Stalking equipment - everything for the (quiet) feet

Pirschausrüstung - alles für die (leisen) Füße

Which shoes are ideal for stalking? How do you move as quietly as possible on different surfaces?

Noise cancellation is part of stealth

On the hunt you are constantly on the move. While you make sure when choosing your equipment that everything is suitable for stalking, there is one thing you cannot influence:
the ground on which to stalk.
Depending on the weather, the subsoil behaves differently:

  • If it's too dry, it crunches or rustles with every step,
  • if it is too wet, it makes smacking or splashing noises.

Add to that the weather:

  • If there is no wind and it is quiet, then noise cancellation is important,
  • if it is windy and/or rainy, then it is less important.

Certain areas of territory can only be stalked in a meaningful way if the ground conditions favor quiet movement - or the weather is louder than the hunter.

Trekking boots - the reliable kilometer hitters

In my early days as a hunter, I relied on good trekking boots as hunting boots. Well broken in, waterproof, robust. As long as the march was limited to the way to the pulpit and back, the usual boots were great. But as I switched more and more to stalking, I realized that my boots crunched as I moved. While that could usually be controlled somewhat by how you laced your boots or whether they were freshly waxed, they ended up crunching again at a moment when you couldn't use it. I researched lace-up boots specifically for stalking and couldn't really find any.

Rubber boots - quiet all-rounders for stalking

In the end I ended up with good rubber boots that are also suitable for trekking. Wellies have no "moving" parts to rub against each other and good wellies have a good fit. In such boots you can cover kilometers quietly, in any weather - through thick and thin.

With the rubber boots I had my quiet, practical hunting footwear.

What the rubber boots couldn't solve was the respective noise development of a firm sole on the different surfaces that you find on the stalk. Specially compacted soils of paths and paths with loose stones/splint are a problem - the mechanics of the shoe sole turn into stone acoustics - no matter how careful you walk.

Totally blown away - the creep speed

I often read in articles by successful wild boar hunters that they often cover the last few meters to the game in stocking socks. This is practicable when you are somehow in one piece, not when you are stalking the area and covering a few kilometers.

Eventually I came across Skinners sock shoes. Socks with a real raised rubber sole. An insole is also included. I immediately removed the insole. On the one hand I want more feeling in the soles of my feet, eg for small branches, and on the other hand I want to wear an additional pair of (almost) conventional socks.

Why an extra pair of socks? On the one hand, the sock shoes are really just pimped socks and not waterproof and not mosquito-proof. So I can adapt the inner sock to the outside temperatures. The socks I am currently wearing in the sock shoes are waterproof socks from Sealskinz. These socks keep the foot dry and mosquito bite free.

The territory in the feet - a new perspective

How are the sock shoes doing on the hunt? It feels like being outside in just socks. Very unusual at first. A real, direct haptic level is now added to the visual, acoustic and olfactory impressions. You can actually feel the ground very well and you have to get used to the barefoot feeling, especially when it gets rocky. After the first stalking missions on the following day, I always had a noticeable sore muscle in my calves. The foot is of course challenged and you have to learn how to roll again. That's the "price" you pay. It is worth it ..

Schmittchen Schleicher with the soft sole socks

As soon as the socks were delivered, I unpacked them, put them on, grabbed the dog and went for a spin right away. After the first few meters of tar, I had to realize that the sock shoes made clear (not suitable for stalking) slipping noises when rolling over the balls of their feet. They still do on solid, rough surfaces like concrete and tar.

However, this does not come into play when stalking in the hunting ground. Here I am actually much quieter on the road and walk more consciously, no matter what the surface. Even if the sock shoes are soaking wet, they stay quiet. There are no slurping or smacking noises when walking.

Since I've been wearing sock shoes, I've also been able to stalk through parts of the hunting ground that sounded like a bowl of cornflakes when I walked in dry phases.

The socked feet don't swallow everything, but you don't trudge through the botany like a creeping tank - I don't think more is possible.

It should be clear to everyone that you can't or shouldn't plow through thickets of blackberries with sock shoes. So I have a pair of sturdy boots in the car for recovering game after the shot.

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