Editor’s Note: An elk hunt, especially a mountain elk hunt, is the hunt of a lifetime for many folks. Nothing’s more beautiful than getting above the clouds and looking at the beauty of a mountain range for as far as you can see. However, I wish I had known several things before I went on my first elk hunt that will help you if you’re hiking and/or climbing mountains to reach your elk or mule deer to hunt.
Put Your Best Foot Forward for a Better Mule Deer Hunt
On one of my mountain mule deer hunts in Montana, my guide and longtime friend, Chad Shearer, told me, “John, be sure to bring quality boots to wear when we’re hunting. We’ll do plenty of walking. You don’t want to get blisters. Too, you want your feet to be stabilized and be able to walk 8-10 miles a day.”
“Got it!” I replied.
I knew I had a great pair of boots that were lightweight and comfortable that I’d hunted in for several years. They didn’t look like much, but they sure did feel good on my feet.
On this hunt, snow was on the ground. While up in the mountains hunting mule deer first, I noticed my left foot was much colder than my right foot. That foot’s toes felt like they were close to getting frostbite.
I stopped, put my left foot up on a rock where I could see it clearly and realized I had a terrible problem. I’d worn those old, comfortable boots through water and mud, climbed mountains and chased turkeys in them. But on that day, the sole separated from the upper part of the boot.
All the ice and snow we were walking through was getting to my feet, instead of their being protected by my boots.
“John, I told you to bring some comfortable boots because we were going to walk a long way, but I didn’t tell you to bring old boots that you’d worn out before you got here,” Shearer said.
Luckily, Shearer had an extra pair of boots, and he and I were the same size. So, I used his instead of suffering through the rest of the hunt.
John’s Best Advice for Your Hunting Boots
Since your boots will be used to transport you from where you are to where you want to go, don’t embark on an elk hunt with a new pair of boots you haven’t broken-in yet. Spend as much time searching for the right kind of boots for you before your elk hunt as the amount of time you spend looking for the best rifle, the best ammunition and the best binoculars you can find for elk and mule deer hunting.
Although this other equipment is necessary and important to have a successful elk or mule deer hunt, your feet will hate you if you don’t have the right size boots and the right socks to wear inside those boots, and you haven’t broken in those boots thoroughly before you hunt elk or mule deer.
Gear You Can Use: Browse for Your Next Set of Hunting Boots
When you purchase a set of hunting boots, remember, the money you spend here pales in comparison to what you’ve spent to go on the elk hunt of your dreams. So make sure you’ve got a pair that will keep you warm and insulated from the water and snow. Here are a few recommendations for highly-rated waterproof and insulated hunting boots that you can pick up on Amazon.
Snag one of John’s Expert Guidebooks Before Your Next Hunt
- To learn more about hunting elk successfully, check out John E. Phillips’ book, “Secrets for Hunting Elk,” available in Kindle and Audible.
- To learn more about mule-deer hunting, look at John E. Phillips’ book, “Mule Deer Hunter’s Bible,” available in Kindle, print and Audible at https://amzn.to/2Kg62w5.
- Also, check out “Bowhunting Deer: The Secrets of the PSE Pros,” now available in Kindle, print and Audible at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BKBKKM9T/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taud_p3_i2, available mid-October, 2022.
When you click on the books, notice on the left where Amazon allows you to read and hear 10% of the books for free. On the right side of the page and below the offer for a free Audible trial, you can click on Buy the Audible with one click.
Tomorrow: Don’t Lie to Your Elk Guide