A decade ago I was fortunate enough to bowhunt the Gila for bugling bull elk, and it remains as one of my greatest hunting memories. I’d like to say I tagged a giant bull, but as luck would have it, I didn’t get a shot. I drew on the bull in the video screen-shot below, but as you can see, the path to the bull’s chest was obstructed by a tree. And even though my guide, who was positioned to my right and up the mountain another 60 yards, gave out several seductive cow calls, this mature bull refused to take another step. Damn!
One thing I learned on my trip to the massive Gila (more than 2.7 million acres!) is that topnotch footwear is critical. We hunted from dawn to dusk in everything from semi-desert terrain to deep canyons and rugged mountains. And because you sometimes have to run—literally—to get into position in front of a bugling/moving bull, I found myself wishing I’d worn 6-inch hikers instead of taller hunting boots.
Should I bowhunt the Gila again, or anyplace similar for that matter, I’ll definitely give the new 6-inch Danner Gila a try. According to a bowhunting buddy of mine who tried a pair recently, the Gila is the perfect blend of superior traction and comfortable support for varied terrain. The waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex liner kept his feet dry when crossing shallow creeks, and the tough nubuck leather and rubber rand provided perfect protection from everything that likes to stick and poke you on a Western hunt.
I also like the boot’s Gore Optifade digital camo pattern. I’ve worn Optifade shirts and pants for several years on Western hunts, and it flat-out works to keep you hidden from animal eyes.