3 Common Mistakes When Bowhunting Ground Blinds

3 Common Mistakes When Bowhunting Ground Blinds

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.

3 Common Mistakes When Bowhunting Ground Blinds

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

 

3 Common Mistakes When Bowhunting Ground Blinds 3 Common Mistakes When Bowhunting Ground Blinds 3 Common Mistakes When Bowhunting Ground Blinds

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.

 

Wrong Location

3 Common Mistakes When Bowhunting Ground Blinds

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

3 Common Mistakes When Bowhunting Ground Blinds

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.

 

5 Reasons To Hunt From A Muddy Box Blind

5 Reasons to Hunt from a Muddy Box Blind

Hunting from elevated box blinds have changed the outdoor industry over the past few years. Many people are making the investment and adding the blind to their whitetail hunting arsenal. Still, though, many hunters refuse to climb out of their traditional tree stands. Don’t get me wrong. It is hard to beat a rut hunt in the timber out of a tree stand. There is nothing like it, but there are several other things to consider when you are looking for a successful whitetail season. Today, we are going to give you 5 reasons why you should pull the trigger on a Muddy Box Blind today!

5 Reasons To Hunt From A Muddy Box Blind

  • Scent Control – How many times have you thought you were hunting a stand where you had a perfect wind and then suddenly, the wind switches? Your hunt is now busted. Hunting out of an enclosed Muddy Box blind will help contain your scent. Do you hunt in big creek bottoms like I do? Swirling winds in creek bottoms are constantly making you second guess your hunting tactics. Sure, scent eliminating sprays and ozone generators don’t hurt, but only an airtight box blind can keep all your scent contained while in the field!
  • Comfortability – I cannot tell you how many hours I have spent in the tree stand over the years, but I can tell you that not a hunt went by where I wasn’t complaining about my backside getting tired or being too cold to sit any longer. A Muddy Box blind eliminates both issues. You can hunt longer by staying out of the harsh elements a deer season can be whether it is rain or cold temperatures, a blind will help you hunt longer and keep you comfortable as you wait for you encounter with your target buck!

5 Reasons To Hunt From A Muddy Box Blind

  • Safety – We all know that a successful hunt means nothing if you don’t make it home safely to your family. This is yet another positive aspect of having a Muddy Box Blind. There is no need to worry bout climbing a tree or ladder stand with a box blind. Muddy offers both a 10- and 5-foot tower platform with stairs and a handrail to assure your safety while entering your blind. Once in the blind you are fully enclosed and surround by walls on every side for a comfortable and safe hunt. With a Muddy box blind, you won’t have to worry about making it home to the family!
  • Family Ties – One of the greatest things about the outdoors is being able to spend time with your family. If you have a Muddy Box blind you will be able to take your entire family! Hunting from a blind is a great opportunity to introduce young hunters to the outdoors. We have already told you how box blinds can keep scent down, suppress noise and makes each hunt more comfortable. All these things are important when taking new hunters afield. The same goes for older hunters. A box blind helps allow you to hunt for many more years without the worry of climbing into a tree stand.

5 Reasons To Hunt From A Muddy Box Blind

  • Versatility – Have you ever had a spot that you were just dying to hunt, but you had no way to hunt it? You couldn’t find the right tree or maybe there weren’t any trees at all? A Muddy Box blind helps you become a more versatile hunter. Once you have a blind you can place it in that spot on your farm you’ve always wanted to hunt but didn’t know how. You can even get creative with your Muddy Box Blind and place it on a trailer for what we like to call a “Mobile Muddy Setup”!

 

It is simple…. Whether you’re a seasoned whitetail hunter targeting a specific buck or you’re just being introduced into the world of whitetails, the Muddy lineup of box blinds has something for everyone. Check them out today!

How to Kill a Late Season Last-Minute Buck

Harvest a Late Season Buck

Killing a late-season brute requires knowledge of deer behavior, knowing when to attack, and knowing when to pump the brakes

Depending on the strategies you employ and the locations you hunt, late-season hunting can be a hit or miss game. Hunting in December and January is all about striking when the time is right. Late season hunting is very similar to early season hunting in September or early October, where deer are primarily on a bed to feed pattern, and mostly in the afternoons. A stark difference from early season to late season is that deer are in survival mode come December and January. During the early season, deer are carefree, hitting green fields and enjoying the mild conditions while fattening up for autumn. Late season tends to be different. Bucks are worn down from the rut, possibly physically wounded, and desperately in need of high fat and carbohydrate foods to keep them going. Late season success will require knowledge of hunting pressure, food sources, weather patterns, and necessary gear to stay on stand during frigid conditions.

Hunting Pressure

Hunting pressure is seen as a dirty word, but without it, you wouldn’t be able to see deer. If you deer hunt, you pressure deer—end of story. When it comes to late season hunting, you should first evaluate the pressure your property has seen throughout the prior months. In high-pressure gun hunting states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania—it might be best to give your property a little break before jumping back in the tree expecting late season movement on open food sources. Of course, there are always exceptions, and maybe you have a very low-pressure property in one of those states. The key with hunting pressure is to understand how much you and surrounding landowners pressured the land you hunt, and evaluate your late season strategies from there. You cannot expect to see great late season movement if you bow hunt your property hard during the rut, then have family out and about rifle hunting with you during firearms season. Mature bucks will not likely leave your property if you still have food sources around, but they will move less often due to hunting pressure and the fact that they need to recover from the rut.

