Matt Wettstein, DPM
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Experienced podiatrist specializing in all foot care including wound care and sports medicine in Twin Falls.

Whether you are hunting elk, whitetail, or another game of choice, Idaho presents plenty of golden opportunities.

We won’t get into what the prime areas are. They tend to shift from year to year, based on the populations of both the game and the hunters wanting to claim them. We all migrate in one way or another and, if you have spent more than a few years out on the land, you likely have your personal favorite places to visit.

Wherever you go, hunting safety should always be at the front of your mind. Protecting your feet and keeping them comfortable should naturally be a part of this—not only when working with firearms, but also the environment and elevated stands. After all, your feet are what will get you in and out of the wilderness!

Hunting | Twin Falls Experienced Podiatrist

Gun Safety

We know, we know. We don’t have to tell you not to shoot yourself in the foot.

However, it does happen. A study published in the Medical Journal of Australia reviewed reported firearm injuries between 1993 and 2010, finding that 667 of them were self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the foot.

That was about only 1 percent of all reported firearm injuries, which is good! But the prime months for a foot wound to occur? October, November, and December. It doesn’t take a lot to guess why that might be the case.

Common sense and consistency are your best friends anytime it comes to handling firearms. Accidents most frequently happen when someone has a momentary lapse in judgment or routine.

Make it a habit to treat every firearm you own as if it is loaded. Carelessness with unloaded guns will eventually transfer into carelessness with loaded weapons. Unload a firearm whenever it is not in use, and never lean one against a wall, tree, or fence where it can fall and discharge.

Never have your finger near a trigger until you are ready to shoot (especially when you are holding a firearm down by your side!).

If you go hunting with a buddy who seems lax on these guidelines, you should really ask them to be more careful. If they don’t shape up, it’s better for your own safety to find a new buddy.

Choose the Right Hunting Boots

When mucking about outside, you will want your feet to be both comfortable and protected from the elements. An old, worn out pair of boots covered in duct tape is just not going to cut it.

A good hunting boot should be appropriate for what you face during the season. Midseason boots provide insulation in the range of 400-800 grams, making them a good choice for autumn’s varying weather conditions. They’re able to take on a cold morning without toasting your feet once the sun starts warming things up. Use heavy socks or insulated booties to increase the warmth, if necessary.

Hunting Idaho | Twin Falls Experienced Podiatrist

However, if you plan to stay in below-freezing temperatures longer, late season boots with 1,000 grams of insulation or higher are a better choice.

Whether your hunting style is more sedentary or active will also have an impact on what kinds of boots are best for your feet.

If you know you will be walking quite a bit, you want to be absolutely sure of comfort and cushioning in order to avoid heel pain, blisters, and other foot problems. If your terrain is hilly and steep, even more support and traction will also be needed.

On the other hand, if you are not moving often, you will want to side more with protection against cold, especially in the deeper wintry months. Pac boots are like a fortress against weather, but they are not so great for moving around. If you plan on traveling farther than between your stand and back, you will likely do better with a more standard style of hunting boot containing 800-1,2000 grams of insulation.

Whatever boot you buy, make sure it fits your foot well, without slip, and does not cause any rubbing against the foot. If you have been prescribed custom orthotic inserts, make sure they can fit inside your hunting boots as well.

Secure Your Hunting Stands

A slip or fall from a hunting stand can cause a sprained ankle, broken bone, or worse.

A hunting stand or blind that was faithful and secure to you last year might have been ravaged by weather, moisture, and insects in the off-season. Be extremely careful when returning to a stand after some time, testing and repairing or reinforcing it, if necessary.

A full-body harness is also a worthy investment in preventing falls. Keep the tether short enough so that you can reach and climb back into the stand if you do fall. You don’t want to be “left hanging,” especially if you are hunting alone!

Foot Care for Every (Hunting) Season

Don’t get stuck having to hunt down our number when you’re in need of foot or ankle care! If you get a sprain, break, blister, frostbite, or just need advice on improving your foot comfort during a hunting trip, we can help. Keep us in your contacts in case you need to reach us out in the fields!

Give our offices in Twin Falls and Burley a call at (208) 731-6321 or fill out our online contact form to reach out to us.

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