Life in a Portable Deer Hunting Blind

“Boy, that’s a frigid northwest wind,” I silently complained. By carefully reducing the size of the window on my left and moving my stool back away from the opening, it began to feel warm inside. “There, that’s better. Now I can watch the entire end of this clearcut where we’ve been finding all those fresh deer tracks in real comfort. That’s certainly different. I’m glad I’m not sitting in a tree stand this morning. Keeping out of a cold wind is something I didn’t think about when I decided to try using one of these things (a camo fabric covered, tent-like, portable ground blind).

“It sure was easy to set up. It practically set up itself when I pulled it out of the bag. I wasn’t impressed by the size of the stakes that came with it, but they are definitely keeping this thing pinned down just fine in this breeze. Despite using a couple of ropes provided to tie to adjacent brush and trees in stronger winds, it’s rocking a bit, but no more than the surrounding grass, shrubs and trees. Now if it will only fool bucks and other deer into thinking it is a normal part of this landscape…”

“Hey, that’s a deer over there by that big boulder. It’s kind of dark yet. I can’t see if it has antlers. Better take a look at it with my scope. Nope, it’s a doe. A good decoy though. There, it’s looking this way. It doesn’t seem to be bothered by what it sees. Now it’s feeding. This blind has just passed its first important test. Can’t wait to see how a big buck will react. For me, that’ll be the most important test.”

Unfortunately, during our past hunting season I did not see any of the most elusive of wolf-country whitetails in our hunting area — dominant breeding bucks. Until I see one up close and acting as if my blind is a harmless bush or tree, I cannot honestly suggest such a hunting aid fools much experienced older bucks.

Though hopeful, I’m not sure a boxed-shaped object in the woods, whatever its colors, can be counted on to do this. The outline of my portable blind is mindful of a six-foot-tall spruce tree, but it doesn’t have the colors and design of a spruce tree on it, making it somewhat out of place in the woods as well. The most advantageous functions of a portable ground blind are: 1) hide a hunter’s silhouette, otherwise readily recognized by today’s mature, stand-smart whitetails, and 2) hide a hunters movements (while scanning for deer, stretching during hours of sitting and preparing to fire at a deer), otherwise also readily spotted by nearby whitetails. Though turkey hunters have been enjoying great success while using portable ground blinds without regard for using surrounding cover to disguise their blinds, my long experience with studying and hunting mature bucks convinces me this would not be advisable when hunting a buck that has survived three or more hunting seasons. In my opinion, to be effective for hunting such deer, portable blinds available today need to be masked by more than camo fabric. Because of their distinctive and unnatural shapes, they should be at least 50% masked by surrounding natural cover. I also believe the failure to do this will inevitably enable mature whitetails to quickly recognize and avoid portable ground blinds, just as they eventually did with portable tree stands. Meanwhile, though these hunting aids may or may not make older bucks easier to hunt, I do believe skillfully disguised portable ground blinds will prove to be effective for taking most other whitetails.

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In this location the ground blind sticks out like a sore thumb.

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This photo is from a different angle, in the same spot, with the blind staked down so it is more upright. However, it still sticks out. Instead, if the blind is moved back and to the left about 10–12 feet, it looks like this.

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In essence, I am trying to hide and disguise my camo blind. This will reduce your shooting window, but will improve your odds of seeing a big buck.

Don’t fold you window flaps outwards like this.

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Notice how the material reflects light in an unnatural way.

Instead, fold the flaps inside like this.

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Notice how human skin is very visible inside of the blind.

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You should always wear gloves and a camo face mask.

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This will help to make you less visible inside the blind.

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