Box Blind

Post Season Considerations | Box Blind Placement and Strategies

Box Blind Placement & Strategies

 

As hunters, we are always trying to elevate our game and surround ourselves with the tools and equipment that will increase our chances of success while in the field. When it comes to the post season, time allows us an opportunity to reevaluate the past deer season and make adjustments. These adjustments come in the form of new food plots, habitat improvements, new trail camera strategies, and changing the positions of your tree stands, ground blinds, and box blinds. While every single adjustment is a single piece to the bigger puzzle of a successful deer season, where the rubber meets the road so to speak is the exact placement and strategy behind where you are hunting.

We have come a long way from way from the days of when a deer stand consisted of 2 x 4’s and railroad spikes and a ground blind consisted of a bucket with a few limbs scattered around.  Those methods were effective and still are in the right situations no doubt, however, with the modern technology leading the way, today’s hunting blinds surpass anything that sportsmen of even ten years ago could have imagined.  Today, there is a long list of hunting blinds available for purchase, however, over the last three years, box blinds have continued to grow in popularity among all hunters.  Why might you ask?  The answer is simple, box blinds become a backbone for private land hunters by offering stable, consistent, and comfortable hunting.

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Why Choose a Box Blind?

Having choices is generally a good thing, so with so many hunting blinds to choose from, why should you choose a box blind?

It is All About the Two C’s

Everyone knows that there are many factors that go into being successful in the field.  Patience, persistence, hard work, and dedication are often the four building blocks that lay the foundation for a great hunt.  However, when you get down to brass tacks to lay a solid foundation you need to address the two C’s, comfort and concealment.  The fact is, if you are protected from the elements and are able to stay comfortable even in the harshest of conditions, you can extend your hours in the field.  Having the ability to stay in the field, no matter the conditions provides you with a huge advantage.  As we all know, when the weather gets rough, typically the hunting gets exciting.

Concealment is the name of the game.  Hunting from a box blind offers the hunter with an unmatched level of concealment as compared to a tree stand or even a pop up blind.  With space and storage to spare, box blinds allow the hunter the freedom to move undetected by game.  As a hunter, when you are confident in your concealment, then you have one less thing to worry about and you can concentrate on making that perfect shot.

A solid box blind creates a reliable hunting position, no matter the weather or time of year a box blind in the right setting is always a position that produces opportunities. Without box blinds, uncomfortable hunting conditions such as below freezing temperatures, high winds, or rain will keep hunters inside. The box blind is the opportunity that you should have available on your hunting property.

A Worthy Investment

Hunting is a very gear intensive activity, and as result, sportsmen have come to have high expectation of their hunting equipment. If you spend your hard earned money on a piece of equipment you want that piece of equipment to last and function for many seasons.  You expect it to withstand the elements, and you ultimately expect it to have a positive impact on your overall hunting experience.  Without question, a well-constructed box blind will check all of those boxes and much more.  The typical lifespan of a well-constructed box blind can be well over 15 years. A deluxe box blind that is feature driven that far exceeds what most box blinds entail can last even longer. What should you look for in a box blind? Check below to see a score sheet to judge a box blinds features before the buy.

 

Box Blinds, Food Sources, and Placement Strategies

One of the best attributes of a box blind is that they can literally be deployed in just about any setting or location.  From wide open range land to heavily wooded ridges, it doesn’t matter, you can use them anywhere.  Although box blinds are very adaptable to a wide range of conditions and situations, exactly where you choose to place your blind can often make all the difference.  There are certainly locations and settings that are more conducive for box blind hunting than others, and understanding how best to use your box blind is certainly an important piece of the puzzle.

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Box Blinds & Food Sources

Without question, one of the most popular locations to set a box blind is within close proximity of a food source.  These may be large Ag fields or small food plot locations. The pull and reliability of food goes hand in hand with box blinds. The pair creates an excellent location for hunting for a variety of reasons.

By in large, Ag fields and food plots have several facets in common.  Both attract a wide array of wildlife throughout the course of the year, however, both Ag fields and food plots come with their own set of challenges when it comes to planning how to hunt these areas.  The smaller the area, the easier it is to utilize a wider range of deer stands or ground blinds, however, as these areas grow in size and shape it can become challenging to find a suitable stand location.

Large food plots and Ag fields are harder to hunt for a couple of key reasons.  The first is simply the lack of stand locations.  Unless there is a draw or other scattered trees throughout the field (which is highly unlikely) you will likely be restricted to hunting the field edges.  In some cases, hunting the field edges can be very effective, especially if you are packing some firepower.  Things change significantly once you put down the rifle or slug gun and pick up your archery equipment as your effective range is cut dramatically, as it can only take a few seconds for your hit list buck to go from in range to out of range.

The second and albeit most common scenario is simply that the game you are after is utilizing the center of the field, and there just isn’t a good opportunity to hunt an “edge set”.  In larger fields, wildlife like white-tailed deer and wild turkeys will often utilize the center of these large food plots and Ag fields for a number of reasons.  For starters, they can see for a great distance, so they tend to feel safer knowing that they can see danger coming, and have time to escape.  Secondly, the center of the field often has more waste grain than the edges.  Field edges are typically less productive and thereby can sometimes have less food available.  The same holds true in a food plot scenario, as forage quality typically increases the closer you get to the center of the plot.

