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Ground Blinds Galore

by Brenda Potts 1. May 2012 06:46
Brenda Potts

While walking the isles of the Iowa Deer Classic a few weeks ago I realized there are a lot of those semi-permanent ground blinds available today. There were blinds on display that resembled spaceships, giant cans, boxes, stumps or big pine bushes, and some were meant for ground use, others for elevated platforms. One even moves up, down and travels around. While many of these type blinds seem to have gun hunters more in mind, there are several that can also accommodate bowhunters. Here's a look at just a few of the ones I found.


"Why didn't I think of that?" is the first thing that came to mind when I saw the original Pine Blind. Then I remembered a few situations where during late winter nasty conditions the buck I was after would hide in a stand if pine trees. If only I had that Pine Blind in place! Their tag line is, "The best blind you can't find."

It has a realistic pine tree look with a full 360 degree view. Six panels with drop down windows are easy to adjust. Blind materials are of 100% plastic. It sits on a steel base and has 6 legs for easy leveling on all terrains. The blind is also handicap accessible. And it sure does look just like a pine tree or pine bush capable of blending well with the environment. www.pineblind.com

Another blind that blends in well with certain habitats is the Blind Ambition Bale Blind. Their tag line is, "The most realistic bale blinds on the market. " The blind looks like a big round bale which is something that animals get used to seeing in areas where these farming practices occur. The blind is lightweight, portable and easy to move. The main benefit I see with this type of blind is that deer require next to no acclimation time to this type of blind. www.baleblinds.com

Moving from blending in to standing out, let's review a few of the box blind types. "Elevated ground blind" sounds like an oxymoron, but some of the semi-permanent ground blinds can also be placed on elevated platforms and not all are box shaped.
I like the name of this next blind...Window-Tree Deer Stands. The blind is a solid one piece unit made from polyurethane. It weighs 350 pounds and can be tipped into a full size pick-up bed for transport between locations. It has a heavy duty frame built to accommodate 4x4 posts so you can elevate the blind if desired. www.fabradome.com

"Get a Stump, Hear the Thump." Okay then. The Stump 1 does resemble a tree stump and the company has progressed to Stumps 2, 3 and Stump 4 Deer Tower which is a bigger blind with more room. www.banksoutdoors.com


Shadow Hunter Blinds began as a way of making their own hunting blinds, but soon orders began pouring in as people heard about these blinds. They make several styles of blind in the Shadow Hunter Series including gun, archery, combo, crossbow, total view, octagon and wheelchair accessible. The 22 3/8 inch by 8 inch windows are large enough for nearly any angle of archery shot. There are many great standard features on each blind and upgrades are available. www.shadowhunterllc.com

 


I have heard many good things about the Redneck Blinds and got the chance to look them over while at the classic. Important features include roomy, well thought-out design of fiberglass construction with tinted tempered automotive glass windows that help hide movement inside the blind. According to the manufacturer these are among the largest windows in the industry. They blinds are modular and easy to assemble with high quality powder coating and weatherproofing details.

 

The 6x6 Buck Palace 360 Combo blind from Redneck Blinds is what I call one of those, "That's what I'm talkin' about!" blinds. It is extremely roomy and specifically designed for up to four hunters. It is great for filming hunts when you need room for the tripod, two people and gear. The blind features huge 46” tall bow windows enabling you to shoot from virtually any position within the blind, at any angle. www.redneckblinds.com The folks at Redneck Blinds identify 4 important questions that should be considered in any decision to purchase a ground blind. #1, Is the deer stand, deer blind, or camouflage well designed and constructed? #2, Are the products high quality, from fiberglass to resin molded material? #3, Will you be able to set up your hunting site easily? #4, Is the equipment portable enough for your needs?


With so many blinds on the market of many different proportions, features and materials, these are great questions to ask yourself when considering any semi-permanent ground blind or elevated blind purchase. Last but not least, is the Traveling Tower. "No Tree? No Problem!" Manufactured in MN, the Traveling Tower is built with electrolyzed powder coated steel which enables you to reach heights of 11 to 15 feet. The blind can be moved with your ATV and used for tree trimming, and other non-hunting activities such as gutter cleaning, painting, siding or working on variety of projects that would have required scaffolding or ladder climbing. www.travelingtower.com  Don't we wish more of our hunting gear would double as honey-do gear!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2011 Wyoming Antelope Roundup Part 2 - Two For the Doe

