Shake out your hunting boots. It’s a mantra that repeats indefinitely in my mind.

This meme took hold in my early twenties when I attended college in Kansas. Back then I was able to piece together enough funds to purchase a home (using the loosest definition of the term) instead of living in the dorms.  col-combs boots copy

My outdoor lifestyle demanded this, because even then you couldn’t legally store a rifle or even a bow in your dorm room.

The “home” I was able to afford came with a small little shed about six feet by eight feet. Perfect for storing deer stands, tubs of camo, fly rods, and other college essentials.

My first deer season in Kansas was memorable. I had grown up in Missouri and found success there in the deer woods. But I had heard so much about the monster whitetails that Kansas harbored.

I remember scouting and planning my hunt all summer long.  When October finally arrived I was more than ready. My camo had been prepped for weeks and the topo maps were printed.

Upon arrival at the walk in public land I quickly gathered my gear and adorned my camo. The final step before I threw my climber on my back and headed to the river bottom, was to simply slip on my rubber boots.

And it was in that moment that my new mantra was born.

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