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If you find yourself in this situation, there is a good chance that you are going back to the drawing board in an effort to figure out a way to effectively get to where you need to be in the field, and hopefully, fill a tag.  Clearly, a deer stand is not the answer.  A tripod stand does have its advantages and can be effective in these situations however they are typically more effective when used in close proximity to cover as the structure and cover helps break up the outline and silhouette of the hunter.

Pop-up blinds can work in these settings.  They have proven to be effective time and time again for harvesting game in the open country; however, they do come with a certain set of challenges.  In open landscapes with high winds, using a pop-up blind can be difficult.  Though they are built tough, it can be hard for them to hold up to a high level of sustained wind and as a result, high winds can often restrict your ability to hunt and when your numbers of days available to hunt are limited you need to make every day count.  Probably most important, however, is visibility.  Most pop-up blinds are utilized directly on the ground, and as a result, a little topography or roll in the landscape can make it difficult to see and harvest game.

Box blinds are the absolute perfect solution for hunting in these types of locations.  Box blinds, when used in these types of locations offer you an elevated vantage point which minimizes the impact that any topography may have, and will help you to keep a keen eye on the animals in the field.   Having an elevated shooting position always affords a hunter a much easier shot window with both archery equipment as well as a firearm.  As has already been mentioned, the level of comfort and concealment you get when hunting from a box blind is unmatched.  Having the ability to move without being seen is often a critical part of being successful in the field, and no other hunting blind or stand gives the level of concealment that a box blind can provide.  Probably most important, however, is just how durable these hunting blinds are.  A box blind can handle a wide range of weather conditions, and allow you to stay in the field hunting rather than forcing you to call it a day.

TP1-9-17 from Muddy’s Trophy Pursuit on Vimeo.

Box Blind Placement Tips

Having the ability to monitor every inch of the food plot or Ag field allows the hunter to spot any wildlife that happens to slip into the plot or field, regardless of the topography or cover.  With visibility being so important, placing your box blind in an area that will increase your ability to see as much of the area as possible is important.  Although this tip may seem obvious, the fact is there are better places to place your box blind than others and sometimes we as a hunter have pre-conceived notions as to where we will place our hunting blinds and do not do a good enough job reading the area.  When this happens, we end up placing the blind in a suboptimal location, which inevitably costs us an opportunity.

Look for the High Spot

Before you set your box blind, take a good hard look at the area you are planning to hunt.  At first glance, it might all look the same however if you pay it a second or even a third glance there may be slight rolls or high points in the field that could offer an increased vantage point.  Remember the more height you have, the greater your visibility can be.  It is important to remember that the highest point in an area is typically the area that receives the most wind, so be sure to anchor your blind accordingly.

Path Most Traveled

Scouting is always the name of the game, and putting your trail cameras to good use can really pay off when it comes to setting up your pop up blind.  Having an understanding as to how wildlife enters and exit the field, and where the primary trail locations are can be excellent information to have in your back pocket as you begun to set up your box blind. You want to be close to these areas if you can, however, always keep visibility in mind, and try not to sacrifice your visibility if you can help it.  Be aware of bedding and roosting areas as well, and you would want to minimize any disturbance to these areas.

Although it is important to understand where wildlife enters and exit the food plot or Ag field you are hunting, it can be even more important to understand where they tend to spend the majority of their time while in the field.  Generally, these are better locations to establish your box blind set then along a major trail or travel area.

Entry and Exit

Without a doubt, developing your entry and exit strategy before you set your box blind can be one of the biggest steps in the whole process.  Developing your entry and exit strategy requires you to take an over-arching, comprehensive look at the entire set up and determines where the best blind location is, based upon all the factors available to you (visibility, wildlife use, scouting info, etc.).

Hunting in open areas like food plots or Ag fields can be a challenge, mainly because of ability for wildlife to see you coming and going.  Anytime you can take this advantage away from the game you are after it’s a plus.  Often, you can utilize topographical features like drainage ways, draws and even rolls in the field to help you make your entry and exit a little easier and a little more concealed.  If the opportunities to utilize natural features are not there, there are other options such as leaving standing grain or planting vegetative screens.  You might be surprised just how much cover can be afforded to a hunter by leaving just a couple rows of corn.  Likewise, planting a vegetative screen such as Sorghum-Sudan grass or tall native grasses like Big Bluestem can really do wonders to hide a hunter’s movement to and from the blind.

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Always give strong consideration to prevailing wind directions and what the optimal wind conditions may be for your box blind set.  Although your scent will be greatly minimized once you are in the blind, you still need to be able to get to and from the blind without spooking any wildlife life in the area, and if you are planning to use your box blind for species like white-tailed deer or pronghorn then the wind direction will should play a big part in your decision-making process.

Box blinds, like the hunters who use them continue to evolve and become more efficient and effective each and every year.  A box blind can be a sound investment for any hunter who is looking to raise their game to another level and appreciates staying concealed and comfortable each and every time they hit the field.

