Choosing the Right Turkey Hunting Boot | Consider Topo, Weather & Snakes
By: Beau Martonik
I have a lot of hunting boots, but I don’t have a pair that fits all hunting situations. When it comes to turkey hunting, your boot selection will likely change a lot depending on your geographical location and time of year. Below, I’ll focus on what boots are useful during the spring turkey season, but the concepts and thought processes can be applied in the fall, as well.
Geography and Topography
Before looking at specific brands or boots that your favorite hunting personality wears, it’s essential to understand what boots will work the best for your location. In the big woods of Pennsylvania, we have some rugged, Appalachian Mountain-type terrain that makes comfort, stability, lightweight and waterproof some of the critical features for a turkey hunting boot. It’s run-n-gun turkey hunting, where you’re covering ground quickly and efficiently. A lightweight, GORE-TEX pair of hiking or hunting boots, such as the Crispi Thor II’s that I wear, work well in these areas. Hiking boots will be lighter, breathe better and give better support than their rubber counterparts. If you pair them with a set of waterproof gaiters, you’ll be OK with quick creek crossings. If you’re in a swampier area or someplace that doesn’t require a lot of hiking, waterproof rubber boots will work better for you.
Weather and Temperature
The weather and time of year will play a critical role in your turkey hunting boot selection. Some states open their spring turkey season in March, while others might not until May. This can create a shift in conditions and influence your boot selection. For example, if you hunt in an area with primarily colder temperatures, choosing a lightly-insulated leather or rubber boot would be perfect. In contrast, you should look for breathability as a top feature in regions with warmer temperatures.
Wet and muddy conditions make traditional rubber boots, such as Muck boots, a better choice to keep your feet dry. Unfortunately, the weatherman seems to predict wet and soggy mornings more often in springtime than not.
The last factor to consider when choosing the right turkey hunt boot depends on whether you'll be hunting in areas with venomous snakes. In much of the Appalachian Mountains region, the southeast and the west, there's potential to run into venomous snakes while chasing gobblers. Snakes are something that you'll need to factor into your boot selection. Rocky and Irish Setter make snake boots that will protect you. Snake boots aren’t as comfortable as standard boots, but you should strongly consider them in snake country. Snake gaiters are another option, but they’re only as good as the boot below the gaiter.
To help you choose the right hunting boot, write down what features are most important to you and use them to prioritize what pair of boots will work best. I've found that you get what you pay for with boots. So, if you want to get years of hard use out of them, I recommend purchasing from a reputable brand. From there, you can start looking at brands and specific products to fit your needs for turkey hunting season.