Know the hunting pressure you’ve applied to your land, and pump the breaks a little bit if need be. Patiently waiting for true late season bed to feed patterns to take place is a better strategy than guessing. Use your trail cameras during the period after rifle seasons as well, this will help you gauge deer movement.

 

Late Season Food Sources

If you have the food, you will have the deer—pretty simple. This is especially true in the late season as bucks are trying to gain back the weight they lost during the rut. Bucks will be in search of high carbohydrate and high fat food sources such as standing soybeans and corn. In the areas I hunt, corn is king during brutal winter temperatures. I find that deer crave soybeans and corn during cold temps, but corn usually wins out. Even the biggest bucks in your area may throw caution to the wayside during frigid temps and make an appearance on big crop fields.

The green food plot you saw so many mature deer on during September and October may be covered in snow during this time period. It also could be bare ground and you might be wondering why your clover, brassica, or winter wheat field isn’t seeing any deer. It all revolves around what deer need to survive. By mid-winter, green food sources usually aren’t supplying what deer need—unless it’s the only good food in the neighborhood. You may find deer hitting green food sources again when temperatures warm up, but don’t count on seeing many deer on your green plots if they aren’t tucked away next to areas of high cover, or a south-facing hill. In most cases, deer would prefer corn or soybeans to a green food plot during cold winter months. However, never say ‘always’ in deer hunting—find what works in your area and plan your late season hunting around it.

Weather Patterns

Weather patterns play a crucial role in late season hunting. Weather dictates deer movement during each phase of the season to some extent. Late season is unique in that cold and warm fronts can get the deer moving, but it all depends on the previous few days of weather. For example, if the temperature has been 40 for around three to four days straight, and then the bottom drops out and the next days high is going to be 17 degrees and clear, it will probably enhance deer movement and could get your target buck up and moving. The opposite is sometimes true during late season as well. If there have been multiple days, or even a week of extremely cold weather, warming temperatures sometimes bring good movement as well. During these warmer temps or ‘breaks’ from the freezing cold, deer take this as an opportunity to sort of ‘stretch out’ and move around, much like humans would during a break from the cold weather. Pay close attention to trail cameras this time of year to gain knowledge of weather fronts and how it affects deer movement in your area.

Late Season Hunting Gear

Late season hunters understand that clothing and gear are crucial to late season success. Although you probably aren’t logging more than 3-4 hours for each late season hunt, you still allow yourself to get cold unless you prepare. To bear the cold weather, preparing for a late season buck hunt might require you to set up a Muddy ground blind or box blind weeks in advance. Proper layering is key for being able to stay out in the elements for as long as possible. Be sure to pack a head cover, neck gaiter, and gloves—there is nothing worse than your extremities being exposed to wind and cold air. As temperatures dip below freezing, or even below zero, you will be glad you prepared and had the necessary gear to make it through your late season quests.

Final Thoughts

Late season is all about keeping tabs on the pulse of deer activity in your area. Understand the above factors and you will give yourself the best chance for success. Knowing when to strike, and when to sit back, is critical for dealing with highly pressured deer around their coveted food sources. Be adaptable and mobile to position yourself for your opportunity.

Holiday Gift Guide for Deer Hunters

The Deer Hunting Holiday Gift Guide You Need

Each holiday season, people spend an awful lot of time pondering what to get for family members and friends. While it’s good to be thoughtful about gift ideas, the process will be a lot easier when shopping for deer hunters if you use this holiday gift guide. And if you’re a hunter, feel free to nonchalantly leave this Christmas list somewhere your loved ones will notice it. Whether you’re looking for some new items for deer camp or simply want to add some new hunting gear to your collection, there are some great ideas in this hunting gift guide.

1. Pole Saw

For those with land to manage and tree stands to move around, having the right tools makes a big difference. Whether you have a limb blocking a shot from your tree stand or you just need to clean up some trees while doing timber stand improvement projects, the Muddy pole saw is the perfect companion. Its dual-purpose design allows you to use the serrated blade for larger branches and the pruners to cut smaller ones.

2. Trail Camera

Is there such a thing as too many trail cameras? We don’t think so, which is why it deserves a spot on this holiday gift guide. The Pro-Cam 16 Bundle provides everything you need to quickly put it out yet this winter or save it for next spring. Either way, the 16 MP camera takes great pictures or videos and the invisible flash doesn’t spook deer. This is a great hunting gift idea.

3. Shooting Bench

Having a sturdy and well-made shooting bench is important for sighting new rifles in or just plinking practice. The Extreme Shooting Bench has a steel benchtop and comfortable, padded seat, and the seat and top can swivel independently or in tandem. The rubber molded gun rest will keep your firearm sturdy and keep you on point. The bench is equipped with some interchangeable accessories, such as a gear hook, gear basket, and cup holder.

4. Safety Harness

If you’re willing to consider items on a holiday gift guide, there’s a reasonable chance you love the person you’re shopping for. What better way to show that than get a new safety harness for them? The Ambush Safety Harness is weighted for 300 pounds and should be used every time a hunter leaves the ground. As you do your holiday shopping, keep their well-being in mind.

5. Camera Accessories

If the person you’re shopping for wants to start filming their hunts, consider getting them a critical self-filming accessory: a camera arm. The Basic Camera Arm is a great introductory option for people to start filming their hunts. It is fully adjustable and has a quick-release mount to make things easier in the tree stand. A camera arm is a great gift idea for hunters.

6. Shooting Rail

When you have to shoot a rifle from a tree stand, it helps to have a shooting rail to keep you steady and improve your accuracy. The Muddy Universal Shooting Rail attaches to any tree stand setup and adds a layer of stability to help in that critical moment. This makes it the perfect tree stand accessory.

