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Deer Blinds | Best Application for Each Type

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.

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Spring food plots

The Power of Perennials | Spring Food Plots

Perennial Clover |Spring Food Plots

Establishing a food plot is an investment.  It is an investment of your time, your money, and your effort.  Most hunters devote to establishing a food plot in order to reap the benefits later in the year with the benefits, of course, being opportunities at a mature white-tailed buck or a long spurred gobbler.  There is no question that if you enjoy hunting and harvesting wild game, that establishing and maintaining a food plot can greatly increase your chances for success. With spring arriving, spring food plots started now, can create exactly the opportunities you can expect.

Back to the Basics:

Contrary to popular belief, not all food plots are created equal.  To think that you can simply toss some seed on the ground and have it be successful is simply not true.  Like anything, the more time and effort you spend planning, installing and maintaining your food plot the better the results will likely be.  Before you even break the soil, there are several factors that you’ll need to consider.

  • spring-food-plots-tips_pic1Location

Where you decide to place your spring food plot is a critical step in the planning process.  You want to ensure that you are creating your food plot in an area where wildlife can easily locate and utilize it, while at the same time ensuring that you are allowing yourself an entrance/exit strategy that works with the area. Establishing a food plot next or near bedding or roosting areas can be advantageous, but it can sometimes be detrimental as well.  Most prefer to establish their food plot along clearly defined travel areas, where wildlife may already be frequenting. The other strategy is to simply create a “destination” feeding area where it works for hunting. By creating a food plot that has tremendous pull in attraction and size (a lot of high-quality food), you can make the plot work for your hunting strategy.

  • Layout

The size and shape of a food plot is often something that many who establish them will not really consider, but believe it or not, there is a “better” and a “worse” when it comes to laying out your food plot.  When it comes to the shape of your food plot, long and linear will typically prevail over smaller and round any day.  The reason for this is rather simple.  Wildlife such as white-tailed deer and wild turkeys (among many others) are considered species of edge.  They prefer to utilize transitional areas between various cover types as travel and forage areas.  This is mainly a defense mechanism that will allow them to flee at the first sign of danger.  A long, linear food plot provides a plethora of edge in comparison to a small, round food plot.

  • Installation Limitations

Not everyone has access to large farm equipment that can sometimes be required to establish or maintain a food plot.  It really doesn’t matter how well you have planned out your food plot if you do not have the means to establish and maintain it.  It is critically important to keep these factors in mind when planning your food plot.  Being limited to small-scale equipment, such as those that can be utilized by an ATV can significantly play into what species of forage you wish to establish, so be sure to do your homework and plan accordingly.

  • spring-food-plots-tips_pic2Food Plot Species | Annual vs. Perennial

When it comes to food plot forages there are two categories to choose from, annuals and perennials.  Annuals consist of species like corn, soybean, milo/sorghum and wheat just to name a few.  As the name implies, annuals are species that need to be planted every single year.  These species are excellent options for wildlife food plots; however, from a cost standpoint they require an investment in time, seed, and effort each year to establish them.  Perennials, on the other hand, are species that once planted will germinate year after year.  Perennials would consist of species such as clovers, alfalfa, and chicory among many others.  These species of food plot forages require an upfront investment of time and money however once established, annual maintenance can generally keep perennial food plots in excellent condition for several seasons.  There is no question that in having a diversity of annual and perennial food plots on your property is likely the best case scenario, however, when time and money are limited perennials provides you with a feasible option that can help you grow, hold and harvest more game each and every year.

In terms of species to plant, research goes a long ways. Learning what species are out there for planting is a good way to start. However, you will quickly learn that most “experts” narrow their search and use down to just a handful of great plot species. One of the most common and effective spring food plots is clover. Particularly mixed clover plots (white and red) or straight ladino (white) clover plots work incredibly well. They are browse resistant, can take shade, and are hardy and require little in terms of establishment and maintenance.

spring-food-plots-tips_pic3

The Clover Connection

Among all the species of perennial forages, clover typically ranks at the top of the list.  There are multiple species of clovers available for use, however, when it comes to managing for wildlife the most popular variety used is typically Ladino clover.

Also referred to as “white clover”, Ladino clover is a perennial legume that actively grows during the cooler months of the year (spring and fall) and can be established easily and provide an immense wildlife benefit in a short amount of time.  Aside from the wildlife benefits, ladino clover is relatively inexpensive and generally doesn’t require much maintenance to keep a stand looking great and providing an excellent source of forage for white-tailed deer and wild turkeys.

