Bale Blinds 101 | Turkey Hunting with Bale Blinds
Bale Blinds for Turkey Hunting
Hunting turkeys from a blind is an effective strategy when it comes to springtime gobblers. It is even more effective when going after big boss gobblers with kids or inexperienced turkey hunters. The one challenge with portable ground blinds is they stick out like a sore thumb when trying to hunt a food plot, open field or power line where turkeys may be feeding or strutting. Bale blinds give you all the advantages of other ground blinds but fit in much better in open areas.
Bale blinds are nothing more than a hunting blind designed to mimic a round hay or straw bale sitting out in an open field. Unlike traditional ground blinds, hay bale blinds are dull in color, usually comprised of burlap or other natural fabric material left uncolored. The natural coloration blends in much more effectively than a dark camo blind, which is their big advantage when it comes to turkey hunting. Even though you may be hunting areas that have never had hay bales in them, the design of these ground blinds for turkey hunting are exactly what it takes to fool a distant gobbler into making a mistake.
Turkey Hunting from a Blind
Bow hunters chasing turkeys in the spring are very familiar with hunting ground blinds. They are about an archer’s only chance to get drawn on a close bird and make the shot. However, the proven advantages of better concealment, weather evasion and versatility in creating a spot are making turkey hunting from a blind the norm from bow hunters to shotgun hunters.
Even the best turkey hunters get busted year after year. The turkey’s eyesight is one of the best if not the best defenses to avoid predation out there. Concealment, therefore, is the key to consistently take spring gobblers. The standard approach to turkey hunting is finding a tree big enough to block your backside and sitting as motionless as possible. This is Effective, and many mature birds have been killed under this exact hunting setup, but many more turkey hunters have been busted from a quietly approaching bird or trying to get one last box call sequence in, only to be picked out from hundreds of yards down the field. Hunting blinds for turkeys address all these challenges and then some.
The turkey blind removes most uncertainties while afield, giving all turkey hunters a major leg up on mature gobblers. It is tough for even seasoned turkey hunters to sit still for hours waiting and also pick the exact perfect time to move if a bird comes in not as planned. Hunting turkeys from a blind makes it easier to sit for longer periods of time more comfortably and also move when needed without being detected. Also, ground blinds for turkey hunting like the portable Muddy Bale Blind are designed to be light and mobile so that they can be located right in the action.
Five Reasons Bale Blinds Work Well for Turkeys
Clearly a blind for turkey hunting gives you an advantage as opposed to the alternative. A blind like the Muddy Bale Blind works well for turkeys for these five reasons.
Camo style portable ground blinds have a hard time blending into open areas well. Stick one of these blind out in a food plot or an agricultural field and pressured birds may be reluctant to come in. A bale blind presents itself more naturally in these situations, which helps to blend in more when hunting open areas for turkeys.
When hunting turkeys from a blind, you want to leave the camo clothing at home. Dress in all black (or as dark of clothing as you have) to take full advantage of the matte black interior of bale blinds. The dark interior allows you to move into position for a shot or to fire up one last call sequence to get that bird a few steps closer.
Spring weather can be unpredictable. As such, there are going to be times this spring when weather conditions will be less than favorable. Hay bale blinds provide protection from the elements, which is especially important when hunting those open areas where there is not protection from trees.
Turkeys stay alive with their eyesight but that does not mean they have poor hearing. A hay bale blind blocks most noises you may make in a blind that could alert a close turkey you may not even know is there.
More Success for All Turkey Hunters
Hunting ground blinds like a bale blind makes every turkey hunter more successful, but they benefit youth and inexperienced hunters the most. Bale blinds can comfortably fit two people so one mentor and mentee can hunt easily together while remaining concealed.
Early Spring Setups for Bale Blinds
Hunters still need to put their time in before the season to scout and pattern birds, and once you find birds it is time to make plans for where and how to hunt them. There are three early spring areas for hunting turkeys where bale blinds make the most sense.
The first prime location for a bale blind is in strut zones. These areas are defined by disturbed leaves, broken feathers and increased turkey tracks and scat. Gobblers will seek out these areas from the roost in the morning or later in the afternoon after feeding. Typically, strut zones are found in and around fields like along one edge or a high corner. These open conditions lend themselves to using a bale blind. You can position hay bale blinds in a number of different spots in an open field or food plot depending on where birds are coming from to access the strut zone. A good tip is that mature birds usually visit strutting areas around the same time of day and take the same path to get there. The bale blind works well here because they can be positioned exactly where you need to be to get a shot without worrying about trying to brush in a blind just off the field, which may leave you out of position.
Second, feeding areas like established food plots and pastures are going to be good setups for early spring birds. After strut zones, locating areas where gobblers are feeding throughout the day are key in setting up your blind. Turkeys will use perennial food plots and pastures that are close to mast sources to find acorns and bugs. Areas like these that are adjacent to water are ideal because turkeys will frequent water sources throughout the day and the closer one is to a food source the more use it will get. Do not forget about right-of-way areas as well. Gobblers may use areas like power lines and gas pipelines as strutting zones but more importantly, these areas are usually planted with tall grasses that provide ample forage of bugs in the springtime. Again, open areas where birds are feeding are where hay bale blinds shine. Positioning one on a food plot or along a right-of-way will disguise you much better than other hunting ground blinds.
The Fly Down
Third and finally, roosting areas are another location to use a bale blind. Turkeys are going to be roosting in trees, obviously, so how does the bale blind work here you may ask? If you can pinpoint where birds are roosting, you can setup your bale blind to ambush them as they leave the roost in the morning or head to the roost at night. Turkeys are not graceful flyers and usually, they like to leave the roost and land in an open area. Hay bale blinds can be set up along field edges near roosted birds for morning hunts and in open fields or right-of-ways near water to catch birds in the evening heading to roost.
Bale Blind Setup Tips
There is more to hunting blinds for turkeys than simply getting your blind upright. The location is most important when positioning your bale blind, but several other considerations can also increase your odds from a bale blind.
Avoid setting up your bale blind facing the sun if at all possible. Bright sunlight can reveal your movements in the blind by adding light to the already dark inside. As you pick your location, think about the direction the sun will rise from and set to in conjunction with how your blind is set up. The sun’s position throughout the day and your timing on when to hunt the blind may or may not influence your hunt.
Get in a few days early to set up your blind. If you have scouted well, you know when birds are using an area so you can use the times when they are not there to set up your blind. Getting the blind in a few days before the hunt takes the pressure off having to put it up in the early morning hours and potentially risking bumping birds off the roost. More portable bale blinds should still be set up beforehand but can be adjusted if needed or work well for those that have limited time for scouting an area.
You have to go where the birds are this spring and if that means fields, food plots or right-a-ways then a bale blind is your best bet. The whole idea behind turkey hunting from a blind is to minimize the chances a gobbler will spot you. Open areas make it tough to hunt on the ground and other portable ground blinds stick out enough that they may alert birds that something is not right. Bale blinds cannot make you successfully all on their own. However, with good scouting and using setups around strut zones, feeding areas and roosting locations, they can give you the advantage in open areas to close the deal on a mature gobbler this spring.