7. Seat

If you prefer to hunt from blinds (whether on the ground or in a tower stand), it can keep you more comfortable in different weather conditions. But to stay comfortable all day, you need a good seat. The Swivel Ground Seat is reasonably packable at only 15 pounds, and swivels 360 degrees so you can make the shot when needed. Since most hunters tend to opt for a 5 gallon bucket, this is a sure hit on this holiday gift guide.

8. Hunting Blind

If a swivel seat will impress, imagine their surprise if you got a new hunting blind for them. The VS360 blind sets up quickly and can fit a couple people comfortably. It has large windows with shoot through mesh and includes brush strips so you can quickly brush it in and disappear. Including hunting blinds on your holiday gift guide will quickly make you #1 on their list.

9. Game Cart

Depending on where you hunt and how close you can approach your hunting location, having a good way to get the deer out of the woods is an important consideration. The Mule Game Cart allows you to haul a 300 pound deer easily and the rubber coated handles make it more comfortable and ergonomic.

10. Lift System

Once you get a deer, it’s nice to have an easy way to lift it up to allow for easier skinning and butchering. The Magnum Lift System has a weight reduction pulley system to lift up to 500 pounds easily and by yourself. It has an automatic self-locking system to stop once you get to the height you need the deer.

Hunting Blinds for Kids| Tips for a Fun and Safe Hunt

Choosing the Best Hunting Blinds for Kids

Chances are pretty good that you learned how to hunt from a family member as a kid. You likely have fond memories of getting your first deer or turkey with a parent at your side. On the other hand, you probably also have some memories where things didn’t go as planned. Let’s face it, hunting with kids is not always an easy or fun thing to do. But you’ll both find that the challenges fade away with time while the good memories stand out. Here are some tips on finding hunting blinds for kids, and why they can improve your time afield with young ones. 

Youth Hunting Challenges

As mentioned, most kids aren’t usually natural-born hunters. They are loud, curious/talkative, fidgety/impatient, and have short attention spans. It requires a lot of teaching, hunting wisdom, and time afield to really practice the skills involved before they will get better at it. We need to constantly keep that in mind when we take kids hunting. If you lose your patience while youth hunting or it becomes more of a chore for them than a fun time with a parent/guardian, a kid can quickly lose interest. Given the time required for frequent bathroom breaks and their short attention spans, hunting with a kid is likely going to be much shorter than if you were solo hunting. As long as you go into it with the right expectations on your end, it can still be a great outcome and a fun time. Not to mention, it’s critical we get more kids out hunting with the decline of hunting participation rates. 

Benefits of Hunting Blinds for Kids

Given those specific hunting challenges, there are many benefits to using hunting blinds for kids. For example, compared to tree stands, hunting blinds are much safer to use. When you don’t have to leave the ground or are fully contained within an elevated blind, it removes a lot of the risk involved in hunting with a child. They are also usually much more spacious, accommodating two or more people, hunting gear, and comfortable chairs (such as the Muddy® swivel ground seat) as well. Nobody likes to be cramped, but especially kids. Third, blinds can hide your movement, sound, and scent (to some extent), which are all positive things when taking kids out. Many children just can’t hold still for very long, and their fidgeting is obviously not a good match with deer or turkey hunting. Blinds conceal that movement and will also help to muffle the sound of their many questions (and your patient answers). Depending on what kind of hunting blind you are using, it can also contain your scent and stay warmer so you can hunt longer without spooking deer. 

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Different Hunting Blind Options

Choosing a hunting blind can be intimidating sometimes given the range of options out there, but if you really want to focus on hunting blinds for kids, you can use these challenges and specific benefits above to make the selection process simpler. Here are three primary types of deer hunting blinds to consider, and how each of them works for youth hunting.

Box Blind

A box blind, such as the Muddy Bull, can be placed on the ground or elevated on a tower/platform for increased visibilityInsulated box blinds protect you well from the wind and weather, allowing you and your child to stay warmer. If you hunt firearms seasons in northern states, cold and miserable weather is basically a guarantee, so it’s a great way to let your kid experience it while not being miserable themselves. They also usually have sealed windows to keep scent contained and muffle your sounds. With a silent swivel chair, kids can have a great and comfortable time hunting. That being said, box blinds are not very mobile and so it is best to position one of these in a spot you know will offer great hunting action once the weather cools down and you plan on needing hunting blinds for kids. 

Ground Blind

Most ground blinds are normally lightweight, pop-up designs that allow you to be mobile pending the deer action. Since kids can be impatient, this is a nice feature. If you can keep the blinds where they can see a fair amount of deer traffic, they will stay interested – even if it’s just does and fawns walking by, it’s a great way to teach them how to calm their nerves. If you want, some ground blinds can also be elevated onto a platform as well, but most are simply used at ground level. As far as ground blind tips, it always helps to brush your blind in and leave it out for a few days before you hunt it. This will help maximize your chances of connecting with an animal while your kid is with you. Considering what to wear in a ground blind, make sure you and your child match the inside of the blind, which is usually black or dark. That way, any movement a deer might see inside is hidden even further. Of course, the Muddy 5 Sider conceals your movement extremely well by using dropdown windows with camo patterns and shoot-through mesh. 