New 2017 Muddy Box Blind

New for 2017, Muddy introduces the Gunner box blind. The Gunner box blind is the younger brother of the Muddy Bull box blind. From the same genetic pool, the Gunner features all of the bells and whistles of its older brother, the Muddy Bull, just in a smaller package. This offers hunters the same superior quality they have come to expect from the Muddy Bull Blind, now in a smaller and more budget friendly blind! Check it out below!

NEW 2017 Muddy Gunner Box Blind

New 2017 Muddy Box Blind | The Gunner

Sit in Comfort with the New Muddy Outdoor Gunner Box Blind

Muddy Outdoors, known for exceptionally high-end and feature driven product lines, has now expanded and revolutionized their line to contain even more options!

New for 2017, Muddy introduces the Gunner box blind. The Gunner box blind is the younger brother of the Muddy Bull box blind. From the same genetic pool, the Gunner features all of the bells and whistles of its older brother, the Muddy Bull, just in a smaller package. This offers hunters the same superior quality they have come to expect from the Muddy Bull Blind, now in a smaller and more budget friendly blind!

The Muddy Gunner features:

  • Floor: Joist and Sheeting
  • Walls: Therma-Tek Panels
  • Roof: Sheeting and Plastic, Heavy-Duty Molded Roof
  • Windows: Residential Quality Glass and All Steel Hardware
  • Blind Dimensions: 4’ Square x 7’ Tall
  • Door: 30”W x 70”T
  • Windows: 33” Wide x 13” Tall

To find out more on the Muddy Gunner box blind go to www.gomuddy.com!

october deer hunting | Muddy Outdoors

2 Bucks That Show You Shouldn’t Dismiss October Deer Hunting

2 Giant Bucks That Prove October Deer Hunting Can Be Successful

What you are looking at are two bucks “Lefty” and “Danger”…and they are both examples of October deer hunting perfected. This is a smack in the face for many hunters. All too often bow hunters dismiss the first 3 weeks of October as fruitless and barren as far as deer movement and harvest opportunities are concerned. If you have up to this point been one of these hunters…the small amount of days left in October should be exploited.

The two bucks shown above and below are proof that big mature bucks can and will be brought down throughout October. If these two stories don’t change your mind about October upon watching them, will prove you might just be the most stubborn hunter in the woods to date.

Bill Winke’s “Lefty”

october deer hunting | Muddy OutdoorsOctober 19th Bill WInke had his last encounter with a buck he called “Lefty”. If you follow the Midwest Whitetail show at all, you were kept up to date with every single photo, trail camera image and video that Bill got of “Lefty”. Throughout the season Bill dove into a constant state of patterning “Lefty” with his Muddy trail cameras. In fact, in his weekly web show “Whitetail 101” featured on Muddy TV, he discussed “Lefty” on episodes, keeping an audience up to date with the buck’s home range, recent movements, and status. Even when the mature buck “Lefty” broke off his G3 on his signature left beam, Bill kept us up to date.

Midwest Whitetail’s signature, the thing the audience loves the most about the show, is that it is semi-live content. Every week, you get the latest intel, hunts, and what is coming up from the guys that are actually out there hunting. Some of this semi-live content is available on Muddy TV  under the web show name “Whitetail 101”. The weekly episode, Episode 8: October Cold Fronts, covering the hunting strategy Bill was going to be using, actually explained the scenario that led to the successful harvest of “Lefty”.

Whitetail 101 Ep9, “October Cold Fronts”

Bill’s focus for the week of hunting was to concentrate on cut corn fields. As soon as the combines rolled out, Bill went in. This tactic and information that he presented to the audience could not have proven to be any more reliable as the buck he named “Lefty” worked his way into the field.

Iowa Giant | Winke’s Quest for “Lefty

Mark Drury’s “Danger” 217 2/8” Inch Buck

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Another big name in hunting, Mark Drury of Drury Outdoors, found success with a very very impressive deer during October. Again, this particular buck was brought down with help of trail camera info. A build up of trail camera information from previous years and recent information on the bedding area where “Danger” resided, led Mark to believe that hunting the bedding area would pay off big.

After the thought, the strategy went into place Mark built a platform for, and hauled in a Muddy Bull box blind to hunt “Danger”. Mark spent a couple hours setting up the box blind, and trimming shooting lanes and set up for the day he would go in after “Danger”.

box blinds score sheet Blind | Muddy Outdoors

Takeaways From These Bucks

The takeaways from these bucks killed in October is obviously that October is a month to hunt. We all to often hear of hunters that completely dismiss October deer hunting as a “good” month of hunting, when in fact it could be the best to your specific situation. Sure October is a month of rapid change, this change is associated with homornes, weather, food sources and the changing deer movement as a result of those factors. But if you have the knowledge of how to kill a buck in October, then you can use the month of bow huting to its full potential.

This knowledge can be summed up from these two hunts that give you some amzing hunting tips for October. Bill WInke’s buck “Lefty” was killed using the information he revealed on his weekly show “Whitetail 101”. Cut corn fields, again the same information he told the audience “could pull deer off acorns during October”, led him to a successful harvest of his number one hit-list buck. But before this, with keeping up with both Midwest Whitetail and Whitetail 101, the audience viewed the entire strategy laid out behind the deer and the hunt that day. Years of trail camera information suggested not only the buck’s personality, but his home range depending on the month and time of the year. This supplied Bill with information to where the buck “Lefty” might be bedded, giving Bill the intel he needed to stay out of the area.