by Daniel James Hendricks 18. September 2011 23:44
Daniel James Hendricks

  The only thing better than hunting antelope is eating it.  So this past year, when I learned from my guide, Mike Judd that I could acquire a doe tag for a mere $34 dollars, I had Kristi Judd purchase a doe tag for me.  After all, my biggest complaint about an antelope is that they are not very large, but even a doe is worth an extra $34 based on the undeniable quality of antelope meat. Once my hunt began, I filled my buck tag on the second day of my hunt clearing the way to harvest the first doe antelope of my hunting career.  In the stand shortly after daylight, I began the task of locating the animals that were scattered in that pastures around me.  I choose the particular blind I was hunting in because the hunter that had taken his antelope there earlier in the week, had informed me that he had cell reception.  As far as we were out of Douglas, cell reception was difficult, especially on my cheap phone.  Reception was a positive, but the view was a negative.  I had a lot of blind spots where I was unable to see what would be coming to water until it got right on top of me. 

 So I just closed down most of the windows in the blind leaving small cracks from which to check for critters.  The waterhole at the front of the blind was the important spot and I had a wide window there to take care of business should an opportunity present itself.  After glassing the surrounding pastures for a while to locate the visible goats, I dug out my cell phone called my mom and dad in Florida.  Dad was running an errand so mom and I began to solve the world’s toughest problems like the true experts that we have become from years or diligent practice.  As I talked, I glanced to the east and saw antelope silhouetted against the morning sun, running towards the windmill.  I rapidly explained to my mother what was happening and excused myself.  Her last words were, “Go get `em, son!” 

 I tucked the phone away, grabbed the bow and waited for the arrival of my guests.  The small group consisted of a doe and two fawns and a yearling buck.  I had not wanted to take a wet doe, but since the fawns were both good sized and they had a chaperon, I was in a hurry to hit the road, so taking this doe would allow me time to skin and quarter, check out of the hotel and be in Longmont, Colorado by 5 pm.  Decision made, I clicked the bow off safe and waited for a broadside shot.

  I was able to range the doe at 18 yards, before the animal turned broadside giving me a perfect shot as it scanned the horizon to the west for danger.  Placing the zero on its heart, I slowly squeezed the trigger until the snap of the bow’s limbs startled me.  The antelope exploded into a blur of action, but for the doe, it was too late…She was a goner!  The doomed doe ran directly away from me I watched her life-fluids gushing out of both sides of her body.  As I watched the antelope collapse, I never did see which way the other three disappear.  They were just gone when I looked around.  The doe had gone down in a matter of seconds, not even covering forty yards before succumbing to its wound. 

 I dug the phone out and hit redial and my mother answered on the very first ring. 
 “Well?” she inquired.
 When she learned that I had bagged my doe and she just giggled like a teenage and congratulated me.  We talked for a few more minutes and then I told her I had to get to work.  Hanging up, I called Mike right away and told him I was done.  He said he would be there shortly so I ventured out to collect the photographs I needed to wrap up my mission.

 When Mike arrived he took some shots of me with the goat and then I field dressed it.  The heart had a hole in it, bringing me a great deal of satisfaction.  If one is going to hunt an animal, he should try to make a shot that will dispense it as quickly and humanely as possible.  Nothing is more effective at doing than a broadhead-tipped arrow through the heart.  It had been a compassionate and merciful end for creature and for that I was so very thankful.

 We hauled the animal back to the Kimbal HQ where I skinned and quartered it, placed it on ice and then packed my hunting gear.  After bidding farewell to Mike, I drove to Douglas, checked out of the hotel and headed for Colorado.

 This was my first doe antelope and I was convinced, especially after noting how easily the hide pulled away from the carcass, that there could possibly be no finer eating that what Karen and I were going to experience from the flesh of this doe.  The antelope is the first thing to disappear from our freezer and for the next year, we would have a little extra of it to be blessed at our table.  I can’t thank George LeBar enough for his kind hospitality and sharing the family ranch; the same heartfelt gratitude is also offered to Mike and Kristi Judd.

 

2011 Wyoming Antelope Roundup Part 1 - One for the Billy

by Daniel James Hendricks 18. September 2011 23:19
Daniel James Hendricks

 My #1 reason for hunting Pronghorn Antelope is the fact that the season opens a full month before that of the Minnesota whitetail.  It’s a wonderful opportunity to get out there and do some hunting while one waits for the local deer to become legitimate targets.  Reason #2 is that their flesh is more popular at our dining table than venison is, especially with my Redhead.  That alone is reason enough to pack up my gear and head for the picturesque landscapes of SE Wyoming in pursuit of wily pronghorn.

