and have enough pairs to adequately cover the temperatures and terrain you will be in.

Do not buy cheap boots! There are some things you can get away with skimping on, but your boots should never be one of them. The better you take care of your feet, the better of a hunter you will be., period. Keeping your feet dry, warm, comfortable and injury free will do more to improve your hunting than just about anything else you do, so protect them!