The biggest mistake hunters can make in October is being carelessly aggressive after a buck. Going after a buck is one thing, but being careless in you scent strategys, entry and exit routes, noise, and stand setup will ruin the hunt and your chance for the deer. Bill took extreme caution on this buck. This mostly came with his trail camera strategies, not being to invasive with his placement, wearing rubber waders while checking cards, and keeping the pressure off the buck.

Mark Drury used the same strategies with his buck “Danger”. The trail camera intel was invaluable, but his hunt brings with it a new factor that you absolutely should be paying attention to this time of year. Mark looked for an October cold front, just like the one that is explained and laid out in the blog: Deer Hunting October Cold Fronts. With a cold front pushing cooler temperature and a rise in pressure, Mark planned to go in for an aggressive hunt. The combination with the weather and an optimally placed Muddy Bull box blind came together for the harvest of the number one hit-list buck “Danger”.

Both of these giants are tangible evidence that October is more that a month to sweep under the rug. Each and every week we bring you new, “fresh” content on our semi-live, always available channel, Muddy TV. You will find several shows giving you the latest hunting observations, how tos, and tips for each week of hunting! October is not over, now is the time to get aggressive and go after the bucks, with of course the tips and tactics you have learned today.

the right way to use hunting safety harnesses for different tree stands | Muddy Outdoors

The Right Way to Use Hunting Safety Harnesses

The What, When, Where, Why, and How of Hunting Safety Harnesses

We all probably have that old-school hunter in our deer camp every year. You know the type. They have hunted deer in the same plaid clothes, with the same wooden platform tree stands, and with the same gun for forty plus years. It’s pretty much impossible to convince them to change their ways, no matter how much you try. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, right? Heck, maybe we’re even describing you. Nowhere is this truer than with hunting safety harnesses.

Most of the hunters in the above group would rather climb into their tree stand and hunt like they’ve done for decades. They’ve made it this long using their approach, so why stop now? At many deer camps all across the country, you’ll probably still get a fair amount of heckling for admitting you use a hunting safety harness. Not at all to bash the hunter we described above, but many don’t see the value of them and only see the potential setbacks in their minds. For example, many hunters believe that harnesses are too awkward to wear, are uncomfortable, or just take up too much space and time to hunt very effectively.

Seems legit on the surface, but let’s dig a little deeper. Is it wrong to want to add a dose of safety to an inherently dangerous activity (i.e., tree stand hunting)? While rare, a fall from a tree stand could mean a trip to the emergency room or worse. You owe it to your family and friends (not to mention yourself), to wear hunting safety harnesses when you’re hunting. And not just that. You should also be wearing one when you hang your tree stands or climb into them too. So open your minds and listen up hunters of all types.

Hunting Safety Harnesses | Muddy Outdoors Teasers
(video) – The undoubtedly most important aspect of deer hunting is safety. Besides firearms safety, climbing up in tree stands is the most dangerous part of your hunt. Stay safe on the way up, and during the hunt with Muddy’s innovative and advanced hunting safety system designs, the hunting safety harnesses in Muddy’s line is enhanced with the exceptionally high-end features and unwavering quality that it has always been known for. As tradition continues, Muddy endeavors to exceed limitations for tree stand safety and raise the bar on expectations through innovation, experience, and commitment. If you are looking for hunting safety harnesses and tree stand safety harnesses, check out Muddy’s Safety Systems Line.

 

Basic Principles of Tree Stand Safety

Taking your hunting safety harnesses and tree stand safety seriously from the very beginning is really important, for the reasons stated above. Just like with firearm safety, there are a few basic rules or principles you should always follow. The Treestand Manufacturer’s Association (TMA) has some specific safety guidelines that sum these rules up very nicely.

Understanding Your Hunting Safety Harnesses

Before using your harness, always make sure to read the manufacturer’s specific tree stand safety harness instructions about proper use and other warnings. Make sure you know how to use a tree stand safety harness before going into the woods, so you don’t have to guess at the right way to do it. Also spend time before the season starts inspecting your hunting harness for any signs of wear (e.g., fraying ends, loose stitches, etc.) and replace items as needed instead of trying to milk one more year out of it. Most people aren’t aware that these harnesses do expire at some point.

Always Stay Connected

As we stated above, it’s important to stay connected to the tree from the moment your boots leave the ground to the moment they’re back down. Any time in between, you should have at least one safety harness system connecting you to the tree, and maintain three points of contact with it (e.g., two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand) while climbing or keep both feet on the platform while up in the tree.

The Myths of Hunting Safety Harnesses Debunked 

We mentioned a few of the concerns that some hunters have with using a hunting tree harness. But how true are they really? Let’s look at a few to check out the evidence.

