Deer Hunting from Ground Blinds
Dr. John Woods 12.04.17
There is a revolution of sorts happening in deer hunting. Hunters are moving back to the ground in hordes. It is not that deer hunters are giving up their high perches in tree stands of all kinds or shooting houses, but in the past few seasons, there has been an explosion of hunters going back to ground blinds. There certainly are many advantages to hunting on the ground and not just comfort or safety.
The marketplace has also quickly addressed the demand by introducing many new models and versions of ground blinds. Most all are some type of a pop up four-sided cube shape made like so many camping tents with flex poles and slotted joints. These blinds come with pop top covers to protect hunters from the elements and a wide variety of windows that zip open, snap closed, or use hook and loops to fasten them partially open as desired. These blinds are designed for bow hunters as well as gun hunters.
The deal is though have you ever hunted out of one of these blinds? It takes some planning and a bit of trial by error to adjust to the confined space and often the narrow windows to shoot out of. It also takes some time to figure out the seating options or possibilities, especially for more than one hunter or another partner perhaps using a camera to video the hunt. Ground blinds are simply great, too, for taking kids hunting keeping them out of wind and rain.
From experience, I learned pretty quickly that long barreled deer hunting rifles are a bit more difficult to manipulate inside of a hunting blind. If the material is the least bit noisy as it is rubbed against, then use care in waving a long barrel around. The same goes for getting a bow into position, an arrow nocked, and drawing a bow. It all takes some extra special coordination. You just have to be a lot more aware as you get your weapon of choice positioned for a shot.
The best ground blind gun I have used so far has been a Marlin short carbine in 30-30 with a red dot sight for close range shots. Of course, there are endless choices for this, but a short barreled rifle sure makes sighting out of a blind easier and quicker. Naturally, traditional glass optics can work well out of a blind, too. Just open windows enough to get some light inside.
Handguns also make an ideal gun for ground blind hunting. Most shots are not that long unless the lane or food plot creates long shots. Adjust accordingly. Using a handgun in a ground blinds can be done easier if you can learn to shoot with an elbow propped up on a knee. Also when using a bipod or single shaft shooting stick like a Primos Trigger Stick as the shooting height can be easily adjusted with the trigger mechanism.
If as you shoot from inside the blind, the gun barrel is not outside of the window even a little, then expect the muzzle report to ring your ears. Consider foam ear inserts, or muffs or just keeping the barrel muzzle outside of the window when you shoot.
Try out different seating positions and a variety of chairs to stay quiet and comfortable. You’ll want a good padded seat, but a stable one with a back support so you can sit upright. I tried those fold out camping chairs with failure. They lean too far back and are too low. Once you get back in one of those it can be a task just to sit up to shoot. If you use any kind of a shooting stick, tripod, or other support then try all that out before actually trying to hunt. Work out any issues ahead of time.
Also when you buy a ground blind, shop for a brand that is waterproof. The first one I used leaked like crazy. Once when I went to hunt out of it, the chair seat was filled with water. It also leaked during the hunt. Most don’t have floors so you might want to add a ground cover or a raised floor of some kind. A wood shipping pallet can be fashioned for a floor or just add a sheet of plywood or waterproof ground cover under the blind as you set it up.
Also be sure to stake your ground blind well. The thin metal rod stakes often provided are too short and not stout enough to hold a stand down in a stiff wind. Buy regular heavy duty camping tent type stakes with the easy grab pull up ends. Some blinds come with extra tie off rope or twine lines as well. These can help keep a blind in position.
Your hunting ground blind should also be black inside, including all the walls and the ceiling. Wear dark clothing, gloves and a face mask to hide your lighted face. You might be surprised at just how far away a deer can see a face inside a blind especially if you move as they look. Mossy Oak has a new camp pattern called Eclipse that is black with patches of camo designed just for hunting inside ground blinds. As always limit your movements when deer are around.
When setting up a ground blind, pick a spot up against some natural back cover and then brush in the blind all around with fresh cut greenery, limbs, or other native cover. This will help blend in the shape and corners of the blind to the outdoor surroundings. As you stand off a hundred yards or so from the blind it should not be obvious to spot.
Each time you go to hunt in a blind it does not hurt to spray down yourself, the outside and inside of the blind with scent killer. It only takes a little whiff of human odor to spook a deer. Monitor the winds, too as always, especially as you sneak to your stand to get inside. Always remain as quiet as you can and try to limit scents from nabs, and drinks as well.
Ground blinds are an awesome way to hunt as it puts you on eye level with your game. It makes judging ranges easier, too. There are no elevations to contend with either. So, try a ground blind this season. Just be careful not to get too comfortable, lest you snooze, you lose.