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Bale Blinds vs. Ground Blinds

Comparing Bale Blinds and Ground Blinds for Hunting

The ground blind has quickly become one of the best setups a hunter can employ. Ground blinds for hunting are well known for waterfowl hunting, but they also have numerous applications for hunting deer and turkeys.

One recent innovation in the ground blind has been the bale blind. Hay bale blinds are a special case of a standard ground blind. Bale blinds for hunting are designed to mimic a large round hay bale common in many fields across the county. Wildlife, especially deer, turkeys, and waterfowl are used to seeing these large structures as they go about their day. As such, they provide exceptional cover for an ambush when hunting agricultural areas.

So what is the difference between a bale blind and the more traditional pop-up hunting blind? When should you use a bale blind over other ground blinds? These are common questions hunters are asking and something we are going to explore in more detail by comparing the two in different hunting situations.

Comparing Bale Blinds and Pop-up Ground Blinds

Ground blinds for hunting come in many shapes and sizes. By far the most popular and most used is the pop-up ground blind. This is the traditional tent style ground blind made from light, durable and weather resistance camouflage fabric. These pop-up blinds for hunting are easy to carry and deploy making them very effective in a wide range of hunting locations.

Three Advantages of Pop-up Ground Blinds:

  1. Lightweight and mobile
  2. Can be used in various habitats
  3. Easy and fast to deploy

Hay bale blinds, in contrast, are a type of hunting blind just as the name suggests. They mimic a large round bale of hay in a field. Because of their design and appearance, they represent a more natural element to wildlife than a large, dark-colored camouflage block in the middle of an open field. One of the biggest problems with other pop-up ground blinds is that even though you as the hunter are concealed, the blind itself sticks out like a sore thumb to wildlife. Hay bale blinds solve this problem when hunting fields and food plots.

These types of ground blinds for hunting are larger with a shell made from a durable, weather resistant denier and dull burlap colored fabric. Similar to other ground blinds, there are various openings for shooting and a blackened interior to conceal movement.

One misconception with using bale blinds for hunting is that they will be just as ineffective as other hunting blinds in open fields where there is or never was real round hay bales. On the contrary, the design works in open areas and is one of the best waterfowl and turkey hunting blinds you can hunt from.

Three Advantages of Bale Blinds for Hunting

  1. Conceal better in agricultural settings
  2. Larger than pop-up blinds
  3. Versatile enough to be used for deer, turkey, and waterfowl

Ground Blinds for Hunting and the 3 Factors That Help You Choose

There are three factors when considering between bale blinds and other ground blinds. The first and most important is the type of area you will be hunting. Hay bale blinds work best in open terrain like an agricultural field, right-of-way or food plot. In contrast, a pop-up blind excels in more wooded terrain, in cover, and along field edges. The second factor is mobility. Bale blinds are larger and heavier in most cases and require slightly more setup time. This can be a factor if you have to reposition during the course of a hunt. In these circumstances, a more portable turkey hunting blind that can easily be broken down and moved fits the bill better. Finally, the last factor is what you are going to be hunting. Below we will discuss the best ground blinds for hunting deer, turkey and waterfowl.

Deer Hunting Ground Blinds

Ground blinds for deer hunting work particularly well in two instances. The first is archery hunting from the ground. You may have an area with limited trees for a stand or you need to be in an exact spot to trick a mature buck. Either way a bale blind or pop-up ground blind will be effective. The second instance is hunting with youth hunters or less experienced individuals. A blind gives them plenty of room to move around and be comfortable while waiting for a deer to arrive.

 

Use a pop-up blind when deer hunting transitional areas with light cover and areas where hanging a tree stand is not realistic. The bale blind, on the other hand, is perfect for hunting over a food plot or watching a bean or cornfield. It sticks out less than a ground blind and looks more natural to approaching deer.

Turkey Hunting Blinds

A ground blind for turkey hunting gives you an advantage over an incoming gobbler. You can stay concealed much better than if you were out in the open, which helps to overcome one of the bird’s greatest assets, its eyesight. Portable turkey hunting blinds are effective when you have to be more mobile, that is changing morning setups based on moving birds or repositioning on a mature gobbler. These are also more effective when hunting in big timber where their camo exterior blends in better. The bale blind on the hand excels when hunting over food plots or agricultural fields. A bale blind for turkey hunting can also be used in well-scouted feeding areas and strut zones.