Bale Blind

A bale blind is a variation of a ground blind, specifically focusing on the shape, color, and texture of a common agricultural field feature: a round hay bale. In farm fields and meadows, deer are used to seeing bales scattered across fields, so they don’t even question it – particularly when there are other actual hay bales in the field. When considering hunting blinds for kids in farm country, especially after hay fields have been harvested, the Muddy Bale Blind is a great option. It conceals your movement and allows you to get close to the deer action. When sitting adjacent to a line of other bales, bale blinds can also allow you to sneak in and out of the blind when deer are out in the field. 

As far as the best hunting blinds for kids, it all depends on your hunting preferences and your kid’s personality. If you know that your kid is particularly impatient or the weather forecast looks bad, an insulated and comfortable box blind is probably your best bet. But if you want to move closer to the action, the weather is nice, and your kid seems able to stay calm, a ground blind or bale blind can be perfect too. What’s most important, though, is that you take your kid – even if it’s only for an hour after school. If you keep it fun for them, it will make a lasting memory for both of you. 

Summertime To-Do List For Hunting Season

Getting Ready For Fall

It’s hot!  With heat indexes soaring near triple digits in much of the country, that last thing on your mind might be the fall deer hunting seasons.  Preparing for them shouldn’t be, however.  Regardless of the heat and humidity, if you expect to have success this fall, then you’d better get busy checking off the boxes on this summertime to-do list.

Trail cameras are a big part of your summertime to-do list:

As each day finds the buck’s antlers adding more inches, setting up and placing trail cameras is important if you want to know what kinds of bucks you have running around.  They will also let you know where they are – and are not – frequenting.

If you want to make your cameras a larger player in your summertime to-do list, be sure to place them strategically.  Water sources are always good places to set up a camera or two.  Beyond that, of course, look for well-used trails and set one up wherever you find one, especially if you find an area where more than one trail converge.  This will increase the number of pics you get, as this is an indicator that deer are coming from all areas your hunting property to this spot, or that it is a focal point in different travel routes for deer for some reason.

If you are lucky enough to find a licking branch, this is an absolute must for a camera.  And if you’re ahead on your summertime to-do list and already have all of your cameras set, pull one from somewhere else to place here.

If there has to be one thing to avoid on your summertime to-do list of setting out trail cameras, it would be to avoid putting them out in windy or weedy places.  If you do, every time the wind blows the weeds in front of your camera, or a leaf in front of it, it will snap a photo of nothing, and those get boring really fast.

One more no-no about trail cameras when thinking about your summertime to-do list is to try to avoid putting them in areas that will cause you to be too invasive in order to check them.  You don’t want to spook deer or allow them to pattern you before the season starts.

Scouting is a big part of any summertime to-do list:

Scouting doesn’t start as the season draws near; it should be a continuous process through the year.  Scouting in the summer is as good as any.  It allows you to identify travel routes and feeding areas that the deer are using when there is no hunting pressure, which can be invaluable for early season sits.

It also enables you to see how many, and what types of bucks, are hanging around.  Often, they are in bachelor groups this time of year, making getting an eye on them easier.

There is no need to go deep all the time on your summer scouting trips.  A lot of the time, you can spot bachelor groups of bucks and does feeding in crop fields from the road.  Or consider parking and walking a short distance to a fencerow, hill or other easy to get to spot where you can glass the area without tromping through the woods.

You’ll be surprised what a little scouting can do to improve your summertime to-do list, that even trail cameras can’t do for you.  Putting boots on the ground allows you to see well-worn trails, old rubs, and scrapes, identify water sources you may not have known were there and observe deer in areas where your cameras aren’t.  It also helps you pinpoint bedding areas, fence crossings and the like.

Treestand preparation and placement should be a part of your summertime to-do list:

A lot of people put it off until closer to the opener, but when going through your summertime to-do list, putting your treestands up and preparing them now should be on your list.

There are valid points to wanting to wait until closer to season to hang stands.  Deer patterns can change between summer and fall, requiring you to move a stand or two after putting them up, but overall, where you place your stands now will still be the right decision come fall.  For those always occurring instances where you notice deer using an area during the season where you don’t have one hung, keep an extra or two in the garage for just this reason, but you don’t want to wait until season approaches to hang them all.

If you have properly done your scouting and studied your trail cameras, you should already know where you need to hang them.

Sure, it may require torturous hikes through standing crop fields to hang them now versus later, but the extra work now will not only make you more prepared come fall, but it will also allow you to leave the area less disturbed as the season approaches.

 

Hanging stands, and all of the trimming, etc. that goes along with it takes a ton of time; time that really isn’t available as hunting season approaches when there are other things to do and get ready.  Doing it now may be hot and sweaty work, but will be so worth it come fall.

Besides just hanging a stand and trimming shooting lanes, think a bit deeper.  Add clearing brush, weed-eating or weed-killing entry and exit trails to your summertime to-do list also.  Obviously, this isn’t necessary for stands on field edges and the like, but for those hung in the timber, think about getting rid of as much of the debris as you can along the trail in order to make those calm morning entries as quiet as possible.

Food plots should be on your summertime to-do list:

That’s right, depending on what you intend to plant, summertime is the time to plant food plots if you intend to have any.

A wide variety of crops can be planted this time of year, so along with all of the other things, there are to do, planting food plots are another item on a summertime to-do list.

Plants such as beets, oats, tubers, alfalfa, and greens like brassicas are all best when planted in the summer heat.  They are heat and drought-resistant and come up in time to coincide with when you plan to be hunting over them.