Does it take a little more time to dress in a tree stand safety harness and secure yourself to a safety line? Yes, a little. But you can put your Muddy treestand safety harness on when you’re at the vehicle or house and not really even notice you’re wearing it. It just becomes part of your hunting clothes. And as far as clipping into your safety line, it only takes a few seconds with the one-hand carabiners that Muddy Outdoors® uses.

Does it add a little more bulk to your hunting clothes? Sure, but barely. Again, hunting safety harnesses are actually pretty comfortable. You can slip them on over the top of your hunting camouflage or wear it beneath. Whatever’s more convenient for you.

Won’t a safety harness for hunting just get in the way? Not if you don’t let it. For example, keep your tree strap above your head far enough so that it’s fairly snug when you’re sitting down. That will produce the shortest fall distance if you were to suddenly slip out. But if you find that too restricting (e.g., if you’d like the option to bend down or kneel), lower your strap a little until it’s where you want it to be. Similarly, if you think your harness tether strap will get in the way when you’re taking a bow shot, plan ahead. Make sure your tree stand is facing a direction you’re pretty positive the deer will come from. Rotate your body so that you keep the tether strap away from your bow arm. You can use a bow hunting safety harness very effectively.

Ask yourself this the next time you’re running late and tempted to climb into your tree stand without a hunting harness: is getting into your tree stand a few more minutes ahead of schedule really worth your life? We don’t think so either.

Different Hunting Safety Harnesses for Different Tree Stands

Depending on which type of tree stand you primarily use, you should be using a different strategy for getting into them safely. Take a look below and see the best way to install and hunt in the following types of tree stands.

the right way to use hunting safety harnesses for different tree stands | Muddy OutdoorsLock On Stands

This kind of tree stand can offer amazing hunting opportunities, due to the slim profile and element of surprise. But they can also be a little dicey to hang and hunt without using the right hunting safety harnesses. A lot of hunters hang them without any type of fall protection harnesses but then connect to the tree once they’re in it. To really be safe, you need to be connected at all times (remember the rules above?).

As you start hanging ladder sections, you can use what’s called a Lineman’s Rope that loops from both sides of your harness around the tree to keep you close to the trunk. This basically acts as your third point of contact with your two legs, freeing your arms up to pull more ladder sections up and secure them and the tree stand to the tree.

After the ladder sections and tree stand are hung and safely secured to the tree (but before you climb into your stand), you should wrap a tree strap around the tree, above where you intend to sit. The distance from your tree strap to the base of your harness should be short enough to produce a taut tether line. To this strap, you can then attach your safety line for repeated visits. Attach your tether strap carabiner to the safety line and then step into the tree stand to cut any remaining branches or firmly seat it.

Climbing Tree Stands

the right way to use hunting safety harnesses for different tree stands | Muddy OutdoorsSimilar to the lock on stand discussion above, climbing stands can be very productive to hunt out of, especially over a secluded hunting plot. But there are a few basic safety guidelines. Since you’ll be climbing the tree at the same time your stand is going up, you should use a lineman’s rope to keep you close to the tree trunk again. But that won’t necessarily stop you from plummeting to the ground. To be really safe, you could also use a tree strap that you adjust to always be above you as you climb. Attach your Safe Line to the tree strap, attach the carabiner to your harness to the built-in prusik knots on the safety line, and keep the prusik knots above you at all times. The prusik knot allows you to easily move them up and down, but will quickly tighten if you were to fall.

After each incremental step up you take, firmly seat the stand into the tree. Then raise the prusik knots and tree strap as far up as you can safely reach. Climb again and repeat. If you’re going to use the same tree during the season, you could leave your tree strap and safety line in the tree top. When you return with your climber, you can simply attach to the safety line and start climbing more smoothly.

the right way to use hunting safety harnesses for different tree stands | Muddy OutdoorsLadder Stands

While you can’t exactly attach a safety line as you’re installing ladder stands, you could use a very large lineman’s rope to hold you safely to the tree as you climb it the first time. Before you leave the ground, you should make sure that the seat is nestled tightly against the tree trunk and that the bottom straps are secured around the tree. By using a lineman’s rope around the tree stand and tree, you could have some additional security as you near the top of the stand.

Once the ladder stand is secured in place with ratchet straps, you should immediately wrap a tree strap above the stand and attach a safety line. First, you should clip into the safety line using the procedures described above. The Crossover Combo harness comes with six convenient pockets to hold gear as you’re climbing. The extra padding on the shoulders and back make it very comfortable and probably the best tree stand safety harness for hunting all day. At the end of the hunt, drop the free end of the safety line down to the base of the stand. You should attach the rope to the stand so it’s not waving around in the wind, which could get tangled in nearby brush or spook deer.

Box Blinds

If you’re hunting in a box blind or tripod, you’ve found the one exception to hunting safety harnesses, since there’s nothing to secure yourself to. In these cases, simply make sure to take your time as you climb into them. The consistent root causes of people falling out of tree stands of any type are that they were rushing to get in or out of them and missed a step, or they didn’t maintain three points of contact while climbing or descending. You don’t have to be in a hurry.

the right way to use hunting safety harnesses for different tree stands | Muddy OutdoorsIt’s Time to Use Hunting Safety Harnesses 

If you fit into the “old dogs” group above or if you just haven’t tried them before, it’s time you consider using fall protection equipment when you’re hunting; not only when you’re hunting, but when you’re hanging your stands too. It doesn’t take much time, it’s comfortable, and it could save your life.

should you be bow hunting deer in farm country | Muddy Outdoors

Should You Be Bow Hunting Deer in Farm Country?