Ground Blinds for Hunting Waterfowl

In recent years, there has been a shift from layout blinds to more and more waterfowl hunters using bale blinds. A bale blind is more comfortable and easier to shoot out of than your traditional layout blind. Most have a large shooting opening at the top designed for waterfowl hunting and plenty of room inside for chairs and gear. Add in some additional brushing for concealment and it keeps you hidden as well as any layout blind. The best spots for setup include tree lines, fencerows, and field depressions.

Which Hunting Blind Wins?

The ultimate matchup between these two styles of hunting blinds ends in a draw. The answer is not an either or but rather a combination of both the bale blind and pop-up hunting blind. Ground blinds for hunting work and each type have its place and advantages when hunting deer, turkeys, and waterfowl. Chose the right one for the situation and you will have the upper hand in most hunting scenarios.

 

Planning Your “Rutcation”

Best Deer Hunting Stands and Locations for the Rut

Not all of us can travel from state to state filling one tag after another during the peak of the whitetail season.  Most hunters lead busy lives with work, family, and other personal responsibilities that just don’t allow us to hit the “pause button” on life and spend countless days in a deer blind.  However, the true die-hards have found a way to shutoff the outside world and be at piece for an extended period of time by cashing in all of their personal time and vacation days for the almighty Rutcation”.  The Rutcation that I refer to doesn’t have to involve traveling across the country for an out-of-state hunt.  Heck, if you have the luxury to own a decent size chunk of land, you could just spend your entire Rutcation in your backyard.  Whichever way you decide to break away from the everyday grind to hunt the most exciting time in the Whitetail woods (a.k.a The Rut), you want to ensure you are taking advantage of every single minute in the stand.  You’ve marked off your calendar, sent all your calls to voicemail, and have waited the entire year for this moment.  Here are the best 3 setups to nearly guarantee yourself a shot at a buck during the rut.

Location #1  Doe Bedding Areas

During the rut, bucks will be constantly looking for love and cruising for a hot doe.  So what better place to look than where thebed down?  When you hunt doe bedding areas during the rut, you want to pay very close attention to the wind and place your stand downwind from those beds.  The objective is to position yourself at a distance where bucks will circle downwind of the bedding area, but not you.  In other words, place your setup far enough away to allow the bucks to scent check the area in between you and the doe’s.  Doe’s tend to bed in thicker areas with taller grasses and shrubbery, so you’ll need find a good mature tree downwind to hang a stand and wait for cruising bucks.  Again, the wind direction is very important in this type of setup because one wrong gust could blow out the entire bedding area sending doe’s scattering every which way.  The best tip for avoiding getting stuck sitting in a stand with unfavorable wind conditions is to be somewhat mobile.  Hangon stands with a set of climbing sticks are perfect for adjusting on the fly.  The last thing you want on your Rutcation is to be stuck hunting suboptimal stands because you don’t have the right winds for your best spots.  The Muddy Vantage Point is light weight and can be moved with minimal effort.  If you are looking for a more comfortable option for those all day sits, the Muddy Boss Elite AL is another great choice.  The Flex-Tek Zero-Gravity flip up seat on the Muddy Boss Elite AL makes it easy to sit from dawn to dusk.  Pair either one of those options with a set of Aerolite Climbing Sticks and you will have the perfect system for avoiding detection while waiting for that bruiser to come cruising in.