Safety, the most important thing on your summertime to-do list:

With all of the important things to get done on the summertime to-do list, none are more important than safety.  Remember that.  Whether scouting, tending plots or hanging stands, practice safety first.  Never ascend a tree without the proper safety gear, such as a Muddy lineman’s belt, and never check or sit in stands without a Muddy safety harness.  Once stands are in place, secure a Safe-Line to the tree so that on your first hunt of the year, you will be tied in the moment your feet leave the ground.

Conclusion:

There really is no off-season when it comes to serious deer hunting.  In fact, if you do it right, there is a lot more work to be done now than once it’s time to be out hunting, so don’t let summer slip by without taking some time to create and knock out a summertime to-do list for a successful fall.

3 Tips For Planning The Placement of Treestands and Blinds

Throughout the duration of the summer months, there’s a lot of whitetail work that can be done. Everything from planting food plots to habitat management work to running trail cameras. Among the litany of items that need to be completed is planning your placement of treestands and blinds if you haven’t already. There are a few things to be thinking about though when deciding where to place these in the summer.

When Will You Be Hunting There?

When it comes to planning on where to place your treestand or ground blind, the first thing you need to think of is when will you actually be hunting out of that given location? Things look a lot different in July or August than they do in October. Deer movement will look equally different. If you are hunting a new property, you want to be looking at all of the factors. Just because there are good deer trails in the summer doesn’t necessarily mean deer will be frequenting the same area come fall.

When planning the placement of your treestands or blinds, try and think how deer will be using a given area based on when you’ll be hunting. For example, let’s think about a given property and say that you’ve got a couple of great clover food plots and deer are hammering them in the summer. If you know you’ll be hunting early in the fall, say in September, you will be better off hanging a stand on or near one of the food plots. And you can also be more liberal with how you trim out your stand because the foliage will still be on the trees come the time you’re hunting. On the other hand, if you know you can’t hunt that property until the rut, you may want to hang that stand either in between or on the downwind side of the food plots, anticipating bucks to be cruising while searching for does. Additionally, you’ll want to be more frugal with what you trim, because by then the foliage will be down, and if you cut out a lot, by the time November rolls around, you could stick out like a sore thumb.

What’s Your Access and Exit Plan?

When it comes to planning your treestand or blind placement during the summer, an often forgotten about aspect of it is your access and exit plan. They are arguably just as important as the physical location of your stand or blind. The summer months can be a great time to plan your access and exit, and if need be can be the time to clear trails, mow paths or anything else.

There’s nothing worse than having your stand in a prime location, getting it set in the summer, and then returning to hunt in the fall, only to realize you failed to establish an adequate way into the stand or a solid way out. A good example of this is to use another scenario to illustrate this point. Let’s say you find a great rut stand in a river bottom during the month of July. You hike in from the main access point, locate the great area, get the stand-up and leave. Then while thinking it over during the following months, you think of using the river as access. You figure you can boat all the way to where you can park on the shore, and then jump right into the stand with minimal intrusion. Sounds great right? You then return to the location during November to hunt with the boat, but halfway into the expedition, the river narrows and there’s logs and debris stretching the width of the river and its impassable without making a ruckus. This is where a lack of planning can hurt you tremendously.

To do it right, as soon as you think of the river being a viable option for access, you should take the boat in and do a “trial” run. Make sure you can get to where you need to be. Bring a chainsaw, handsaw, whatever you need to ensure that if you need to clear the way, you can do so. That way when you show up to hunt later in the fall, you know you’ll be good and won’t have to worry. You’ll be able to get in quiet and clean and can focus on the hunt itself.

What Wind Direction Will You Need?

This is also a very important part of planning your treestand and blind placements. As you think through everything to help yourself be as successful as possible, you need to be thinking about what kind of wind direction you’ll need to make a spot great. If you are hanging a stand that will be a primarily early season spot, be thinking about warmer days and southerly winds. Don’t hang just one early-season stand where you need to have a Northeast wind to hunt it. Odds are you won’t be able to hunt it that often, or you’ll just mess things up. The same can be said for a rut stand. Once you find the perfect area, think through the wind directions. Often times as it gets colder and fall progresses, you’ll have more Northerly winds, especially in the upper Midwest. If the area that you’ve selected as a primary rut spot is that good, you should consider hanging a couple of different stand or blind options, so you have more than one option with different wind directions.

Conclusion

As you plan where you want to place treestands and blinds during the summer, there are a lot of things you should be thinking about in order to obtain the highest level of success possible. These three that have been laid out will no doubt help you be successful. If you’re thinking about when you’ll be hunting a given location, how you’ll get in and out of the spot and the wind direction you’ll need, you’ll be well on your way to having a treestand or blind in a solid spot come fall.

5 Ground and Box Blind Hunts You Have to Watch!

Ground and Box Blind Hunting Videos to Learn From

If you’re a deer hunter, there’s a very good chance you’re addicted to hunting shows. It seems to just come with the territory and it allows you to live deer hunts throughout the year, even if it’s just vicariously through someone else’s hunting videos. But more importantly, it gives you a chance to learn something from those hunts that you can apply to your own situation. In these five box blind hunts, there’s a take-home message you can use to be more successful this season. Oh, and they’re just fun to watch too. 

Here’s a quick roundup of some great box blind deer hunts that will get you fired up for this season. As you can see, they take place in different locations and different times of the year, which means you can use these tactics almost anywhere. Continue scrolling for the videos.

  1. Texas Whitetail Hunt

For this hunt, Mark Drury of Drury Outdoors was in Texas looking for another great Texas buck. After getting pictures of a nice deer on trail cameras, he set up a Muddy® Bull blind in an opening. Shortly after sunrise, a big 8 pointer caught him off-guard. Deer blinds in Texas are a pretty common sight, so the buck didn’t seem to mind. Check out the video to see what happened.

