Author: Cabela's Staff
Before deciding on your next pair of hunting boots, it’s best to narrow your choices to match the time of year and locations you hunt. When you know what weather to expect, you’ll have a better idea what level of insulation and which weatherproofing technologies should top your list. A spot-and-stalk elk hunt in late August will require different boots than a stand hunt for whitetails in December. Hunting boots fall into one of three categories – Early Season, Midseason and Late Season. Find the category that covers your upcoming hunting plans and you’ll be ready with the right boots to match the weather conditions.
Selecting boots for late summer and early fall should focus on two things, heat relief and walking comfort. As with your clothing selection, this is the time of year to go lightweight and breathable, especially when spot-and-stalk hunting. Be prepared for wet weather by wearing boots with waterproofing technology like GORE-TEX® or Dry-Plus™. If hunting in an arid region where moisture is not much of a concern during the early season, you can choose to skip the waterproof membranes and go with a ventilated, hiking-boot style. Uninsulated boots or up to 200-gram insulated models are the best option for late summer, early fall and spring. Boots from this category are also ideal for uplands hunts and for chasing muleys and bull elk in the backcountry. Before deciding on a pair of early-season boots, be sure to question whether or not you’ll be hunting in snake country. If so, you’ll need the fang-deflecting armor of snake boots.
The most popular category of hunting boots has insulation levels that cover most fall hunting situations. If you want one pair of boots to match the widest range of weather conditions, choose midseason boots. This category includes insulated boots in the 400-gram to 800-gram range. The boots are also a good choice for sedentary early-season hunts in northern regions or at high altitude. They have enough insulation for cold mornings, yet won’t bake your feet when it warms up later in the day. The versatility of the midseason category also makes it excellent for active hunts in cold conditions. Most boots in this category take advantage of waterproof membranes to increase versatility in all types of moisture, including rain, snow and early-morning dew. You can further increase the versatility of these boots in cold conditions by adding heavyweight hunting socks or insulated booties.
When temperatures bottom out and the snow starts flying, you’ll need the extra protection of late-season boots. At 1,000-gram levels and higher, heavily insulated boots are designed for winter weather and more sedentary activities. Stand and blind hunting in below-freezing temperatures requires boots with the heaviest insulation. Pac boots cover such situations. They protect your feet from cold air with thick insulation and warmth-trapping liners. Keep in mind, the extra bulk of pac boots makes them less than ideal for walking distances farther than to and from your stand. Choose regular hunting boots with 800- to 1,200-gram insulation for spot-and-stalk hunts during the late season.
After you’ve determined which category best covers your hunt’s weather conditions, the next important consideration is the style of hunting – active or sedentary. The more walking you do, the more premium features such as Vibram® soles and specialty footbeds make a difference. Active hunts, especially on hilly or mountainous terrain, require enhanced support and traction-enhancing soles to keep you well balanced and agile. Another logical correlation is the more you walk, the more abuse your boots will need to shrug off. Rugged terrain requires rugged boots, even if you’re not walking far. Trust the durability of premium leathers and abrasion-resistant Cordura® nylon to endure years of daylong, scrub-busting hunts.The Best Fit for your Hunts
The abundance of technologies in modern boots keeps your feet dry and comfortable in a variety of weather conditions. The key is to find out which features best suit the hunting season and the weather you’re likely to encounter. Filter your choices by the categories and information in this article and you’ll have an easier time finding the perfect pair for your specific needs. If you hunt everything from September doves to December whitetails, choosing a good pair of early-season, midseason and late-season boots will cover all your hunting needs for years to come.