How Does Bow Hunting Deer in Agricultural Areas Rank?

Imagine a hunter sitting in a tree stand bow hunting deer. As the hunter perches above a field edge, you can see deer after deer entering a beautiful soybean field. The deer happily graze the last few green leaves as harvest season approaches and the beans are drying out. Among the herd, a giant velvet buck

raises his head, oblivious to the hunter only 30 yards away. Everyone who watches outdoor television can probably relate to this familiar scene. For those who don’t have access to agricultural land, it’s likely a dream to be in this situation. What is it about big “farm country bucks” that holds our imagination so much?

Before we get into that discussion, let’s define what we’re talking about. Agricultural areas are very different than wooded wilderness areas. For the purposes of this article, we’ll define farm country as anywhere where agriculture makes up at least half of the land use. That means lots of human disturbance on the landscape, and lots of open areas. Compare that to remote, densely forested wilderness areas, and bow hunting for whitetail deer is a whole different ballgame. So why is hunting farmland so appealing and are there any down sides to it?

Challenges of Bow Hunting Deer in Farm Country 

One of the best things about hunting whitetails in agricultural areas is also one of the hardest parts. Each year, there is a seasonal abundance of food. During the summer and early fall, deer can graze away at corn, soybeans, or hayfields until they’re absolutely full. This can make patterning bucks a little difficult when there is similar quality food everywhere. Similarly, once harvest season comes and farmers head to the fields, all of this food disappears almost overnight. Thousands of acres of high-quality, carbohydrate and protein-packed crops literally turn into bare soil and wide-open exposures. At this point, usually in late fall, bow hunting deer can get really hard without an alternate source of food around. Whitetails still have to eat. In fact, rut-weary bucks need a major amount of calories to gain back some weight and make it through the winter, so they will seek food out wherever they can.

should you be bow hunting deer in farm country | Muddy Outdoors

Another issue with hunting farmland whitetails is access. Many public hunting lands consist of forested tracts or open grassy areas. But there are very few publicly-available agricultural properties. Some state agencies will plant food plots for deer and other wildlife, but it’s definitely not the norm in most places. So unless your family owns some crop land or you have some generous relatives or friends, you’ll likely have to lease a property or get permission from a land owner to hunt. Depending on where you live, this could be tricky.

One other challenge with farm country bucks is stealth. Because crop land is so open and exposed, having some variety of tree cover or topography is important for bow hunting deer. Without that kind of cover, it can be hard to sneak into and out of tree stands without deer spooking in every direction. For example, you might be able to sneak into tree stands for bow hunting on a corn field in the afternoon. But try sneaking back out in the evening with eyes watching you from potentially every direction. All you’ll accomplish is educating the deer herd on your intentions. And that definitely won’t help you out.

Rewards of Bow Hunting Deer in These Areas 

should you be bow hunting deer in farm country | Muddy OutdoorsThough we’ve touched on the potential setbacks you could have with farmland whitetail archery hunting, there are a lot of rewards with it too. As we already mentioned, deer in these farmed areas have an amazing seasonal abundance of calories. Row crops like corn and soybeans are most commonly planted in these areas, but longer-lasting alfalfa/clover hay fields also provide a lot of forage throughout the year. They use these foods to grow larger bodies and antlers than many other deer across the country. That’s why states like Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois have consistently high entries into the Pope and Young records. And if you’re hunting deer in agricultural areas, you could stand a chance at joining this crowd.

Another nice thing about bow hunting deer in these areas is that the open exposures allow us to keep an eye on the deer herd throughout the summer. Why is that important? Well, many bucks form summer bachelor buck groups and travel together often. If you get a bachelor group of bucks on your property, you can pattern them and keep tabs on their activities from a distance (say, from a county road using a spotting scope). If your bow season starts early enough, you just might be able to take advantage of this long-distance deer scouting to put you within bow range of a good buck. This isn’t an option in wooded areas with no main focal feeding point. Of course, once the corn gets tall enough even in farm country, this approach is no longer possible. So use it while you can.

How to Hunt Deer in Farm Country 

Now that we’ve talked about the ups and downs of hunting bucks in the country, let’s discuss how you could do it this fall. The first thing you’ll need to do is gain access to hunt a farm property. This process should not be taken lightly. First, spend some time looking for potential areas on an aerial map to find farms that could be good to hunt. Look for promising bedding cover adjacent to hidden farm fields or anything that might set up for a successful bow hunt. Later on, you can get more specific about where to hunt deer on a smaller scale. Then get yourself a plat book and contact the land owner. See if you could arrange to meet them in person so you’re not just a voice on the phone.

