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Author: Mike Schoby
For a long time I have been looking for the perfect lightweight boot for fall archery hunting and spring turkey season. I have several pairs of heavy-duty big game boots, some light upland bird boots, but nothing to fill the gap for those times when a light weight, yet waterproof stalking boot is needed. However, last spring on a turkey hunt I had the opportunity to field-test a new boot that is my favorite early season footwear.
I have hunted in lightweight boots before; They have always been good for stalking, but they usually lack in versatility. Most stalking boots are not waterproof which limits their effectiveness for hunting in a variety of situations. The designers of the Silent Stalk™ Sneaker realized the importance of this feature and took advantage of the perfect marriage performed by GORE-TEX®, when they joined their 100% waterproof fabric with the top-of-the-line scent control qualities of Scent-Lok. Now, everything from dewy grass to crossing small streams are no longer a problem and your feet stay dry, allowing you to hunt in comfort throughout the day. Now the user benefits from waterproof, breathable GORE-TEX with the added advantage of scent controlling material.
The GORE-TEX Scent-Lok Silent Stalk Sneaker sure has a five dollar handle, but then again it is more than enough boot to live up to any name. This leather and Cordura boot was designed with bowhunters, turkey aficionados and warm climate hunters in mind. The cut is trim and the sole thin and flat for absolute silent stalking but they have shallow lugs and bobs for sure traction over rough terrain. Unlike the heavy lugged and thickly insulated boots that I am used to, these boots allowed me to sense every branch, rock and ground contour, essentially feeling my way along the trail, allowing my eyes to scan ahead instead of looking at the ground.
The soft rubber soles allowed me to sneak through the woods totally unnoticed, but still offered enough traction to climb muddy embankments, hop from one rock to another when crossing a stream and climb exposed sandstone ridges without a slip. The other thing I like about these soles is that they don't pick up small rocks and pebbles. If you are walking, small rocks create excessive sounds, but if you are in a treestand they can be devastating. The noise generated by these pebbles grating against a metal stand is enough noise to ensure a deer wouldn't come within a half a mile of your position.
If you are doing a lot of hiking, weight can become a problem, and causes fatigued legs at the end of the day, but the wispy two and a half pounds per pair was feather light. At the end of the day, my feet felt as good as when I woke up that morning.
It is well known that scent control clothing works great for fooling wary deer, but what is a hunter to do about his feet? Rubber boots will work for containing scent, but have you ever walked very far in steep country with them on? Or how about stalking a bedded mule deer along a shale cliff while wearing knee high rubber boots? You will find they don't work too well. With the Silent Stalk Sneakers, you can navigate this terrain and have the confidence of knowing that a breath of wind is not going to carry your scent to an unsuspecting animal.
While I didn't need the scent control features on a turkey hunt, I couldn't even tell it was there. Through three days of hiking up steep ridges, negotiating my way through pine valleys and quietly sneaking through wet river bottoms, my feet never got hot nor wet (the GORE-TEX breathed great, wicking away moisture from my feet) and the addition of Scent-Lok never overheated my feet even when the afternoon highs soared into the mid 80's. The 8-inch height was more than adequate for most wet water situations including walking through the small streams and swampy ground where we were hunting.
I first thought of these boots as a good early fall or spring boot but after putting them through the paces, I believe they will work great for all around hunting whenever the weather is mild which makes them perfect for southern hunters who often hunt in relatively warm weather.
I can't wait to further test these boots this fall in the whitetail woods. Their quietness will allow me to sneak into my treestand undetected and Scent-Lok will not leave any tell tale scent trail.