Imagine the level of disappointment you must feel when you lose your chance to bag a game just because your boot stank.
All sorts of precautions and tricks won’t matter a dime if your boots are emitting smell because unlike you, your game has a very keen sense of smell.
You may buy the best hunting boots available in the market to keep your feet safe in harsh weather condition.
However your feet will sweat when you are in the woods tracking your game, and that sweat will get absorbed by the boots.
So while removing scent from your hunting appraisal, don’t forget to include your hunting boots as well.
In this article, we shall talk about the process of removing the scent from hunting boots, but first, let’s understand the cause behind it.
Sweating in the course of your trip
Technically speaking we have more sweat glands in our feet (per inch) than anywhere else. That says something.
Logically when you are in the woods walking on foot for miles while carrying your hunting gear which is never light weighted, you are bound to sweat profusely.
Sweat causes the build-up of bacteria and fungi, they practically thrive in such an environment.
These micro-organisms continue to reproduce even when you are not wearing the boots.
You got smelly feet
Unclean feet emit odour, it’s a common fact. While in some cases a fungal infection could be a causative factor behind that pungent smell.
Your choice of boots and socks might be questionable.
Having an insulated boot is a perfect choice as it keeps your feet warm and comfy, but only during winter.
Come summer and it gets hot, like really hot, which leads to excessive sweating (worst case you might get infected with athlete’s foot).
The reason is, insulated boots are not made up of breathable materials which ultimately traps the moisture from the sweat secreted.
Furthermore, the socks you wear especially cotton ones have a high moisture absorbing rate as well.
Lack of proper boot treatment
Since you use these boots for hunting purpose, they need extra care.
You can`t just wash it like a regular shoe and throw it in a cupboard (or wherever you keep your other footwear) until the next hunting season arrives.
Here you are required to put in some extra effort, so clean them properly and thoroughly.
That is if you don’t want your boot to get mold and emit a repulsive smell.
Some hunters often make use of waterproofing products on their boots. The downside is that such products have their own distinct smell which can last for days.
So we learned the “why” behind the boot scent, now let’s see how to prevent the same.
Concerning your feet
Since we are dealing with boots here, of course, it will start with your feet.
Always keep your feet clean by washing them daily (preferably twice in a day) with antibacterial soap, remember to scrub the dead skin away.
Either Epsom salts or a mixture of vinegar/lemon juice in water (use warm water in the latter’s case) is highly recommended for killing bacteria, you just have to soak your feet in that water.
Followed by this is the part where you dry your feet, DO NOT neglect this.
As I said earlier, a moist and damp environment is essentially a paradise for bacteria, and growth of bacteria means smell.
Let’s talk about your socks
When it comes to socks, cotton is the least preferable one.
The tricky part with socks is that they can neither be too thick/thin nor too many/less.
Meaning if you choose too many individual socks or thicker ones, it will warm your feet unnecessarily resulting in excessive sweating.
On the contrary, if you chose few in number or thinner socks, it will numb your feet due to cold, the reason why layered socks are recommended.
Few other points to remember by:
Many hunters agree that wool is the best option when it comes to comfort, warmth and dryness.
Lastly your boots
Unlike socks it’s not practicable to have an additional pair of boots, it’s not only costly, but that extra weight is not ideal as well.
So a well maintained and clean boot is the only viable option here.
How to wash your boots properly?
If you have a mold problem then you have to deal with it separately before you begin washing them.
The next concern that you should have after washing your boots, is where to store them.
To keep your boots scent-free, avoid any damp and dark storage places.
One last thing, make sure the boots you are buying are breathable.
Rubber boots are good in concealing odor but they can get pretty hot. As for leather, they provide comfort but lack breath ability.
So choose wisely.
Alec Greg, an avid outdoor enthusiast and writer, intricately weaves passion for nature into captivating narratives. With expertise in hiking, camping, and wilderness survival, his evocative articles in top outdoor publications inspire readers to embrace and explore the beauty of the natural world.