As far as how to ask someone to hunt on their land, it’s a delicate process. Be aware that most farmers have heard about a hundred different pitches and they’ve maybe even had some bad experiences with hunters. So don’t be surprised to get far more “no” responses than “yes,” and don’t take it personally. If they say no, simply thank them for their time and be courteous. As with anything in life, authenticity and respect make a difference. If you’re very respectful to them and perhaps even offer to trade some chores or venison meat for the privilege to hunt on their farm, you will stand a better chance at getting to a “yes” as fast as possible. From that point on, make sure you do whatever you say you’re going to do. Nurture the relationship by extending a helping hand or sending a card on Christmas. It will help you stand out.

As much as you’re able to, take some time and scout the property from a good vantage point over the summer. Whether it’s from a road, a hayloft, or in an observation tree stand, glass the fields with binoculars or a spotting scope in the evening to find out where the bucks are entering to feed. Try to piece together a pattern from their activities and try not to enter the woods until you absolutely have to. While deer in farm country are fairly used to tractors and four wheelers driving by, they still get very suspicious when a human walks through their territory on foot. Another way to keep tabs on the herd to know where to hunt deer is to use trail cameras on the field fringes. Be sure to only check them during the day when they are unlikely to be nearby, and pay special attention to scent control to hide your presence. If there are no suitable trees, such as in a hedge row, use the dual camera ground mount to cover a couple directions.

Hopefully by the time archery season comes, you’ll have developed a hunch as to where to hunt deer on the farm. The next step is to find a location where you could hunt them without them knowing you’re there. Wooded corners (outside or inside) bordering agricultural fields, hedgerows with some mature trees, or isolated forest islands are all good deer hunting stand locations you might want to try. If the landowner allows, using box blinds for deer hunting is a great way to stay comfortable.

should you be bow hunting deer in farm country | Muddy OutdoorsBut the single biggest predictor of success is how hidden you can stay throughout the season. If you notice that the deer aren’t traveling where you can hunt them, you shouldn’t just toss your bow hunting deer stands up and hope for the best. Instead, you need to get creative. For example, a ground blind covered in corn stalks and tucked into the rows can become nearly invisible. Make sure you’re overlooking a cut portion or you won’t have much of a shot available. Or an especially deadly tactic for hayfields is to use a hay bale blind that’s hidden amongst other round bales. After sneaking into one of these in the afternoon, you can wait in concealment until the deer pass by your location.

And as we mentioned above, even farm properties can become barren places after harvest season. Suddenly the typically larger deer herd has to compete for far fewer available calories. For that reason, either planting a food plot or negotiating with the farmer to leave some row crops standing are both beneficial. They concentrate deer in one area and can drastically improve your odds of putting a buck on the ground.

Should You Bow Hunt Deer on the Farm? 

If you can find a good property in “farm country” with a willing landowner, you should definitely try hunting it at least once. There are challenges, as with any hunting. But the potential reward of seeing a mature and healthy “corn-fed” buck that could land in the record books far outweighs the challenges with hunting them.

box blinds score sheet | Muddy Outdoors

Box Blinds Score Sheet | What to Look for In A Hunting Box Blind

Box Blinds Reviews, Considerations, and Score Sheet

Hunting box blinds can bridge the gap in many hunting situations. Whether it is a food plot, a giant Ag field, or simply a great spot for a permanent stand, box blinds are your best bet. Out of everything a hunter can possibly hunt out of, be it a tree stand, ground blind, or a brush blind, box blinds are always the most impressive and desired. Why? Simply do the fact that hunting box blinds are durable, comfortable, and above all functional. They can bridge the gap where tree stands and ground blinds cannot, giving you an elevated and concealing platform.

While hunters might, generally speaking on box blinds, think that all are “made the same”, they could not be further from the truth. When you are looking to purchase a box blind for hunting, you should be considering a multitude of factors. These box blinds factors, individually diagnosed will give you a clue to whether or not a box blind is worth the buy or not. In some cases what you pay for is and is not applicable here. Running through the following considerations will tell you what kind of hunting box blinds you should invest in.

Box Blind Score Sheet

The following list provides detailed factors that should go into your considerations before purchasing a box blind. These are basics, and will provide you with score sheet so to speak, to rate each brand and box blind you come across in your research.

Rugged Construction

Description: A box blind with rugged construction, is a box blind that can stand up to years of wear and tear, inside and out. This means the box blind must be constructed with more than just a plastic shell. Multiple layered wall panels that take into consideration warmth, insulation, noise, as well as wind and weather proofing is a point added in the right direction. While this should be a given, inspecting a box blind’s construction process and the materials it is built with is often overlooked. However, the construction of the blind is the base from which your hunt will be built upon. Quality is well worth judging in this aspect. Ultimately the base is worth some play in judgement, with 2 points, giving you the ability to assign a blind the score of a 0-2.

Points Possible: 2

Scoring: 0 = Very poor, 1 = Bare minimum, 2= Well-built and thought out

Windows

Description: Window height, size, operation, and function all need to be considered before purchasing a box blind. The ideal window in a box blind should have the ability to be operated with one hand, should be silent, should give you plenty of shooting options for both gun hunting and bow hunting, and should have a seal for weather and scent. Another consideration is window material. Plexiglass scratches easy and can warp overtime, glass however is less likely to be scratched and can be cleaned very easy when fog and weather are present. This is where differences in box blinds can stand out, as it is clear which blinds are well thought out, and which are acceptable at best.

