Portable, pop-up ground blinds have come into wide use in recent years. They offer several advantages when bow or gun hunting for deer or wild turkeys.
There’s plenty of room to take a friend or family member along to share the hunt or film the action. Hunters can sit side-by-side, which makes ground blinds deal for mentoring a youth or someone new to hunting.
In the dark interior of the blind a hunter can relax, drink coffee, eat a snack, and get away with quiet conversation or subtle movements.
Portable ground blinds are light, set up and take down in minutes, and usually come with a cloth bag with shoulder straps so they can be carried into the field. They can be made to blend into any terrain — brushy fencerow, woods or overgrown field — by adding leafy hardwood branches, cedar boughs or grass to “brush in” and break the blind’s outline.
One of the real advantages of a ground blind is the ability of hunters to be concealed in an area that offers very little natural cover. Turkeys won’t shy away from a blind set up in the middle or the edge of an open field, so it’s possible to go where turkeys are feeding, set up in the dark, and intercept them after they fly off the roost in the morning.
When hunting deer, the blind must be brushed, or deer will be spooked. The blind has to blend into the surroundings or it will be noticeable to them from a considerable distance. If possible set up your ground blind a few days before you start hunting and brush it in, so that deer will get used to seeing it.
Here’s some other tips on the use of ground blinds:
* When selecting a ground blind read the specifications carefully, including floor space, height and visibility. Floor space is important if you are planning on having more than one person in the blind. The best blinds have a black interiors so bright sunlight can’t penetrate the blind material and the outline of the hunters inside are silhouetted.
* If hunting with archery equipment, select a blind that has enough room to draw your bow, maneuver around to aim and clearance to shoot. The ideal bow for hunting from a ground blind is shorter (about 30 inches axle-to-axle) than the typical hunting bow, with a lower draw weight (45 to 55-pounds).
* Before hunting, set up your ground blind in the yard and make sure the seat you plan to use is high enough so you can effectively shoot out of the blinds’ windows. Seats that swivel are worth their added cost since the hunter can quickly and quietly move a full 180 degrees into position to shoot.
* If local laws allow, practice shooting your bow out of the ground blind in the back yard. Shooting a bow accurately from a seated position takes practice and is much different from shooting while standing.
* It’s more difficult to judge distances while hunting from the ground, too. A range finder comes in handy, especially when bow hunting.
* Adjustable shooting sticks, which ensure steady aiming, come in handy when hunting deer with modern rifles or muzzleloaders.
* Light and wind create issues with ground blinds, especially when hunting deer. Position the blind so that the sun is at your back and the wind is in your face. If the blind is facing east in the morning or west in the afternoon, the sun will be in your eyes and deer will be able to easily see inside the blind.
* Despite the fact that a pop-up portable blind will keep your dry in rain and shield you somewhat from wind, your scent can be detected by deer if they are downwind.
* Early and late in the day bow hunters may have trouble seeing their bow sight pins. The fiber optics in a typical bow sight gathers ambient light so that the ends of the pins glow. In a darkened ground blind sight pins may not be visible. Bow hunters can fix this problem by adding a light source to brighten up the sight picture. Lighted pins are standard on some bow sights, and can be added to others. It also helps to user a larger peep sight, which will allow you to have a wider and brighter field of view while aiming.
* Wear camouflage clothing when the law allows, but since the interior of a ground blinds is black, it makes sense to wear black clothing on your upper body so you will be able to hide in the shadows. A black hoodie, black face mask or black hat will help conceal you inside the blind.
Hunting from the ground is exciting, too. You’ll not soon forget an eye-to-eye encounter with a deer or wild turkey.
The Club XL Ground Blind by Primos Hunting
My son, John, and I have been bow hunting deer and turkeys out of the Club XL ground blind this fall with good success.
Primos has been making and selling quality ground blinds since the mid-1990s when they acquired Double Bull, a company that produced an innovative ground blind developed by bow hunters Keith Beam and Brooks Johnson.
The Club XL is super light and roomy. The MSRP is about $215.
There’s plenty of room for us to sit facing each other (he’s left-hand and I’m right-handed) and draw our bows. At chest height the blind is 77 inches wide and there’s room to stand up if you need to stretch because the blind is 73 inches tall.
Other features we like are the straps on the ridges above all the windows to attach native vegetation so the blind can be camouflaged when needed, a soft, quiet, low-sheen camouflaged outer fabric, big shooting windows windows with hook enclosures for fast adjustment, and a dark interior.
The blind has a collapsible hub system for easy set-up and take down.
For information visit their website at: Primos.com
Art Lander Jr. is outdoors editor for KyForward. He is a native Kentuckian, a graduate of Western Kentucky University and a life-long hunter, angler, gardener and nature enthusiast. He has worked as a newspaper columnist, magazine journalist and author and is a former staff writer for Kentucky Afield Magazine, editor of the annual Kentucky Hunting & Trapping Guide and Kentucky Spring Hunting Guide, and co-writer of the Kentucky Afield Outdoors newspaper column.