Comparing Bale Blinds and Ground Blinds for Hunting
The ground blind has quickly become one of the best setups a hunter can employ. Ground blinds for hunting are well known for waterfowl hunting, but they also have numerous applications for hunting deer and turkeys.
One recent innovation in the ground blind has been the bale blind. Hay bale blinds are a special case of a standard ground blind. Bale blinds for hunting are designed to mimic a large round hay bale common in many fields across the county. Wildlife, especially deer, turkeys, and waterfowl are used to seeing these large structures as they go about their day. As such, they provide exceptional cover for an ambush when hunting agricultural areas.
So what is the difference between a bale blind and the more traditional pop-up hunting blind? When should you use a bale blind over other ground blinds? These are common questions hunters are asking and something we are going to explore in more detail by comparing the two in different hunting situations.
Comparing Bale Blinds and Pop-up Ground Blinds
Ground blinds for hunting come in many shapes and sizes. By far the most popular and most used is the pop-up ground blind. This is the traditional tent style ground blind made from light, durable and weather resistance camouflage fabric. These pop-up blinds for hunting are easy to carry and deploy making them very effective in a wide range of hunting locations.
Three Advantages of Pop-up Ground Blinds:
- Lightweight and mobile
- Can be used in various habitats
- Easy and fast to deploy
Hay bale blinds, in contrast, are a type of hunting blind just as the name suggests. They mimic a large round bale of hay in a field. Because of their design and appearance, they represent a more natural element to wildlife than a large, dark-colored camouflage block in the middle of an open field. One of the biggest problems with other pop-up ground blinds is that even though you as the hunter are concealed, the blind itself sticks out like a sore thumb to wildlife. Hay bale blinds solve this problem when hunting fields and food plots.
These types of ground blinds for hunting are larger with a shell made from a durable, weather resistant denier and dull burlap colored fabric. Similar to other ground blinds, there are various openings for shooting and a blackened interior to conceal movement.
One misconception with using bale blinds for hunting is that they will be just as ineffective as other hunting blinds in open fields where there is or never was real round hay bales. On the contrary, the design works in open areas and is one of the best waterfowl and turkey hunting blinds you can hunt from.
Three Advantages of Bale Blinds for Hunting
- Conceal better in agricultural settings
- Larger than pop-up blinds
- Versatile enough to be used for deer, turkey, and waterfowl
Ground Blinds for Hunting and the 3 Factors That Help You Choose
There are three factors when considering between bale blinds and other ground blinds. The first and most important is the type of area you will be hunting. Hay bale blinds work best in open terrain like an agricultural field, right-of-way or food plot. In contrast, a pop-up blind excels in more wooded terrain, in cover, and along field edges. The second factor is mobility. Bale blinds are larger and heavier in most cases and require slightly more setup time. This can be a factor if you have to reposition during the course of a hunt. In these circumstances, a more portable turkey hunting blind that can easily be broken down and moved fits the bill better. Finally, the last factor is what you are going to be hunting. Below we will discuss the best ground blinds for hunting deer, turkey and waterfowl.
Deer Hunting Ground Blinds
Ground blinds for deer hunting work particularly well in two instances. The first is archery hunting from the ground. You may have an area with limited trees for a stand or you need to be in an exact spot to trick a mature buck. Either way a bale blind or pop-up ground blind will be effective. The second instance is hunting with youth hunters or less experienced individuals. A blind gives them plenty of room to move around and be comfortable while waiting for a deer to arrive.
Use a pop-up blind when deer hunting transitional areas with light cover and areas where hanging a tree stand is not realistic. The bale blind, on the other hand, is perfect for hunting over a food plot or watching a bean or cornfield. It sticks out less than a ground blind and looks more natural to approaching deer.
Turkey Hunting Blinds
A ground blind for turkey hunting gives you an advantage over an incoming gobbler. You can stay concealed much better than if you were out in the open, which helps to overcome one of the bird’s greatest assets, its eyesight. Portable turkey hunting blinds are effective when you have to be more mobile, that is changing morning setups based on moving birds or repositioning on a mature gobbler. These are also more effective when hunting in big timber where their camo exterior blends in better. The bale blind on the hand excels when hunting over food plots or agricultural fields. A bale blind for turkey hunting can also be used in well-scouted feeding areas and strut zones.
Ground Blinds for Hunting Waterfowl
In recent years, there has been a shift from layout blinds to more and more waterfowl hunters using bale blinds. A bale blind is more comfortable and easier to shoot out of than your traditional layout blind. Most have a large shooting opening at the top designed for waterfowl hunting and plenty of room inside for chairs and gear. Add in some additional brushing for concealment and it keeps you hidden as well as any layout blind. The best spots for setup include tree lines, fencerows, and field depressions.
Which Hunting Blind Wins?
The ultimate matchup between these two styles of hunting blinds ends in a draw. The answer is not an either or but rather a combination of both the bale blind and pop-up hunting blind. Ground blinds for hunting work and each type have its place and advantages when hunting deer, turkeys, and waterfowl. Chose the right one for the situation and you will have the upper hand in most hunting scenarios.