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I am heading out to Wyoming in a couple weeks on a spot and stalk (stalk and spook ;) hunt and I want to have some type of soft sandals or socks for when closing in on the deer. Any recommendations?
There are so many quality soft soled tennis shoe type boots these days there should be no reason to use socks.
I often wonder how that got started, seems crazy to me.
There is a very good reason to stalk in socks or something like Bear's feet, Rancho Safari cat prowler or Carlton's sneakers etc - they are extremely quiet.
A tip that will save your feet some stickers or soreness is to put a cheap insole (old one from tennis shoes or old boots) inside the sock. Still very quiet.
I have an old pair of Five Finger (the shoes with individual toes) Hikers. They work great.
nvgoat has the idea. I have a pair of sneaky feet, but other options are out there to accomplish the concept. Socks in the AZ desert are not a good idea.
Tennis shoes don’t compare to the quietness of socks. Nothing really does. Socks also make you slow down because you can feel things under your feet
I used rim rock stalkers last year and was very happy with them. NO MORE SOCKS ??
If you decided to go that route don’t forget to bring your shoes. I have seen hunters loose their shoes. Also watch one make a bad shot. He could not move fast enough to get a second shot as the deer stopped a 200 yds away hunched up for 5 min because the AZ desert is not a place to run in socks! That deer ended up going on a death run another quarter mile and off a cliff!
Rock is not the same as leaves & sticks. Look at 'barefoot' running shoes.
Would a pair or 2 of large socks over the shoes accomplish the same feel/ quietness?
Those little cactus in the sage In Wyoming are nasty. Prairie rattlers are also hard to see in that stuff when stalking.
A good pair of full leather boots can turn the thorns and most strikes from rattlers.
Would consider using over the boot “sneaky feet” rather that just socks or socks with inserts.
I've used heavy wool socks over my normal hiking socks to close the distance on stalks for years. Yes, even in cactus country. I find that stocking feet makes me slow way down, and of course, it's much much more quiet than any type of shoes. People who have never tried it don't know how effective it is.
I'm going to try a pair of VivoBarefoot tennis shoes this year. I know they won't be as quiet as stocking feet, but they should provide a little more protection from the cactus. We'll see. Regardless, I will still have a heavy pair of wool socks in my pack. Old habits die hard.
I can't believe anyone would stalk deer in socks in the Arizona desert... ummm Because I spent two years stalking deer in the desert, I went with the rim rock stalkers. Used them in Colorado and NM with great success.
I just looked at the offerings some had mentioned above.... it would seem like a no-brainer (albeit more expensive) to design a sock/ bootie with some level of protection against cactus and snake bites. Like a layer of flexible kevlar based fabric sandwiched between the high pile fleece layers.
I second the 5 finger shoes. Goofy looking but they definitely give you “feel” as you stalk. Great for rocks and the woods.
I'm bringing socks to WY soon in case I want to stalk a bull. It won't be around cactus. Just plain cheap cotton socks are all I've used. Normally they'll get messed up with weed seeds, treesap, etc so I just throw them away after a stalk. I don't mind throwing away $1 after a good stalk. It worked on an elk in ID last year. Only disadvantage to socks is that you will slip and slide on dry grass/leaves/needles. The advantage is that there is simply nothing quieter. You'll definitely want more protection if you're around cactus.
I used to hunt in socks a lot, back when I was young, and indestructable! Sneaking up into canyons like a cat.
Nowadays, I just bump animals...but my feet feel great ! ;^D
The other aspect of this is how conditioned your feet are to going barefoot. I run around the house and yard in bare feet all summer long. I even walk on our pea-gravel driveway in bare feet, so the bottoms of my feet are like boot leather by hunting season. If you have soft feet, sock stalking may not be for you.
Pretty sure the first person I saw stalk in just socks was Dwight Schuh. In videos of course.
When I guided bowhunters who wanted to spot and stalk mulies, I always made them carry heavy wool socks. When we'd close the distance to around 100 yards, I'd instruct them to kick their boots off and put the socks on. Most of the guys looked at me like I was crazy, until they started sneaking again, then they quickly understood the benefit. I have several grip-n-grin pics of clients with their trophies wearing nothing but socks on their feet.
You might try home made moose hide mocs. Very soft and very tough.
Very nice mocs, JustPassin! I'd try it, if I could ever draw a tag and kill a moose.