5 Tips for Taking Care of Your Feet

While Elk Hunting


Don’t ruin your hunt

because you didn’t take care of your feet.



Hi!  I’m Jimmie Norris with elkhuntersguide.com.

I’ve got a trivia question for you today:  What were the two standing orders that Lt. Dan gave to Forrest Gump when he arrived in Viet Nam?  I’ll get the answer for you in a minute.

But first, I want to tell you that today’s video is the third in a series.  The first video was “5 Essential Features in Elk Hunting Boots”.  The second video was “5 Choices You Need to Make When Buying Elk Hunting Boots”. 

Now, the answer to that trivia question.  Well, the first standing order that Lt. Dan gave to Forrest Gump was “Take care of your feet”.   The second one was “Don’t do something stupid like getting yourself killed”.  Both of those things are great advice, but today I want to focus on the first one – taking care of your feet.  So, today I’m going to give you 5 tips for taking care of your feet while elk hunting. 

Tip #1 Trim Your Toenails Properly

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine told me a story.  He had been out hunting, and he saw two men carrying a third man.  He figured that something must be seriously wrong, so he went to go see if he could help.  It turned out that the two men doing the carrying were guides, and the man being carried was their client.  You see, the client had trimmed his toenails just before the hunt.  He trimmed them so short, that his toes got so sore, that he couldn’t even walk and had to be carried out.

When you think of an elk hunting video, you probably don’t think of trimming toenails.  But I’m telling you that it’s an important thing, because it’s those little things that can make or break your hunt. 

Tips about trimming your toenails – number one, don’t do it right before the hunt.  Trim your toenails a week or more before the hunt.  When you do, trim them based on the guidelines.  Trim them straight across; don’t trim them too short – trim them at the end of your toe or slightly less; make sure that you file off the rough edges to make sure that your toenails don’t catch on something and get torn.

Tip #2 Wear The Right Socks

The second recommendation I have for you when it comes to taking care of your feet when you are elk hunting is to get the right socks.  Whatever you do, don’t wear cotton socks.  Cotton will just trap the moisture from your feet when you perspire.  That moisture will make your feet cold, whenever you stop.  It’s going to make your feet tend to blister.  Don’t wear cotton socks.

What kind of socks should you wear?  There’s lots of high performance, synthetic blends out there that you can get, and I’m sure they’re fine.  I haven’t tried them, but my favorite is merino wool. 

Several companies make good quality merino wool socks, and here is what I like about them.  First of all, they wick the moisture away from your feet, and keep your feet dry.  They are soft.  They don’t itch.  They’re really cushy.  A friend of mine, the first time he wore merino wool socks, he said that it was like walking on pillows.  It kind of is!  They’re really comfy.  They keep your feet warm, even when wet, because wool will insulate even when wet.  Merino wool is my recommendation.

All merino wool isn’t necessarily the same.  The socks need to be good quality socks.  The way you can tell that is to check the seam on the socks.  If it has a really thick seam, it’s going to rub your toes and give you blisters.  These socks, you can see the seam, but you can’t even really feel it.  It’s made so well, that you can’t even feel the seam. 

One tip – I wear two pair at a time.  My boots fit better that way, but it also give me more insulation, more cushion, and allows my feet to stay drier because it’s wicking more moisture away.  It also prevents blisters.  You might think about that when you are buying socks and boots.

Tip #3 Use Good Foot Powder

The third tip that I want to mention for taking care of your feet while elk hunting shouldn’t surprise you.  Use a good foot powder.  All of our feet perspire.  Some of us have feet that perspire more than others, and a good foot powder will help take care of your feet.  It will keep them dry, it will keep you from getting athlete’s foot, and blistering.  Get yourself a good foot powder, and take it hunting with you, and use it as needed.

Tip #4 Wear Boots That Fit Properly

The next tip I have for you in taking care of your feet while elk hunting is to make sure that your boots fit right.  I told a story in the last video about some boots that I had that were too small.  I went on a backpacking trip in Yellowstone, and by the end of the trip my feet were blistered and my toenails had turned black.  It was just miserable!  Make sure you get boots that fit right.

When you are trying them on, make sure that you are wearing the same socks that you are going to be wearing when you are hunting.  That way you know how they are going to fit.  Make sure you can wiggle your toes.  Make sure your feet don’t slide around when you’re walking in them.  Good fitting boots are critical to taking care of your feet when you are elk hunting. 

Tip #5  First Aid

The final tip I have for you in taking care of your feet while elk hunting is first aid.  First of all, I want to warn you, if you feel that your foot is beginning to form a blister, because it’s rubbing inside your boot – Whatever you do, don’t power through!  So many of us just want to ignore the pain and just keep hunting.  I understand that, but you’ll regret it if you do.  Stop right there, take your boot off, take your sock off, and apply first aid.

What kind of first aid?  I always keep moleskin in my pack.  Moleskin is inexpensive.  It’s self-adhesive.  You peel off the back.  You cut a piece that’s just the right size, and it can either be applied to your foot, or the inside of your boot.  Wherever the spot is that’s rubbing.  It’ll keep it from abrading and forming a blister.  Keep some moleskin in your pack. 

Keep some extra socks in your pack.  Swapping out socks might help you from getting blisters. 

Another thing, when you are back at camp in the evening, have some foot balm or some lotion to put on your feet that is medicated.  It will help heal your feet overnight, so that you’ll be ready to go hunting the next day. 


There you have it – my 5 tips for taking care of your feet while you are elk hunting. 

#1 – Trim your toenails properly.

#2 – Wear the right socks.

#3 – Use good foot powder.

#4 – Wear boots that fit properly.

#5 – Have First Aid available when you need it.

And don’t forget Lt. Dan’s orders.  Take good care of your feet, and don’t do something stupid like getting yourself killed.

What About You?

What do you think?  Did I forget something?  Do you agree with me?  Do you disagree with me?  Either way, scroll down and leave me a comment.  I really do appreciate the feedback. 

If you haven’t downloaded your list of elk hunting tips from my website, surf on over to elkhuntersguide.com, if you’re not already there.  Download that free list of elk hunting tips.  You’ll be glad you did.

Until next time – Shoot Straight!


  1. Randy Miller

    Great topic Jimmie! I agree with everything you said.

    The only thing I could see adding to the list after a long day of hiking, would be to stretch when the day is done. It can speed fatigue recovery and help prepare your feet/legs for the next day.

    • Jimmie Norris

      Good point, Randy! Thanks!

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Jimmie is a retired high tech engineer who now spends his time writing about elk hunting, selling Real Estate, and doing DIY projects.

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