3 Common Mistakes When Bowhunting Ground Blinds
By: Heath Wood
With a massive acorn crop, two of my treestand setups that I had hung in late August were now in locations where deer movement was minimal. After looking at the weekend forecast, I knew I needed to be hunting in hopes of catching a mature buck up on his feet. Yet, deer movement was more profound in the timber. Unfortunately, I did not have a stand near the area I wanted to hunt.
When trying to make a game plan of where to hunt during the first evening of the weekend, I decided to hunt in a ground blind set up in the timber. A spot in which two steep ridges came together to form a bottleneck shape that was a natural travel route for deer. I predicted the deer would travel out of a river bottom, feeding on the thousands of acorns falling from the trees. I was confident I had chosen a good location.
I settled into my blind around 2:45 p.m. due to the fear of pushing deer out of the area. After 40 minutes, I found myself caught off guard by a mature doe standing at twenty yards. When I first saw the doe, she had already locked her eyes on me in the blind. After a few seconds of an intense stare-down, she blew and headed back into the river bottom. For the next two and a half hours, five different does, all at different times, came into the area, blew, then bolted out of sight.
Numerous times throughout the evening, I used my Hunters Specialties Windicator to determine the wind direction. Each time, the wind hit me in the face. I had no idea the cause of this sudden downturn in events. Only later did I realize I had committed three of the most common mistakes bowhunters make when hunting from a ground blind.
Too Much Movement
When most of the deer that evening came into close range, they were already on high alert because of the unusual movement that they had encountered. Four out of five of the deer that night had seen me long before I spotted them, thus the reason for them being on high alert.
When hunting deer at their eye level, it is essential to keep movement to a minimum and be cautious of every movement while inside the blind. Many hunters think that they can get by with excessive movement because they are inside of a blind even though the hunter can move more than if in the wide open, they must still be aware of head and body movement when scanning for deer. The slightest unusual movement will result in deer leaving the area.
To help minimize movement, the hunter should wear black clothing on the upper body, hands, and head. By wearing black, the hunter blends with the interior of the blind, keeping them more concealed. Another option to stay concealed is using a blind such as the Infinity 2-Person blind from Muddy Outdoors. The Infinity blind is made with an innovative shadow mesh window curtain technology that allows the hunter to see out of the blind, yet wildlife cannot see in. This creates a 360-degree view and eliminates blind spots while keeping the hunter concealed.
I am a true believer in bowhunting from ground blinds. Yet, after my hunt, I wondered why all the deer had spotted me and sensed something was wrong when they got into close range of my blind.
After reassessing my hunt later that night, I realized my blind was in the wrong location. When the deer came out of the river bottom, they first saw my blind eye level with the area they were traveling. If my blind had been down the ridge, forty to fifty yards farther, the deer would have had time to feel safe because the blind not causing an instant red flag.
When sitting up a ground blind, it is vital to brush in around it to help conceal the location. Sitting the blind in a more open area, where deer feel comfortable, is also essential.
A blind should not be used in tight situations like where I was hunting. Instead, I returned to that specific location and hung a hang-on treestand more suitable for the terrain.
Use A Blind Chair
When humans are not comfortable, it is natural to want to move and twist our bodies—sitting inside a ground blind when hunting can wreak havoc on a hunter’s body if they are not sitting in the proper chair. When sitting in an uncomfortable seat, back and leg pain are common. Add constant movement from trying to get into a more comfortable position to the mix, and it does not make for a relaxed hunt. I sat on a small tripod-style seat for four hours on my hunt. It is obvious now that in doing so, I made an excessive amount of unwanted movement that cost me a harvest.
Using a more comfortable chair that is designed to hunt inside of a blind is a must when bowhunting. A blind chair such as the Muddy Swivel-Ease XT Ground Seat is ideal for the hunter to sit comfortably for an extended period. Padded armrests, a large seating area, and 360-degree silent mobility provide the hunter with less movement and the ability to hunt quietly until that monster buck comes into close range.