The last few hunting seasons I have noticed a very strange occurrence, either the trees are getting much, much higher, or my ability to climb them to get into my tree stand is getting severely diminished. It is usually after about a mile hike into the woods and have tied the cord that pulls up my compound bow around my waist, that I start thinking more and more about using a ground blind for deer hunting. Don’t get me wrong, I love the view from the trees and how the little critters come around after a short while, and how the Hawks make a bee line for me when a twitching finger reminds them of squirrel. It seems sometimes that I just like to take it a bit safer and easier when I am not at the top of my game, or the surroundings dictate a change in tactics. It is for that reason that last season I hunted out of a ground blind as well. It worked well for me during Turkey season and I had deer coming within a few yards of my blind then.
Ground blinds have become quite popular over the past few years and there are styles to fit every hunter’s needs and camo pattern. Most of the newer store bought ground blinds are relatively simple to set up and can be completely set up in just a few minutes or less. You can put a comfortable portable chair inside and avoid the pain and suffering of the butt getting numb after a few hours. If you fall out of your chair, it hurts a lot less than falling our of a tree stand, actually if you fall out of your chair, chances are you should not be around weapons or driving to the hunting areas anyway! I tend to fidget a lot so a ground blind is also a great way to conceal any unwanted movements and with proper placement and thoughtful setup are a great alternative to the tree stand.
The key to successful ground blind placement is to make it blend in to the surroundings as much as possible. First make sure that you have enough of a back drop of trees and shrubs to break up the outline of the ground blind. I prefer to place mine with almost 180 degrees of shoot possibilities and with some overhanging branches as well. Many Ground blinds have ties that allow you to secure twigs and brush directly to the Ground blind as well. The more you make the blind blend in to the natural environment, the more secure the deer (and Turkey) will feel and will come even closer to your position. It also makes it less likely that the deer will identify the blind as a threat and avoid that area in the future.
Most of the ground blinds on the market are covered by a black material on the inside. This allows you be almost invisible against a black background, it is also why you must always make sure the back entrance is completely close not letting any light through and why you must not wear bright colors! Camo colored clothing works well, but any very dark clothing will conceal many movements especially if you are bow hunting. Don’t forget to at least wear your camo on your way in and out of the hunting site as to minimize the chances of spooking any deer along the way. The black lining of the ground blind may also come in a scent blocking material, this is not essential if you remember to shower with non scented soap and spray down with scent blocker, but my philosophy is to try and gain any edge I possibly can and use all of the above!
Many of the ground blinds come with camo colored screens to cover the windows and other small ports. These camo colored screens also are not only see through but can be shoot through as well. If you are t the fidgety type or are hunting with small children who can never sit still, keep the screens in place. I prefer to hunt with these screens down, but am very conscious of any movements I make, especially in that last 30 minutes of hunting time when the buck of a lifetime might just be coming out of the shadows.