On this #MuddyMoment segment follow along w/ Mark Drury as he arrows a big TX 8pt out of a #Muddy Bull box blind. Learn More: http://bit.ly/BestBlindsDrury Outdoors

Posted by Muddy Outdoors on Monday, August 27, 2018

Box Blind Hunts Lesson: make sure you cover your backdrop when you set it up the first time – any dark cloth would work fine for that purpose. Mark missed the first opportunity on this deer because of the fear of being silhouetted against the eastern skylight behind him. Had the buck not come back in, that could have been his only chance at killing it.

  1. Iowa Shotgun Season

Cody Bonner from Muddy’s Trophy Pursuit was hunting in a Muddy® Bull blind as well, but not in Texas. He was hunting the Iowa shotgun season. Unfortunately, high winds were preventing them from hunting a few locations due to the risk of being winded. Fortunately, they were able to hunt in the elevated box blind with no problems.

Cody Bonner of Muddy's Trophy Pursuit found some success out of his #Muddy Bull box blind in IA during shotgun season. Check out his hunt now! www.gomuddy.com

Posted by Muddy Outdoors on Monday, January 29, 2018

Box Blind Hunts Lesson: Despite the high winds and a bobcat running across the field, the deer stuck around long enough for Cody to make an amazing shot with a shotgun to lay a giant whitetail down in the soybean field. That’s one of the benefits of hunting in the bull. It has sealed windows allowing your scent to stay inside the blind and hunt on marginal or even bad winds if you have to make a move on a buck.

  1. DruryRedemptiom

Mark Drury was back at it and took his sister Linda Lurk out rifle hunting. Even with cameraman Wade and a neighbor unexpectedly stopping by, they could all fit comfortably inside the Muddy® Bull blind! A nice 10-point buck came out into the field, and something painful happened next. 

Box Blind Hunts Lesson: Although Linda missed the first opportunity at this buck, they kept their eyes open down the food plot shooting lanes. Eventually, the buck popped back out for another shot. So the lesson is to never give up on a deer – keep looking and you might get a shot at redemption!

  1. Late Season Minnesota

Nicole Reeve from Driven with Pat and Nicole was hunting the late season in Minnesota in some harvested corn strips. With the cold weather, snow, and a late season food source, you know mature bucks will stop by eventually. Here’s how this box blind hunt played out.

Nothing like those homegrown bucks! CHECK OUT THIS UNBELIEVABLE MN HUNT#TCArms #Hunter

Posted by Driven with Pat & Nicole on Monday, July 11, 2016

Box Blind Hunts Lesson: How did Nicole take this giant late season buck? The Muddy® blind concealed their movement and scent enough to keep several deer in very close proximity throughout the hunt, which was long enough for this mature buck to feel comfortable stepping out. It also kept them warm enough to stay that long. Enclosed deer blinds should always play a part in your late season food plot strategy.

  1. Down to the Wire in Iowa

Jen Sieck with Trophy Pursuit was hunting a Muddy® bale blind during the late muzzleloader season in Iowa. With a food plot full of does, there was some pressure to getting a shot at a nice buck without being noticed.

Jen Sieck's 2016 season offered many great encounters, but things just never went her way. Finally, it all came together during IA's late muzzleloader season… #MuddyTV #TrophyPursuit

Posted by Muddy Outdoors on Monday, February 6, 2017

Box Blind Hunts Lesson: As you can see, a wise doe eventually got right downwind and smelled them. Luckily, the buck stuck around a while longer to check the scene, and Jen made a great last ditch shot. As much as you prepare, you never can fully fool a deer’s nose, so you need to be prepared to make any shot count. 

Box Blind Installation | How to Set Up a Box Blind

The Right and Safe Way to Set Up a Box Blind

You couldn’t stand it any longer. All the dreaming of epic hunts on your property from the comfort and luxury of a tower blind was just too much to handle, so you finally bought a brand new box blind. The adventure is just beginning for you, as there are many benefits to hunting from a box blind (e.g., shelter from the weather, better scent control, can get away with more movement, etc.). But before you get to enjoy all those perks, do you know how to set up a box blind? If you’re hearing crickets chirping in your head, here’s what you need to know about how to set it all up and how to raise a blind. First, make sure you read your entire instruction manual that came with the blind, and follow all safety recommendations at all times.

Best Location for a Box Blind

Before you set up a box blind, you should decide where you are going to put your new tower. Box blind placement is so critical for several reasons. First, you presumably want to see deer and be able to hunt them from your blind, so putting it in the right location makes a difference. Second, though not particularly complicated, setting up a box blind does take much more effort than simply moving a climbing tree stand to another tree. That’s why you need to try to nail the spot the first time.

Setting it up near a food plot is almost always a good idea, provided you have a good access trail and can sneak in and out without being detected. Hunting over food sources is a proven way to see deer, but it’s especially useful when hunting mature bucks in the late season months. Sitting in an insulated box blind, you can easily wait out the late season cold weather until a reclusive (but hungry) buck finally steps out to feed on standing corn or beans.

Situate the blind on the downwind side of the food plot or field, with the shooting windows facing the direction you expect to see most deer. Always keep the ladder on the back side so you can sneak into and out of it. It helps to have some kind of cover to hide your approach too, whether that be a spruce windbreak, a messy field edge, or some tall grasses you planted for screening cover.

