Ground Blind Hunting: Getting Face to Face with Whitetailson Jul 9, 2012
Ground blinds serve many useful purposes, from allowing setting up in areas where stand trees are completely absent, to quelling the acrophobe’s fears of heights, to making bowhunting turkey almost too easy. Blinds can also be used to share hunts with a fidgety child or loved one, cut a chilling wind during frigid late seasons or contain scent at a difficult whitetail site. The modern pop-up blind provides instant concealment in a wide variety of situations, from the edge of a whitetail’s corn field to the elk’s mountain waterhole, while an old-fashioned brush blind is just as viable today as it was in Fred Bear’s day. Getting the most out of hunting blinds includes a few basic ground rules, but certainly isn’t the handicap many believe. Here’s how to proceed.
Ground Blinds offer a dark environment for bowhunters, allowing them to not only move about more freely, be also be successful when treestands are not an option.
Wide Open Bowhunting
Over the years I’ve been faced with many situations where a viable stand tree just wasn’t available. In Western Oklahoma most recently, on Colorado’s Eastern Plains, at the edge of Kansas food plots, in Texas’ thorn and prickly-pear scrub and Nebraska river bottoms with jungle-thick cover but no trees big enough to support a stand.
Wide-open areas have long remained off limits to stand hunters. The pop-up has opened an entire world of habitat to bowhunters. Obviously, a blind is meant to disguise our presence, but the sudden appearance of a pop-up isn’t likely to go unnoticed by savvy deer. Still, on open fields of cut or plowed ground, on low crops such as alfalfa, clover or soybeans, placing a glaringly-obvious blind in the middle of open ground doesn’t seem to bother deer significantly. I guess the blind’s so obviously plain to see it poses no threat, added to the fact they are used to the appearance of farm equipment in such settings. Open fields are also ideal places for blinds made to feign round bales of hay or alfalfa. These are the easiest set-ups possible – pop it up, stake it and leave it. No brushing required.
Of course, in turkey hunting placing your blind in the wide open is just as effective as one heavily brushed.
Bale blinds, available from several companies, are perfect
for agricultural settings where they look right at home.
In whitetail hunting scent management is everything. Many bowhunters are surprised to learn getting low is sometimes better than climbing higher in this regard. In fact, a ground blind can turn places where a stand offers little chance of controlling scent into an instant hotspot – those bottoms and benches and saddles where wind turns unpredictably to every point of the compass. Here’s what I’ve discovered. In low-laying areas where winds swirl and eddy to give deer your scent, digging in with a pop-up can actually seal your scent inside the blind. Where I live in Idaho we’re faced with this situation regularly. Low-laying meadows, hillside spring seeps and agricultural field edges where a stand will give you away every time but a dug-in blind makes you deadly. When I say dug in I mean that literally, scratching the dimensions of your blind and setting it aside before setting to with pick and shovel. Depending on soil type (hard or soft) and topography I might dig down to the level of the shooting ports or just a foot deep, setting the blind in afterwards and backfilling it to seal scent in.
Despite the fact that ground blinds can trap and hold odor, a good scent control plan should be followed nontheless.
This works best with blind models including zip-in floors, or at least skirting that backfill clamps tight. This also creates a lower blind profile that’s easier to brush over convincingly with scathed grass, brush or cut boughs. To make this approach work best you should close as many windows as possible, effectively sealing scent inside where it cannot reach an approaching deer’s nose.The approach works best after backing into a clump of willow or other dog-hair brush, leaving a single shooting port open to cover a meadow, farm field or water.