Location #2 – Food & Water Sources

Depending on where you are hunting, the temperatures during the whitetail rut can vary.  Temps in Northern Minnesota could drop below freezing while South Texas hunters could be out hunting in t-shirts.  However, the fact remains that whitetails across all regions need food and water to survive.  If you have the ability to hunt either an established food source, such as a food plot or agricultural field, or a reliable water source, such as a small pond or stream, you can take advantage of the higher population densities of deer at these locations.  Outside of the rut, mature bucks tend to wait until dark before exposing themselves in open areas to feed or hydrate themselves.  During the rut, all those survival instincts go away and they have only one thing on their mind; love.  These locations are fantastic gathering points and social hubs for whitetail rutting activity.  Bucks will target areas that have a high concentration of does to check if any are coming into estrus.  These areas also provide a canvas for bucks to spread their scent and posture for dominance using scrap trees, licking branches, and rub lines.  Bucks are playing the odds and so should you by setting up on these highly active whitetail meeting grounds.  Muddy offers several options for this type of setup.  If you have the means to invest in a tower box bind such as the Muddy Bull box blind, you can ensure you’ll have a solid reliable place to hunt year after year.  For the price conscious hunter, a ground blind works just as well and is light enough to carry in and out with ease.  The Muddy Bale Blind is perfect for placing in those open ag fields, but if you find yourself in a thicker environment the Muddy VS360 ground blind blends into the surrounding vegetation while still providing 360 degrees of shooting options.

Location #3 – Pinch Points and Funnels

       

If you’ve studied deer movement or scouted your hunting property you’ve probably noticed a few areas with heavier deer sign than others.  These heavily used zones often correlate with features in the terrain and topography called pinch points or funnels.  The high traffic is a result of deer being compressed into a smaller area in order to get from one place to another.  During the Pre-Rut and Rut phases, you can increase your odds of laying eyes on a mature buck during daylight hours by setting up on these locations.  A great first step is to look at a satellite map of your property to identify these dense travel corridors and target those areas for stand placement.  You’ll want to avoid overhunting these spots, so that you minimize pressure to keep your scent out during most of the year. Save these stands for your prime rutting activity to ambush that target buck with the element of surprise.  Ladder stands are a wonderful option here since they can be left up all year-round and don’t require a whole lot of shifting around.  Muddy’s Boss Hawg ladder stand is quiet, reliable, and low maintenance for either bow or gun hunter.  If you have a buddy or family member you’d like to hunt with, the Nexus and Nexus XTL double ladder stands have plenty of room for two with some elbow room to spare.  No matter what type of stand you choose, be ready for things to happen fast in these locations and don’t get caught off guard by cruising bucks.

The bottom line is, a Rutcation taken at the right time of year can be your best and only chance of seeing mature bucks on their feet during shooting hours.  When you put life on hold and dedicate yourself to hunting whitetails, make sure you maximize your time in the field.  Give yourself options, plan your hunting locations ahead of time, and put yourself in the best possible position to get a big one on the ground before you head back to your daily grind.  These 3 locations can payoff year after year if hunted properly and you never know, you just might find yourself tagged out and back to work early with a few extra vacation days in your pocket.

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Roosted = Roasted | 2018 Muddy Turkey Camp

2018 Muddy Turkey Camp Hunt

By: Chris Dunkin 

Our annual Team Muddy Turkey Camp took place in Southern Iowa over the past week and it was nothing short of a great time! Not only were we fortunate to wrap our tags around 24 big longbeards during the first 4 days of Iowa’s season, but we were able to spend time with our good friends who are now like family! 

The first hunt that we are airing is actually the last hunt from our camp.  Muddy team member Spencer Watts hunted hard for the first 3 days of the season but came up short.  On the Wednesday evening before the last day, Cody Bonner and I hit the gravel roads in search of birds we could set up on the next morning with Spencer. I can’t stress enough how valuable roosting birds the previous evening can be for a turkey hunter. Knowing where they are roosted and where they want to be is really the majority of the battle when it comes to filling tags.

During the course of the last hour of light, we found three different groups of birds that we had the opportunity to hunt the next morning. I gave Spencer a call and let him know that we had found some birds to hunt if he was willing to make the 2.5-hour drive back to Southern Iowa.  It didn’t take much convincing and Spencer was on his way. After Spencer arrived at my house we analyzed our options from our scouting trip and decided to head to a farm that we had just gained permission on a few days before. This particular farm seemed like a good option as we knew where the birds had roosted, and we knew that they liked to head to this particular hay field first thing in the morning.   

Our alarms went off at 4 am and a short while later we were southbound. Temps were cold, but there was no wind. After arriving at the farm we set up our Muddy VS360 ground blind and swivel-ease ground chairs in the middle of the hay field and waited for the sun to come up.  A short time later the birds were hammering and we knew we were in store for an exciting hunt.