  • spring-food-plots-tips_pic4Seed Bed Preparation

Regardless of whether you are establishing an annual food plot or a perennial food plot, everything starts with the seed bed.  Taking the time to have a soil test conducted in the area you plan to establish your food plot is a critical step that many will simply skip.  Ensuring that your soil is up to the task of producing what you are asking it to is important, so take the time to take care of your soil, and your soil will take care of you.

Once your soil test has been completed, it is time to prepare your seed bed.  When it comes to seeding clover, having a well-prepared seedbed is important.  It doesn’t matter whether you are using a disk, roto-tiller, or plot master to break the ground open when it comes to establishing clovers what matters most of all is how the food plot is finished.  Having a smooth seed bed is optimal for establishing a clover plot, so be sure to do your best to remove all of the clods by running a harrow or culti-packer over the site prior to seeding.  Once your seed bed is prepared, add any soil amenities as recommended by your soil test and you are set.

  • Seeding Options

Seeding a spring food plot, in particular, is incredibly easy in terms of actually putting the seed on the ground. Clover seed is rather small and can be easily spread by hand or mixed with lime or fertilizer and established with a broadcast seeder attachment on the back of an ATV.  Typically, clover species such as Ladino are seeded at a rate of 2 to 3 pure live seed (PLS) pounds per acre.  Though the rate is important, what is even more important is ensuring that you have adequately covered your food plot location with seed, so be sure to pay close attention to your coverage area when establishing your food plot. In some instances, thicker seed rate for ladino clover…in the 5 lbs/acre allows for quick germination and ground coverage. This means the food plot is a thick carpet in just a few weeks. It also means that the plot can hold moisture better than a plot broadcasted with 3lbs/acre.

While seed bed preparation is a very important part of establishing a clover food plot, the timing of the seeding is an equally important part of the process.  Without question, the best time of year to establish your clover plot is during the early spring or late winter months.  Often referred to as “frost seeding”, starting your clover food plot during these months allows the daily freeze/thaw action of the soil to work the seed into the soil.  If you are lucky enough to time your efforts in conjunction with a snow event, then you’re are set.  Spreading the seed on top of a fresh snow aids in protecting your seed from being foraged upon by birds and small rodents, while also allowing you to more easily see any areas that you may have missed when seeding.

  • spring-food-plots_pic5Maintenance and Care

Ladino clover food plots require very little maintenance and care once established.  Generally, all that is required to maintain a hearty forage base is a high mowing (if it’s a large plot >1 acre) to control annual broadleaves or at least one or two herbicide sprayings a year to keep the grass and other weeds at bay.  While an ATV mower or brush cutter is typically the preferred method, raising the mower deck on your riding mower can be enough to do the trick. If you have a small clover plot meaningless than an acre, a lot of deer browse essentially mows the plot. Keep in mind, mowing drastically decreases the amount of food available to your deer, while at the same time opening gaps in the clover for weeds to sprawl up and moisture to escape.

The biggest competition to maintaining your ladino clover plot is generally grass encroachment. You can resort to a heavier-handed approach by using a grass selective herbicide (Clethodim or Sethoxydim) such as Select to help control the encroachment.  A grass specific herbicide will only affect grass species, and will not harm the broadleaves such as clovers and other forbs and legumes you might have in your mix and will keep your clover food plot producing year in and year out.

Bucks, Beards, and Babies

So, aside from the return on investment why would you want to establish a perennial clover plot?  The answer is simple; from a wildlife standpoint, these perennial legume plots provide a source of protein and other important nutrients that are important for the health of the white-tailed deer on your farm.  From improving lactation in does to helping grow larger antlers in bucks, these plots will be utilized from the spring months all the way through the first frost.  In addition to providing a forage base, these areas are also often selected by does as fawning locations and can help increase the fawn survival on your farm as well. Clover fills the gap where late season food sources finally are completely exhausted, and soybeans and other crops have yet to be planted. Essentially clover is the missing species that can provide the food and nutrition when it is likely not available.

There is no question that a clover plot is an excellent place to encounter a gobbler in the spring, and the reason is simple, ladino clover plots provide wild turkeys with an excellent source of forage as well.  In addition to the forage that the clover itself provides, these areas also attract a wide range of soft-bodied insects which are an important source of protein for wild turkeys.  In addition to adult wild turkeys, these plots provide an excellent brood rearing location for young turkeys as well.  Ladino clover plots, not only help you to harvest more wildlife, but they also help you to grow more wildlife!

