Traditionally, archery hunters have opted for a tree stand, an elevated hunting position to achieve a better vantage point on approaching game. Hunting blinds are not new to the archery scene, although it depends on your definition. Ground hunting blinds have been used for centuries to hide from game. Today, blinds are much more advanced at concealment and are a staple when archery hunting for turkeys or other specific species.
If you trying your hand at archery hunting whitetails from a pop-up hunting blind, there are a few things you should consider. After selecting the right hunting spot, avoid these five mistakes when hunting from ground blinds for deer hunting this season.
Hunting Right after Setting up a Ground Blind
As the days draw closer to hunting season, you are in preparation mode getting your tree stand hunting accessories ready and determining where to position your stands and hunting blinds. Do not let time creep up on you and wait until the last minute to set up your deer hunting blind.
Deer have a defined home range, a core area where they feed, bed and move within for most of their time. Deer in a particular area know when something is out of place. Putting up a ground blind for bow hunting only days before hunting sends a red flag to deer in that area that something is up. They have little time to become accustomed to this “new” object in their territory. Ideally, you want to deploy your blind more than a week before you plan to hunt out of it. This gives deer plenty of time to adjust and become comfortable with it in their area.
Sometimes this is not an option. For instance, on public land putting a deer hunting blind set up early may lend itself to theft or damage from other hunters. In addition, you may have to change spots during the season based on changing deer patterns, like during the rut, and you cannot wait days to hunt from it. In both of these cases, position the ground blind for bow hunting in such a way in the surrounding habitat that covers it as much as possible. Also, do your best to brush in the blind to make it concealed and as natural as possible to keep it out of sight of others and more importantly deer.
Concealed but Not Concealed
Quality hunting blinds manufactured today come in a variety of camo patterns, which makes them blend in better than ever. However, many hunters think that this exterior camo is enough when it comes to concealment. The fact is ground blinds by themselves are a large, visible object sitting in the woods. Their outline and footprint alone makes them hard to conceal.
The solution is to brush in the ground blind for bow hunting as much as possible where you have it positioned. The goal is to make the blind part of the landscape. First, position it against a natural backdrop like thick timber, heavy brush or an edge. Then, use the surrounding vegetation to fold it into the habitat you are hunting. Use tree branches and leaves to conceal your pop-up hunting blind and break up its outline as much as possible to approaching deer.
Forgetting About Scent
Just like your clothing, scent can be a major factor when it comes to your hunting blinds. Blinds that are constructed from fabric. The fabric can and will hold scent whether it is from your truck, from you or from where you stored it since last season. To avoid being winded, you not only have to make sure you are scent free but you also have to make sure your blind is as well.
Even if you have tried to store your blind in an area that has no heavy scents, like those found in garages or musty basements, you still want to air it out outside before the season. Be sure to clean off any dirt or stains that may hold odor with scent free soaps. Do not forget about the storage bag too. The worst thing you can do is deodorize you deer hunting ground blind only to put it back into a dirty, stinky carry bag. Leaving the blind outside, or like in the first tip well in advance of hunting from it, you can help reduce any scent it may be carrying.
Pop-up Hunting Blinds on Deer Trails
The blind is no different than a tree stand when it comes to positioning it properly. Often hunters want to be as close to a well-traveled deer trail as possible to make a bow shot. Avoid this temptation. Having your blind directly on a deer trail is a red flag for an approaching deer that something is not right, even with the best concealed, brushed in hunting blinds.
Strategically place ground blinds for deer hunting perpendicular to a deer trail. This will allow you to see deer approaching, be close enough for a shot but not give away your position.
Substituting a Hunting Blind for Good Archery Tactics
Relying on a blind over basic archery hunting tactics is the biggest mistake bow hunters make when hunting deer from a blind. The assumption is that the deer hunting ground blind will conceal all movements you may make, from moving to get an angle on a buck to drawing your bow. Deer can see into a ground blind at close distances. Your movements have to be calculated just as they would be when hunting from a tree stand or an open ground set. Trade out camo for black or dark clothing to better blend into the inside of the blind. Also, only open enough window panels that are necessary to see in the right directions. Both of which can help conceal movement in the blind.
Furthermore, understand the limitations of hunting blinds. Do not assume the only way to hunt from the ground is by using a blind or that a blind works in every hunting situation. Open hunting spots make the blind more visible and lend themselves to alternative solutions like pure ground hunting or a properly placed tree stand.
In conclusion, deer hunting from a ground blind is a great option for archery. It is, however, quite different than hunting from a tree stand. By avoiding these five ground hunting blind mistakes, getting an opportunity at a buck from one of your hunting blinds is certainly possible this October.