Selecting the Right Boots for Your Wyoming Hunt
Having the right gear can make or break your Wyoming hunt, and this is especially true of your boots. Boots could possibly be your most important investment after your firearm or bow. You will wear them every day in the field, and they must perform well. If you are cold, wet, or get blisters on your feet, it’s not going to be a fun experience. You may not be able to spend the necessary time in the field, and you may not be able to hike to the locations necessary to get a shot opportunity. This would obviously be a huge disappointment.
General Considerations for Boots
When considering boots for a big game hunt, there are a few common features that hunters should always look for. First, a quality boot should have a waterproof membrane like Gore-Tex. It should also have an aggressive outsole like Vibram. And a quality boot should be relatively lightweight. Ideally, a pair of boots should weigh no more than 5 lbs. In many cases, particularly for the early seasons, there are many boots that weigh much less.
The height of the boot is also a key consideration. In general, we recommend a boot that’s no less that seven or eight inches. This will give you the necessary ankle support for walking in rough country. Height also provides protection when traveling through snow or crossing streams. But we also recommend that hunters also pack a pair of gaiters for those situations. Gaiters keep water or snow from getting into your boots and will keep the bottom of your pants dry.
Perhaps the most important consideration for boots is the fit. Each brand fits slightly differently and some may be wider or narrower than others. Therefore, it is important to try on a few different brands of boots before purchasing. After you make a purchase, it is equally important that you put some miles on them before your hunt. You must be confident that your boots fit well and will keep you blister free.
If you purchase a quality pair of boots that fit your feet correctly, they should perform well right out of the box with no break-in period and no blisters. The reason that we recommend putting some miles in your boots before your hunt is to be sure that they fit you well and won’t cause problems in the field.
Boots For Archery and Early Seasons
Let’s now take a closer look at selecting boots for the early season. September in Wyoming brings big temperature swings. Mornings may be in the 20s or low 30s and midday temperatures may approach the 60s or warmer.
Therefore, insulated boots are not a requirement. We like to steer clients to a lightweight boot that’s 2.5 to 3.5 lbs.
A minimum height of seven to eight inches is recommended. Remember, with today’s technology in materials, lightweight doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice support. There are many good choices that provide excellent support in a lightweight package and they don’t have to be hunting specific. General hiking boots can make a great choice for an archery hunt.
Boots For the Late Seasons
During the October hunts, big temperature swings may occur with chilly mornings as low as the high teens. By midday it can be as warm as the low 50s. As we get into late October, the weather can turn to winter conditions quickly with lows in the single digits and sometimes below zero.
Snow can be a real possibility throughout the entire season, but especially late in October. Needless to say, insulation is a core requirement. We recommend a boot with about 400 grams of insulation. When snow is on the ground, an insulated rubber bottom pac boot like those made by Schnee’s or Kenetrek are hard to beat.
Ideally, we recommend that hunters bring two pairs of boots to camp. First, a good pair of insulated Gore-Tex, hiking style hunting boots that are a minimum of nine inches, and a second pair of boots like pac boots as a backup or for very cold and wet weather.
It’s easy to make the case that after your weapon, a couple pair of good boots is the highest priority for your Wyoming hunting trip in terms of gear. If your feet aren’t warm, dry and comfortable, it will be difficult to enjoy yourself in the field. Trade-offs can be made with lower quality gear in many areas of clothing. But boots and good quality rain gear is where you want to buy the best you can afford.