Looking back now, I vividly remember my early hunting trips. My uncle, Harvey Shue, and my brother, Mike, always made sure to include me any time it was possible. I can remember wearing hip boots and having to get piggy-back rides across deep sloughs and ditches. They’d always sit me on a dog stand or find me a shallow spot to stand. I remember the smell of my uncle’s cigar and the sound of their calling. I’m so thankful to have had such great men to learn from.
There are a few things that I don’t miss though! I always wore “hand me down” boots. Even when I graduated from hip boots to the old canvas waders, they were always someone else’s trash! Often times, I’d put trash bags over my feet and two pair of socks just to try and keep my feet warm and dry! Many mornings were cut a little short because of cold, wet feet!!
It’s amazing how much the wader technology has changed over the years. Neoprene was great at first, but now that the new breathable waders — such as the frogg toggs Grand Refuge or Grand Chesapeake — have been introduced, I’ll never wear anything else. Gone are the days of trash bags and 3 pair of socks! I can wear the frogg toggs wool socks and either the Grand Refuge or Grand Chesapeake and stay toasty and dry — even in the coldest of temps!
I have not forgotten those brutal mornings when my feet felt like they were blue! I don’t miss that part of the hunt, but I do miss my uncle and that aroma of his cigar. I am blessed to have my brother help me guide on most days and we reflect often on our hunts from when we were kids. Those were the good old days of hunting, but the good old days of having the best apparel, ARE RIGHT NOW!
Have a great season! Take a kid hunting. Trust me, we never forget it.