We gave a few soft yelps and putts while the birds were still in the tree.  Shortly after fly down a big tom entered the field and was heading our direction.  When we hunt turkeys out of our Muddy ground blinds we like to put our decoys close to the blind for a few reasons. First off, if a tom hangs up there is a better chance that he’ll still be within range. The other big reason is that we really like the rush of having a fired up tom in our laps, and with the ultra-dark interior that the ground blinds provide, we know that we can get away with it.   

The big tom rushed to the setup and it wasn’t long before he was attacking our jake decoy.  I cut hard on the call to try to get him to gobble but he had fighting on his mind. Hearing gobbles at 6 steps is a rush. Spencer had finally seen enough and let his 12-gauge bark.  

The final day of the 1st season, and Spencer was tagged out on the 24th bird of our Muddy turkey camp.

We can’t thank all of the landowners enough who allow us to hunt. We know we couldn’t do this without them!  Over the course of the next several weeks, I want to encourage you to follow along on all of our Muddy outlets as we bring you short videos from our recent turkey hunts!   

Keys To Our Hunt  

  1. Roosting the birds the evening before:  If the birds aren’t there, you can’t kill them.   
  2. Setting up our MuddyVS360 ground blind in a location that we knew the birds wanted to be from prior scouting. Once we knew they roosted on the farm, we knew exactly where to place our ground blind for the morning hunt.   
  3. Persistence- Spencer hunted hard and finally on the 4th day found success.   

Check out more content and our product line at www.gomuddy.com. 

Spring Turkey Scouting and Trail Camera Tips

Pre-Season Turkey Scouting with Trail Cameras

By: Blake Aaron of Aaron Outdoors 

For those of us not located in the deep south, turkey season remains what feels like centuries away. However, don’t waste your time by wishing the preseason away. There is still a lot of work that can and should be done. Many people do not utilize their tools and time wisely to pattern turkeys for opening day. There are many “sweet” spots on your properties that can be concentrated on. These turkey scouting tips should come in handy so that you can have your #MuddyMoment on opening day!

A great tool to utilize in preseason scouting is a trail camera. Trail cameras are vital to patterning birds. They can provide you with information of where the birds are feeding, strutting, dusting, and even roostingMuddy’s lineup of cameras gives you multiple price point options to choose from as well as tons of features.  Utilizing trail cameras to do the turkey scouting for you not only saves you time, but they keep intrusion low and do the scouting while you’re not there.

Where to Setup Your Trail Cameras for Scouting Turkeys

1. Haul Roads (logging roads/field drives) 

Turkeys love to travel haul roads through farms because, like humans, turkeys tend to travel through the path of least resistance (most of the time). Haul roads make perfect strutting lanes for seasoned gobblers. Many times, the gobblers will fly down off of their roost and on to haul roads to strut which makes them visible to hens that could be roosted close by and easy for the hens to find. Lastly, haul roads are very good for hunting late in the spring season. The foliage and grass has now grown, but the haul roads remain short, making it a prime area for toms to continue to strut.  

2. Mature Cedar Trees/Dusting Areas 

Cedar trees are a perfect place to set up cameras in the preseason because turkeys will use them to stay out of the weather. It also provides them a great place to dust. Turkeys will stay in flocks and dig out holes to dust in under the cedars. Where there are hens, there will be toms. These males frequently check out these dusting areas and use them as strutting zones as well to attract those dusting hens. Turkeys will use dusting areas throughout the season so finding these types of areas could be key to your success this season.  

3. Food Plots 

When hunters think of food plots they think of deer hunting, however, food plots are great places to utilize your trail cameras for preseason scouting. Even after a long winter that has led to lack of food in the plot, turkeys will continue to use the plot as a food source due to the amount of insects and worms in the ground that are easy to find. Also, green plots such as clover or wheat (if not too tall) will be a super hot spot to find a big tom(s). If you have more than one plot to hunt, utilize trail cameras to tell you which plot is being frequented the most by the turkeys as well as what times.  Plot watcher mode, which is a feature on the Pro Cam 20 and Pro Cam 20 bundle, is a great tool to use on large food plots.  Plot watcher mode allows you to custom set the time and amount of photos your camera takes, even if not being triggered by an animal.  For example, you can set your Pro Cam 20 to take photos every minute from 7 am to 10 am and you’ll be able to see if turkeys were in the plot at that time.

