Deer Blinds 101 | Ground, Bale, Hub, and Box Blinds
Not so long ago, most deer hunters headed out to their favorite hunting spot with a thermos full of coffee or soup, some sort of cushion to sit on, and their trusty firearm slung over their shoulder. This checklist of must-haves might be the same, however, the setup at that particular destination looks very different today. Parents and Grandparents across the land tell many hunting tales where they were positioned on the ground up against a mature tree or up on a ridge with a few branches stacked up in front of them to provide some level of concealment. Throughout time, we have enhanced our concealment methods with many different options to try and remain undetected while in the whitetail woods. The first advanced deer blinds began taking shape with strong fabric materials, then we started using wood to construct shooting houses, and eventually we added elevation with towers and platforms. If you walk into any outdoor retailer today, you can become quite overwhelmed with the amount of options you have while shopping for a deer blind. There are countless designs that use a plethora of different materials all while providing the option of permanent, semi-permanent, or mobile setups. Understanding the fundamental differences and the intended use for each style will really help in narrowing down your selection on the optimal choice for your particular hunting location.
The Ground / Hub Blind
The most popular deer blind on the market today is by far the pop-up ground blind. This hub-style tent design has provided hunters means to set up a new blind with 360-degree concealment anywhere they please within just a few minutes time. Being lightweight, packable, and durable, pop-up style blinds create shelter on those foul weather days and expand the number of sits in the field throughout the season. The Muddy line of ground blinds can be packed in using the carrying case and back-pack style straps for easy transport.
One major advantage of using a ground blind is having an alternative in areas where there are a scarce number of mature trees, limiting your options for hanging a treestand. A whitetails preferred bedding habitat is usually thick with young saplings and undergrowth. If you are trying to hunt close to bedded deer, a well brushed in ground blind can really pay off if set up properly. Something you’ll want to keep in mind though is not to get too comfortable with unfavorable wind directions. Even though you are concealed in a thick fabric, your scent will still carry and you still need ensure you are placing your blind down wind of their beds.
Another fantastic location for placing your ground blind is in transition areas. These are popular locations for bucks to stage before exposing themselves in ag fields or open timber. Dry creek beds that run alongside a patch of timber or marshy grass lands that lead into a swamp are a couple other examples of where a ground blind can be a real asset. The Muddy Ravage and VS360 are durable and resistant to harsh weather. Watch them disappear as you brush in the Epic camo covered canvas with surrounding vegetation. If being on the ground just isn’t providing the views that you would like, Muddy’s line of ground blinds can easily be elevated. Both the Ravage and VS360 can be placed on a tower or platform, but Muddy specifically created a soft-sided hub blind to be robust enough to withstand the higher winds that come with a lifted blind. The Soft Side 360 is constructed with a powder coated steel frame and has insulated fabric walls. If you decide to stay grounded or raise yourself to new heights, Muddy’s line of ground blinds has you covered.
The Bale Blind
One of the coolest alternatives for those who hunt farm lands, prairies, or meadows is the creation of the bale blind. The shape and color replicates a bale of hay that deer across the country are used to seeing in open areas. The heavy-duty steel frame is covered with a burlap material that will blend right in just like another piece of farm equipment. How many times have you hunted a field edge and watched deer move into the center well out of your shooting range? The bale blind can place you right in the center of the action and deer won’t have a clue that they are being hunted. I would advise setting out your bale blind prior to the start of the hunting season so the deer have a chance to get use to its presence. Once it’s in a particular location for a short period of time, deer will no longer act cautious and will come in close proximity. Those who have hunted in a bale blind the first day after setting it up have not had the results others have who have waited a couple weeks. If you have a trail camera to place in front of the blind, it wouldn’t hurt to set it up and monitor how the deer are reacting. If you start seeing photos of deer getting closer and closer to the blind without hesitation, you know the blind is no longer considered a foreign object to your herd.
A bale blind is beneficial, because it can be used in early season, pre-rut, rut, post-rut and late season. You can catch that target buck still on his early season feeding patterns before he starts chasing does and changes his routine. Setting a bale blind in a field during peak rutting activity will put you close to bucks who drop their guard to predators. Plus, if you have a reliable food source that deer frequent, such as a late season food plot, bucks will be looking to pack the pounds back on after a hard rut. Having the bale blind established in a field where deer tend to feed can give you a front row seat to “Mr. Big” as he puts on his winter weight. The Muddy bale blinds are very sturdy at 90 lbs. and large enough for some maneuverability inside if you need to reposition yourself for the perfect shot. Hunting from inside one of these unique blinds can be an exciting new way to put yourself closer to that trophy and provide some great footage as well.
The Box Blind
Most of us have that one friend who has a deer blind all decked out with heaters, insulation, carpet, cup holders for his coffee, and basically everything but a television inside. Trying to build one of those blinds is plenty difficult, but trying to make it durable enough to last through several winters can be a lot of work, time, and money. Besides the initial construction, usually the homemade big box blinds require a new roof every couple years, frequent applications of camo paint or fabric to the outside, and resealing the cracks where insects and critters have crawled in adds up to a pretty expensive hassle. Muddy developed a line of box blinds that accommodate every type of hunter and requires little maintenance year after year. The Gunner, Bull, and Penthouse blinds all are constructed with thermal, scent, and noise control walls creating a stealth mode environment. Installing either one of these box blinds on one of Muddy’s steel tower options will give you that true luxury hunting experience.
The most obvious advantage is being able to hunt in comfort during those frigid snowy late seasons. With the warmth and security of an elevated box blind at your disposal, it takes any weather forecast out of the equation when deciding whether or not to go hunting. No matter your weapon of choice, bow or firearm, the Bull and Penthouse blinds have window options that are configured to adhere to any shot position.
Finding a location for your tower box blind should involve some serious thought and consideration since they are not easily moved. For example, food plots should be built with the box blind position in mind before working the ground. This will avoid any second guessing after a plot is seeded and the blind isn’t as easily accessible for relocation. The prime locations for Muddy’s box blinds are areas with good clear shooting lanes. Ag fields, food plots, watering holes, etc. are all areas with open views in several directions. Hunting in a box blind during the rut is a huge advantage for those who can sit all day long. The comfort and security of the box blind really helps when grinding out several long days in a stand during this time of the year when mature bucks are most active. Pack a few meals, bring your spouse or kids and enjoy the experience without worrying about weather conditions. Established box blinds can make your buddies really jealous, especially when you start having success year after year.
Whitetails have evolved throughout the history of their species and so have we. Our ambush locations have become more sophisticated and advanced as we learn more and more about deer behavior. Deer blinds should be treated like any other piece of hunting equipment, such as your gun, bow, binoculars, etc. Investing in a quality product like Muddy’s ground blinds, bale blinds, or box blinds will result in more successful hunts if used in the proper fashion. Pop-up ground blinds are extremely mobile, yet durable and conceal hunters extremely well. Bale blinds are a new trend that has proven to be successful in open terrain where cover is scarce. Lastly, box blinds can extend your hunts and put you on trophy deer throughout the entire whitetail season. All of these options have their niche and are proven to be fruitful when used appropriately.