Boots on the Ground – Part 2

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It’s April in East Texas.  Cool during the moonless night, warm in day.  The landscape is rolling and green.  Trees reach heights of 120 feet in this logging area.  There’s been plenty of rain, and there are a lot of marshy areas here, too.  The rain continues every few days or nights.  The vegetation under the trees is thick enough to conceal lots of hogs.  And snakes.  I hate snakes.

Sure, I know there are “good” snakes out there, somewhere… Hopefully they are eating the ground squirrels that like to tear up my back yard.  But that’s somewhere around 500 miles from thick wet woods I’m preparing to trudge through in the dark, just after a rain.  I have to admit, there’s a certain part of me that’s a bit hesitant to head out.  We’ve been warned.

But since it’s still raining, the only thing to kill is time, so I head over to Wulf Outdoor Sports with SHWAT™ Co-Founder Stephen Owen, and my long time friend and hunting partner Jared Hilton.  Jared is wearing some LaCrosse snake boots, and I’m jealous.  Did I mention I don’t like snakes?  It dawns on me as we walk in to the store that Wulf sells boots, lots of them.  Maybe, they’d have something I could use.

They did.  They had the LaCrosse rep visiting the store.  I like getting the best expertise in my corner, and Chris knew his stuff.  I can only imagine that he has a whole closet full of boots to choose from, and naturally, he shows us what he wears for snake protection, the LaCrosse Venom Scent HD™ Realtree® APG HD® Snake Boots.  The length of the name is matched by the height of the boot.  They measure at almost nineteen inches tall!  Yes, they are a good looking boot sitting on the shelf, but I’m afraid my cammo isn’t’ going to match.  However, with 360 degrees of snake protection up to 18”, well, who cares?

BootsI ought to point out that I worked in retail for a number of years getting though college, and then owned four retail stores.  Every manufacturer’s rep wants their brand pushed, their brand sold, their brand in the best light and position.  That’s fair.  But not all reps are as comfortable educating people as others.  Not all can take their own priorities and set them aside long enough to find out the needs of the end user and see if there’s a good match at hand.  Kudos to Chris on this one.  He entertained our questions and made sure we had the right fit.

So, I’m good to go for the evening slog at this point.  I tighten up the laces, which takes a minute.  There are a dozen rows of holes and or hooks to snug. If I were to offer LaCrosse a suggestion here, it would be to make some of these speed laces, rather than captured eyelets.  I take my first steps, convinced that the yet to come thrashing of the tactical fashion police, and probable weight of these boots, would be offset by the snake protection and waterproofing.  Much to my surprise, these feel quite light!  LaCrosse claims five pounds per pair, and sure enough, my scale says 2.5 pounds with a single boot.  It’s kind of nice when a manufacturer’s claims match real world use.

Finally, the rain stops, we say thanks to Chris and head out.  It’s not long before we’re hiking the hills of that East Texas logging acreage.  The road is sand, and hiking it is our best option.  We’ve already pulled our host’s truck from the mud once, and the second time we had to leave it.  I wonder if I should have picked up muck boots instead.  As it turns out, these boots provided plenty of traction and stability.  Too bad they don’t come as tires.

After an hour or so of hiking and scanning with night vision and thermal devices, we spot hogs about eighty-five yards out.  We’ve worked the wind.  The hogs have no idea we’re out there, no idea that they are about to become test media for our DRT ammo.  Well, out of the group of three, one hog got that opportunity.

LaCross BootsI dropped to a pseudo seated position on top of my right ankle and introduced that pig to my ammo.  I don’t think he liked the introduction, as he didn’t really say much when we later took his picture.  So we head back to the hotel.  I wonder if I’ll need a wench to remove my boots, which now happily seem one with my feet.  It seems LaCrosse thought of this too, and provided a fourteen inch zipper down the side to make removal a piece of cake.  Nice.

The next morning we were at it again, hiking the roads and some low lying areas, but the hogs were hiding.  My feet were dry and happy, so I was happy.  Those of you with flat feet can especially appreciate being comfortable in your boots after a couple days wear.  Maybe a key question to all this is whether my feet smelled like wild hogs after a couple of days slogging in all this.  Nope.  LaCrosse built in what they call “Scent Suppressing” material with antimicrobial fibers as the lining of the boot.  Maybe that’s what did it, I don’t know.  Either way, I’m happy.

The bottom line is that I’m more than a little impressed with these.  In truth, I’m now on mission to find more footwear that’s this comfortable, and this functional, boots or otherwise.  If you want to try a pair, you can find them at numerous retailers or online by searching for “LaCrosse Venom Scent HD™ Realtree® APG HD® Snake Boots.” It’ll be $150 well spent in my experience.


On the Web:

LaCrosse Venom Scent HD™ Realtree® APG HD® Snake Boots

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