Planning Box Blind Setups for the Early Season

How to Set Up a Box Blind

You will definitely need to be able to transport your Muddy® box blind and the deer stand base to the field using a large trailer or tractor. The blind comes completely assembled so you don’t have to worry about how to set up a box blind itself. But you will need to assemble your tower kit, whether you choose the 5- or 10-foot option (depends on availability at most Muddy® blind dealers), before you can raise the blind. Depending on where you set your box blinds up, it may be easier to assemble the tower kit at home. At least you have all the necessary tools there and the mosquitoes, flies, and ticks shouldn’t be as bad as they would be in the field. In addition, finding dropped nuts and washers in your garage would be a lot easier than on a field edge!

After assembling your tower kit per the instruction manual, you basically have two options when installing a box blind. As for the best way to raise a box blind, it really depends on your own preferences, what equipment you have, and how many people who can help.

Option #1: Assembling in the Air

The first option to set up a box blind is to tackle the two pieces separately. Choose a level area and set your tower kit upright – two people should be able to lift this up into place. The base should then be leveled and staked down to provide a solid structure on which the blind will sit. If you don’t know how to level a deer blind, simply place a level on all the horizontal beams you can. Try excavating with a shovel beneath the legs to adjust the ground surface until everything looks completely plumb. Then pound the rebar stakes into the foot pegs of all four corners and the ladder as well. Find the very center of the base by tying some ropes from corner to corner – where the two ropes cross is where you should twist the auger stake into the ground until the loop hole rests on the ground surface. At that point, use wrenches to turn the turnbuckle loose while still keeping the two ends connected. Attach the bolt and clevis to the auger stake loop, and attach the wire to the loop-end of the turnbuckle. Use the clevis to tighten the excess wire and secure it. Finally, tighten the turnbuckle by turning it clockwise until the wires are taut. Now the structure should be very solid.

At this point, use a tractor to lift your Muddy® box blind up and place it on top of the base. Before doing so, make sure everybody is clear from the surrounding area, and ensure nobody is underneath it! Obviously, you should also make sure the door is located on the ladder side. Once the blind is resting on the base, attach them to each other and double check all the connections are secure. You will likely need to retighten the cable attached to the auger stake once the blind settles the tower a bit.

Option #2: Preassemble and Team Lift

The other option to set up a box blind is to attach the blind to the tower kit on the ground, and then team lift the whole thing up into position. As with option #1, make sure the spot you choose is a level area and in the right spot. Lay the tower kit and blind on their sides, and arrange the base of the tower to be exactly where you want to lift it up. Then, attach the blind to the base using the proper tools.

About 10 to 15 feet away and 45 degrees from the base (towards the blind), drive two of the rebar stakes into the ground. Attach support straps to them from the foot pegs touching the ground. This anchors the base to the ground, which will allow you and your team to safely lift the blind into position without the base kicking out from beneath you. Using your team and safe lifting practices (lifting with your legs, not your back), slowly raise the full blind and tower kit up until it settles into place. At this point, you should go through the same leveling and staking steps as listed in option #1 above (i.e., level the tower, drive the foot peg stakes into the ground, attach the auger stake to the cable, etc.).

For the full instructions for each of the options listed above, check out the video below.

Time to Go Hunting?

After you set up a box blind, you’ll probably feel like you can’t wait to get out on your first hunt. But don’t let the excitement get the best of you. Remember that you should always check the connections and ensure the tower is stable and safe to use before climbing into it. The ground may settle and the wind may shift it slightly, which can loosen the cables or foot peg stakes over time. Always keep safety in mind when using any elevated hunting platform.

If you’ve been keeping an eye on Muddy® blinds for a while now, but weren’t sure how to raise a tower stand, we hope this explains it for you. Early season hunting isn’t that far away now, so it’s time to start thinking about how you can incorporate one of these blinds into your hunting strategy.

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

Planning Your Food Plot Strategy with Box Blinds

How to Use Box Blinds in Your Food Plot Strategy

Being a passionate deer hunter, springtime probably means you’re starting to think about which food plots you’re going to plant. But more importantly, you should also be thinking about how you will actually hunt those plots. Many people seem to jump right into things and start planting food plots just for the sake of having more food plots. Not nearly enough time is spent developing a food plot strategy that will help you when it really comes to killing deer in those areas. And when you stop to think about all the work that goes into a good food plot, why spend that time if it won’t help you? In this post, we’ll discuss the benefits of using box blinds as a part of your food plot strategy, including when you should use them, where you should use them, and the best food plot species to use.

Why Use Box Blinds?

Obviously sitting in an enclosed space with a roof is more comfortable than sitting out in the open exposed to the elements. That’s especially true in sub-zero temperatures common for northern hunting seasons or rainy weather throughout the south. Staying warm and dry will keep you in the field longer, which could increase your chance of killing a deer. But box blinds have many other advantages over almost any other option.

For example, their design alone is enough to provide an almost scent-proof container that can hold your scent and keep downwind deer from winding you. This opens up opportunities to hunt marginal winds in a pinch, but mostly provides an additional level of security when you’re hunting a mature and reclusive buck that you really don’t want to pressure. They also conceal your movements and accidental noises much more than any other option, which can make things a little easier when you’re hunting a specific deer for several days in a row. But one of the biggest advantages to using box blinds in food plots for deer is that you can move it almost anywhere. No trees? No problem. For example, if you notice deer not sticking around on field edges and heading right to the center of the field, you can place the blind out where the deer are. Mark Drury explains the benefits of the Bull Box Blind in the video below.

The Muddy Bull was years in the making. Learn the story now.