Points Possible: 1

Scoring: 0 = Acceptable placement, material, operation, and size, 1= Well thought out placement, material, operation, and size

Doors

Description: Does the quality of the door matter? Ask yourself what is the biggest battle you face when hunting out of box blinds? Getting in and out of the blind silently! Door size and construction makes the difference for a hunt started off right by allowing you to sneak in silently. The door construction should be easy to operate, able to sit solid through any wind or weather, easy to operate, sealed for scent and rain, and of course silent.

Points Possible: 1

Scoring: 0 = Flimsy, loud, and weak, 1 = Well-built, silent, and strong

Space

Description: Space is a big deal for hunting box blinds. The majority of the time, hunters are looking into purchasing a box blind for hunting with multiple hunters. Whether it is taking youth hunters out, hunting with a spouse, or hunting with friends, you need space for multiple hunters. Space allows you to be comfortable but also have the room to maneuver for shots, and draw a bow back when needed.

Points Possible: 1

Scoring: 0 = 1-2 people, 1 = 3-4 people

Noise

Description: Box blinds need to be quiet period. Noise can amplify in a blind setting. Dropping hunting gear, dropping a window, closing the door to hard…these are all mistakes a hunter makes often. Before purchasing a box blind you should consider whether or not that noise will sound like a quiet and soft thud, or a loud amplifying noise that could potentially clear game out of the area. How do box blinds combat the noise factor? Construction and insulation that is well thought out go a long way. Simple plastic walls will be loud, but multiple insulated layers, seals on windows and doors, and carpeting throughout the blind can keep noise to a minimum.

Points Possible: 2

Scoring: 0 = No noise buffering, 1 = Slight buffering, 2 = Very quiet/great noise buffering

Scent

Description: Scent control is vital in most hunting situations, especially when hunting from an elevated box blind. How do you combat scent control in a box blind? Box blinds can combat scent control by having well-sealed and thought out blind features. The doors and windows of a box blind do not have to be necessarily air tight, but it needs to be as close as possible to seal in human odor to manage your scent properly. Being able to operate the windows with the certainty that no scent is leaking in an unwanted area is key. If scent is a great concern such as the early season, then leaving the windows close greatly reduces your scent footprint, only if the blind is well sealed. A well-sealed blind that keeps scent to a minimum could take the extra step in providing hunting opportunities such as the wrong wind direction.

Points Possible: 1

Scoring: 0 = No Seal, 1 = Sealed well

Comfort

Description: Comfort is a critical feature when it comes to selecting box blinds. Why is comfort so important? The simplest answer is that box blinds can afford to be extremely comfortable, and it is expected out of them. . Box blinds are somewhat permanent hunting settings that you expect will give you what you have paid for. This means the ultimate form of comfort and functionality. Misplaced windows, a hard platform, misplaced shelves, or a misplaced rest can make hunting slightly uncomfortable, which is unnecessary when purchasing such a large hunting setup and item such as a box blind.

Points Possible: 2

Scoring: 0 = uncomfortable, 1 = acceptable, 2 = Extremely comfortable

Box Blinds Score: _ / 10

Chances are you have been looking at box blinds, or you are currently running one through this score sheet, what did it score out of the 10 possible points?

We had two hunters run through the blind score sheet on the Muddy Bull Box Blinds. Not just any hunters however, two that have years’ worth of experience and plenty of that time spent in box blinds. Below is Mark and Terry Drurys’ review of the Muddy Bull Box Blind.

The Muddy Bull Box Blind | Mark Drury’s Review of the Muddy Bull
(Video)- Looking for the best hunting box blind on the market? The Muddy Bull Box Bind features an insulated design that provides thermal, scent and noise control. It has a lockable door, large interior, durable carpet, one hand window design, and ultra-quiet window and door latches.

The Ultimate Hunting Box Blinds | Muddy Bull Box Blind Review With Terry Drury
(Video)- The ultimate box blind for hunting needs all the bells and whistles. Features and design is critical. The box blind door, windows, scent management, sound dampening, and thermal layers all make for comfortable and functional hunting. If you are looking for the best hunting box blinds look no further, check out the Muddy Bull Box Blind!

 

The Muddy Bull Box Blind’s Score Sheet

box blinds score sheet Blind | Muddy OutdoorsMark and Terry Drury have run the Muddy Bull Box Blind through the score sheet. The Muddy Bull came out with a perfect score. See for yourself and run the Muddy Bull through the score sheet.

  • Rugged Construction = 2
  • Windows = 1
  • Doors = 1
  • Space = 1
  • Noise = 2
  • Scent = 1
  • Comfort = 2

Muddy Bull Score = 10/10

Deer season is almost upon us. As you begin to plant fall food plots, run trail cameras, and setup stands and blinds, think of an un-huntable area that could be successfully hunted with a box blind. A spot that could use an elevated platform, giving you comfort and a place to take your friends and family this fall. If you like the idea and are looking to purchase a box blind, run each consideration through this box blind score sheet. Interested in the Muddy Bull Box Blind? Before you buy, take a look at the construction process start to finish.

Muddy Bull Construction Video