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Snake Proof Your Legs

You’ll be more at ease when you’re hunting in snake country.

By Gibbs Milliken

Paranoia strikes deep in the minds of hunters and hikers in rough terrain with unprotected feet and legs. Accidents caused by unseen snakes, cacti and other thorny plants obscured by deep grasses, rocks and chaparral,can happen at any moment. Texans learned long ago that it is practical to wear tall armored boots or leggings.

Snake boots offer maximum protection for most puncture hazards. New designs and materials give the wearer coverage from the knees down without excessive weight, stiffness and bulk. Researchers have spent years developing fabrics such as ViperCloth, a synthetic weave that will resist most venomous snakes and thorny or noxious plants. Boots like the non-insulated pull-on Justin Dune Traction Snake Boot are made of this material plus Cordura, Kevlar and natural leather that flexes with every step, pumps air into the interior and makes you feel certain your feet and legs are secure. ($179, 16” Dune Snake Boot, #2113, Justin Boots, (800) 358-7846, www.justinboots.com )

Ideal under wet or dry conditions, the Rocky Outback Snake Boot is made from thick Cordura nylon layered with a soft, insulated interior and breathable, waterproof Gore-Tex in the foot. The boot front uses a fully adjustable lace-lock system that allows for separate tensions above and below the ankle to insure a nonslip fit. It features a well-cushioned footbed for good support and ProHunter sole that collects little debris despite having aggressive rubber cleats for maximum traction. ($179.95, Outback Snake Boot, #7545, Mossy Oak Break-Up Camo,Rocky Boots, (740) 753-1951, www.rockyboots.com )

The classic Irish Setter Wingshooter Snake Boot in moccasin-foot styling is built to the highest standards of handcrafted quality. Constructed of flexible waterproof Gore-Tex nylon with oiled kangaroo-leather feet, these have a SnakeGuard lining, cork EVA footbeds and large carbon rubber outsole cleats. They are heavy-duty footwear intended for years of dependable service if maintained properly with silicone leather conditioner and sealer. ($259, Wingshooter 17” Boot, # 834, Irish Setter, (888)738-8370, www.irishsetterboots.com)

A simple and effective alternative to snake boots is to wear conventional hiking shoes of sturdy leather combined with special lightweight leg shields like Snake Guardz. These are 16 1/2-inch, snap-buckle leggings. When worn loosely, the hinged synthetic panels allow air to flow up from the ankles, making them comfortable even in hot climates. This compact design packs easily, is considerably less expensive than high-top boots and can be quickly attached or removed as needed. ($64.95, Snake Guardz, available in various sizes, solid khaki or camo patterns. Crackshot Corporation, (800) 667-1753, www.snakeguardz.com)

In the field, peace of mind is important. With these specialized boots and leggings on, you can walk with confidence through most terrain and not worry about the inadvertent encounter with plant needles or a serious snake.

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