 Reason #3 for hunting goats is that the only thing this hunter enjoys more than eating antelope is photographing them, and the area around Douglas provides plenty of opportunity to do just that.  This past season, the LeBar Ranch played host to our annual HBM Hunt Club expedition and we were treated to the excellent guidance of Mike Judd, the ranch’s Gamekeeper.  Mike is a local Wyoming boy that knows his way around hunting the range and is extremely knowledgeable as well as being very intelligent and personable.

 The first 2½ days were spent helping Mike serve the 14 other HBM members that were attending the Antelope Roundup.  By Wednesday, most of them had filled out so Mike gave me the nod to begin my hunt that afternoon.  We were setup at one of the ranch’s unique windmill blinds by 2:30 p.m. in a slab-wood structure that protects the machinery of the windmill; but also provides the perfect cover to conceal a ground blind. 

 The single downside of the setting  is that the only vista is directly ahead, overlooking the waterhole and beyond.  Mike, however, cleverly selected a blind with a zippered opening in the roof, which allowed me to stand and poke my head through the top of the blind providing a clear 360° view of the surrounding countryside.  Experience quickly taught me that the antelope found nothing threatening about my big head poking out of the structure that they accept as a permanent part of the windmill. That first afternoon, the only animal that came into the waterhole was a shooter buck that caught me with camera in hand shooting Meadow Larks that bathed in the pond.  It was the first afternoon so I didn’t even pick up my bow, but instead shot as many photos of the old goat as I could.  

 The next morning I was in the blind before sunrise, ready to lower the boom on the first Billy that wandered it for a drink.  As I glassed the area at first light, I saw antelope all around me; all far away, but there, nonetheless.  The waterhole is located in a shallow bowl that was perhaps a mile long and half a mile wide. The lowest part of the bowl was covered by high grass that had turned as brown as the surrounding pasture from a lack of rainfall.  Were it not for the windmill with its rotary energy filling the waterhole, there probably would not have been and animal for a mile.  But the area around the pond was green and prosperous thanks to the towering pump that noisily sucked the water from the deep recesses of the earth.

 All day long I glassed a shooter buck on the south side of the bowl; it was so far away, I could barely see it with the naked eye.  It would eat and then bed down; then it would rise, eat some more and bed down again.  This went on until 4:30 pm when it finally headed across the bottom in the direction of the windmill.  At times it completely disappeared into the tall grass, but then would magically reappear as it continued in my direction, albeit at a very slow pace.

 Adrenaline began to pollute my system as I monitored the buck’s advancing progress from the skylight of the blind.  When it was just about step out of the tall grass, I sat down, grabbed my crossbow with quaking hands and waited for it to appear in my shooting window.  The antelope took its sweet time about it; apparently it was in no big hurry to die.  When it came around the blind it walked quickly to the water’s edge and began taking long, noisy slurps of the refreshing liquid while providing me with a standing broadside shot. 

 I brought top reticule of the scope to the goat’s rib cage, steadied the bow by resting my elbows on my knees, then slowly squeezed the trigger until the bow noisily spit its projectile at the watering buck.  The alert animal almost spun out of the way of the arrow, but the bow was too fast and the distance too short for it to make good its escape.  The turning motion of the antelope caused the arrow to enter further back than intended, but because of the angle of the twisting body it exited further ahead having the same effect of a quartering away shot; it sealed the fate of the hapless pronghorn.  It trotted about fifty yards, stopped and then collapsed within a few short minutes.

 I waited until the head lay motionless then went to retrieve my vehicle.  Once back at the blind, I took some photos, dressed the goat and then drug it to the water hole to wash it out.  Once it was squeaky clean, I posed the critter, shot some photos of me with the goat using the camera’s 10 second timer.  When I had the photos I needed, I took down the blind, packed my gear into the jeep, policed that area and then went to get Mike to help me transport the animal back to the ranch so that I could get it on ice ASAP.  It had been a very good day.
 A very special thank you is extended to George LeBar and Mike Judd for their kindness and support in making this hunt and photo safari most memorable and productive by sharing the Lebar Ranch. 




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