When to Use Box Blinds

So now you see how box blinds can fit into your overall food plot strategy, but when are the best times of year or situations to actually use them? As mentioned above, any time the forecast includes rainy or uncomfortable weather conditions during a hunt, sitting in a box blind is a much more reliable option. By bringing along a small portable heater, you can feel almost snug in a box blind even on the coldest days. Another advantageous time to use box blinds is when the wind is not quite in your favor, but you really feel the need to hunt a certain area. There’s still a little risk involved in this approach, but sitting in an enclosed blind dramatically reduces the chance of a deer winding you even if it’s directly downwind. Similarly, when the wind is gusting strongly or swirling, sitting in an open tree stand or even in a pop-up ground blind doesn’t work so well. But a hard-sided box blind will stand up to the wind and keep your scent contained much better.

Best Locations for Box Blinds

As far as the best place to put a box blind, food sources are usually the number one choice. Remember that we are discussing your food plot strategy here, and so box blind placement and food plot placement are critical pieces of the puzzle. Large agricultural fields or attractive food can draw in deer in from neighboring bedding areas.

Mark Drury Explains how sets up a new property with a food plot and box blind hunting strategy.

Food Plot Species

The best food plots to pair with box blinds for large-scale hunting are some that are the most attractive and dependable. These include:

  • Standing corn (late season)
  • Standing beans, with or without a fall mix seeded in (late season)
  • Fall Mix with species like rye, wheat, and brassicas (late season
  • Alfalfa/clovers (early season)

While this attraction is very predictable, the hunting scenarios are not always so clear-cut. In these situations, you may not always be able to hunt a field edge or have the reach to hit a deer in the center of the field (i.e., you are bow hunting instead of rifle hunting). That’s when box blinds can really shine. You can leave the woods behind and bring a box blind out into the center of the field where all the action is. This allows you to design the food plot with unlimited blind placement in mind. This gives you the freedom to turn a large ag field into a mosaic of food plots, cover, screens, and unlimited possibilities as to where you hunt the field.

Food Plot Design and Shape

Food plot design and shapes can be taken advantage of such as:

  • Hourglass or pinch point in the center. This shape works perfectly for bow hunting out of box blinds when the blind is placed on the downwind side of the pinch.
  • Turkey foot shape with the box blind in the heel of the foot. This food plot design is ideal for gun and rifle hunters.
  • V-shaped plots with the box blind in the center. This works well for both rifle and bow hunting out of box blinds. Another attraction point such as a waterhole for deer or mock scrape can pull deer to the center of the plot.

When thinking about shape, and large-scale food plot design and shapes you need to remember the most critical aspect of hunting these areas. How will you access the blind? You should be able to sneak into and out of your blind location without alerting deer. Otherwise, it won’t be worth hunting. Try to locate your blind near a brushy windbreak or overgrown fence line so you can stealthily slip out of view as soon as you are on the ground. You can also, in the case of the large field food plot design, plant a food plot screen on your entry and exit route to the blind.

Could you use a box blind at the edge of small food plots in the woods? Theoretically, yes. But they probably wouldn’t be as productive. The goal of small hunting food plots or micro food plots are usually to catch deer (usually a specific buck) off-guard. Placing a box blind there would require you to clear a trail to it and raise a large blind into the air, which would really stand out. On the other hand, if your trail cameras reveal that big bucks always hit a certain clover plot in the woods during daylight hours before heading to larger destination fields, it might make sense to place a box blind near one of them. The key is making sure you can access it from a direction where you won’t spook the approaching deer. And you should always stay in the blind until you are reasonably sure all the bucks have moved off to the surrounding fields.

Don’t Forget to be Mobile

Box blind hunting is always thought to be from a fixed position, especially once the season starts. There are too many factors to be considered to move such large blinds or the pressure from moving the blinds might be more than you’re willing to put on your bucks. This train of thought is dangerous. Mark Drury used a “mobile box blind hunting strategy” to kill a 217 2/8” buck named “Danger”. This Muddy Moment from Drury Outdoors captures the hunting strategy behind the buck named “Danger”, it is a story behind the perfected use of the Muddy Bull Box Blind. When moving box blinds, always make sure the blind is secured to the platform and the platform is secured to the ground before hunting out of the box blind.

Bringing Your Food Plot Strategy to Life

Once you know why box blinds are useful and the best times and places to use them, you can start planting food plots. In larger agricultural field settings, you may not be able to control or willing to change the planting of corn or beans. In this case, look at a map of the fields and identify a good location with lots of visibility around it that you can sneak into and out of.

When do deer start to use that food source? If it’s a corn or bean field, deer might not start heavily using it until the late season. If you can leave a standing section of corn or beans near your box blind, and overseed cover crops on the cut sections, you can pretty much guarantee you will see deer throughout the late hunting season. This would allow you to stay warm while hunting colder late season conditions, and you could hunt deer further out into the field than you could if you were restricted to the field edge.

If you’re planning on starting a food plot from scratch, the process is somewhat the same – you need to have a great entry and exit strategy. But first, identify a good spot for a new plot and choose what food plot seed you want to use. Perennial clover plots work well for the early season, while brassicas, turnips, radishes, and cereal grains are all proven deer magnets during most of the fall hunting season. Planting a v-shaped food plot or an hourglass food plot design can help increase your visibility from a blind in wooded areas. Placing your blind right at the end of these designs can provide several shooting lane food plots that can be a very productive part of your food plot strategy. Ultimately, though, the best food plot design for deer is one that will allow you to hunt the deer without them knowing it, and box blinds can help you do exactly that.