Waders are Multi-Purpose
Dr. John Woods 02.25.16
Waders are not just for waterfowl hunting. Of course, these specialized footwear are primarily tasked for service around duck blinds and for wade fishing in trout streams or in coastal waters for saltwater species, but they truly have many other uses as well.
A few years ago I shot a white-tailed doe from a long distance out of a tripod hunting stand. I knew it was a good hit, but the doe ran off anyway. There was nothing unusual about that except that in my search I could not find the deer.
I had often heard and experienced once before that wounded deer will often head to water to die. As I tracked a weak blood trail for my doe, I came up on a bend in a drainage creek that had been dammed up by beavers. The backed up pool of water was covered in buttonbush, and upon closer inspection I spotted my dead doe in the water up under one of these bushes. I probed the water and decided it was too deep to venture into with my hunting boots.
Then I remembered I had a pair of waders back at the hunting cabin. In a few minutes I returned to the beaver pond to recover my deer. I waded in up over my waist to pull the deer out of the water. Without those waders I would have never gotten that deer.
This gave me the idea to don the waders to venture into one of a flooded swamp on the property that usually was 2-3 feet deep in water. I knew deer hung out in those waters because I could hear them splashing about from another nearby hunting stand. So, this became an annual ritual to deer hunt in the swamp.
Today, waders come in material designs and materials. My old pair was a heavy duty type nylon attached to rubber boots. The in vogue style now are waders fabricated out of a thick neoprene material. These most often come in 3-5mm thicknesses. They are warmer than nylon or rubber waders, but the neoprene can puncture easily on submerged sticks and logs.
The wader boots have been vastly improved too with mud gripping soles and quality insulation often made of Thinsulate ® material. If you stand or sit on a stool in cold water for very long duck hunting or otherwise, you’ll appreciate some extra insulation.