Hunting Strategies

No matter if you are chasing a big buck or a long beard, ladino clover plots can help you to be successful.  Wildlife will utilize these spring food plots all year long, which can really help you to monitor the wildlife on your property throughout the year.  A clover plot is an excellent location to maintain a trail camera set throughout the course of the year. These food plots are perfect locations to utilize your trail cameras in conjunction with a ground stake.  Have an “in the field perspective” can not only provide your with some excellent information pertain to the health of the wildlife on your property but can also provide you with some amazing trail camera pictures as well.  Ground stakes provide you with a way of collecting the exact information you wish to collect and remove the issue of finding the perfect tree or trimming limbs and a clover plot is a perfect place to use it.

spring-food-plots_pic6-(2)There is something about hunting over a ladino clover plot from a ground blind that is special.  Ground blinds like a bale blind can often blind right into the surrounding vegetation and are perfect for these types of locations.  During the early fall, when there is still ample foliage on the trees and undergrowth, archery hunting from a tree stand can sometimes be challenging, and with ladino clover food plots generally being areas of high use during the early fall, hunting from a ground blind can be an extremely effective approach.

christmas-gifts-for-hunters_pic7If you are looking for a way to increase the number of white-tailed deer and wild turkeys on your property while at the same time, increasing your opportunities for success then consider establishing a ladino clover food plot, and begin reaping the rewards!

Tips for bow hunting turkeys out of ground binds | Muddy Outdoors

Ground Blinds | Tips for Turkey Hunting With a Bow

Bow Hunting Turkeys from a Ground Blind

Bow hunting any game is making a commitment to a challenge in itself. Whether its deer, other big game, or turkeys, taking a bow to the field can be a humbling experience and with time can become the only hunting you take part in. Bow hunting turkeys is one of these challenges. Why some may have mastered turkey hunting, one thing is undeniable, drawing on a turkey is the biggest challenge. Multiple toms, or vigilant hens become major problems for turkey hunters. The most dreaded part is just trying to draw with all of those eyes around, but there are some tips such as using ground blinds that can help you be successful. Here are some tips to make hunting turkeys with a bow a little easier with ground blinds.

Bow Hunting Turkeys With Ground Blinds | Early Season Toms
(Video) Trophy Pursuit staff has some luck with early season gobblers. Several turkeys killed with bows out of Muddy ground blinds.

Ground Blind Selection

Ground blinds make turkey hunting easier. This is an extraordinary advantage when it comes to bow hunting. The biggest problem turkey hunters will run into when hunting out of a ground blind is selecting and hunting out of the wrong type. Face it, some blinds were just not made for bow hunters, they are small, with few windows, and everything seems to be in the way. Some of these blinds also don’t take into consideration what a bow hunter truly needs out of a ground blind for turkeys. What is needed, everything focused on the most important part…the draw.

  • Space- the biggest thing that bow hunters run into is enough space to draw. A ground blind needs to have enough room to bring up the bow, draw, hold, and swivel on for moving targets and an accurate shot. If your back arm is brushing against the blind, or limbs are touching the roof, or broadhead is catching just beneath the window there is a significant problem. A big blind, enough for multiple people, bow hunters, and even some extra gear like camera equipment would look something like The Bale Blind or VS360 Ground Blind by Muddy. These blinds are wide, tall, and perfect for bow hunting turkeys.

  • Invisible Draw- A blind that has enough windows to kill a bird out of it, but at the same time can provide a dark, flat black interior to make anything inside disappear, is desirable. Wearing dark clothing and either a black facemask, or black face paint, even a black bow all helps being inside a blind. Drawing inside the blind under the low light makes it near impossible for the keen eyes of a turkey to spot.

Tips for bow hunting turkeys out of ground binds | Muddy Outdoors

  • Comfort- If you have hunted out of a ground blinds before, especially one not made with requirements for bow hunting, you have been in some uncomfortable situations. With turkey or deer hunting out of ground blinds, finding a seat that is the perfect height to stay hidden but also be able to see out of the blind and draw out of is hard to find. Pair these restraints with the additional requirement for a seat that is completely silent, and you might as well just kneel on the ground. A big comfortable ground blind, with the addition of Muddy’s Swivel-Ease Ground Blind Seat or Folding Tripod Ground Seat
Bow Hunting Turkeys | Turkey Raw Double Muddy
(Video) Raw video footage of bow hunting turkeys. A double with multiple camera angles is caught on film by the trophy pursuit team out of a Muddy ground blind.

Bow Hunting Tips

Getting the right ground blind solves a lot of the problems and challenges of bow hunting turkeys. It conceals your draw, it gives you time to make a great shot, and it allows you to concentrate on every aspect of the hunt. Other than this, take the tips that you just witnessed from the Trophy Pursuit team. Use a quality broadhead, draw when the birds fan is blocking his view, and be sure to take your time with the shot. Bow hunting turkeys can be tough, but the right ground blind can make this challenge not only successful but twice as enjoyable.