These are just a few areas that you can use to do some preseason scouting on your properties with your trail cameras. The more you scout, the better chance you will have at punching your turkey tag this spring! Good luck!

Effective Turkey Decoy Strategies for Hunting Out of Ground Blinds

Turkey Decoy Strategies When Hunting from Ground Blinds

Few turkey hunters today head to the woods without having one or more decoys with them. Whether you are run and gunning turkeys in big timber country or hopping ground blinds in southern agricultural fields, decoys can help bring that boss gobbler those extra steps needed to make the kill. Hunting turkeys from ground blinds typically means you are on birds. You may have positioned the blind the evening before or have it set up in a season long hotspot. Either way, you are probably fairly confident that turkeys are close by, which is where your decoys come into play. With birds in the area, your calling has to be crisp, your turkey blind placement perfect and your turkey decoy strategies on point.

The Right Way to Use Decoys from Ground Blinds

Some turkey hunters swear by decoys and yet others curse them because they have had a bad past experience of getting busted while using them. In most instances when a turkey hunter has a bad experience using decoys, it is almost always the operator’s fault. Here are six tips for setting up turkey decoys the right way when hunting from ground blinds.

Trophy Pursuit’s Turkey Camp, Part 2

Opening day of turkey season with the Trophy Pursuit Team in southern Iowa.

  1. Ground blind placement should be between the bird and the decoys. When hunters get busted while using turkey decoys, the first question to ask them is where were their decoys set up at? The answer is always right in front of the blind. Decoys are designed to distract a gobbler and have him focus his attention on something other than yourself so you can get positioned to shoot him. When you are behind the decoy, the approaching turkey is looking right into your portable turkey blind. Instead, determine where a likely gobbler will approach from and position portable hunting blinds between him and the decoys, ideally on your shooting side.
  2. Know your range. You want your portable turkey blind close to your decoys or at least half the distance you can shoot. For example, if you can effectively pattern your shotgun out at 40 yards, you want your decoys out at 20 yards. The mistake many hunters make is their decoys are set out as far as they can shoot. What happens? A gobbler gets nervous and hangs up at 60 yards and you have blown your hunt. Keep them close when hunting turkeys from ground blinds so you either have a close shot or at worst a shot that is within range.
  3. Ground blinds should be concealed but not your turkey decoys. Decoys should be placed in open areas such as fields, right-of-ways or open timber, where often bale blinds make the best turkey blind. Putting out a set of hen decoys in thick brush 20 yards from your ground blind that you can barely see is a waste of time. Gobblers react well and are less likely to spook if they can see the decoy from far off. One of the main purposes of using decoys is to give a bird something to draw his attention in with and if your decoys are buried in the brush you will never give him that chance.
  4. Numbers matter. Fall turkey hunting warrants more decoys because birds are flocked up as opposed to the spring where there is more one on one interaction between birds. Again the purpose of using turkey decoys as part of your ground blind hunting strategies is to create authenticity around your calling. A big flock of 6 hens and a jake set out in front of your pop-up turkey blind is not realistic in the spring.
  5. Spread your decoys out. Often, several different decoys are deployed outside your ground blinds like a hen and a jake or multiple hens. When you are using more than one decoy, make sure there is plenty of space between all of them. A gobbler approaching from a distance may not be able to recognize what you are trying to emulate if all the decoys are bunched together. Similarly, if your decoys are too close and a gobbler runs in, you may have a hard time getting a shot on him. A mature gobbler may also be unwilling to join in on the action and bypass you altogether if the situation looks too
  6. Hunting ground blinds and turkey decoys should both be prepared for the weather. You probably have your ground blinds secured enough unless it is severe weather in which case you will not be out hunting anyway more than likely. However, even light breezes and hard rains depending on the style of decoys you are using can cause them to look unnatural. Be prepared with extra stakes to secure decoys or that whirling hen decoy in front of your portable turkey blind will be the only thing you see.

Top 3 Ground Blind Turkey Decoy Strategies

A gobbler’s desires change from week to week in the spring. Early on they are determining dominance in an area so aggressive decoy set ups work well to lure big, mature birds in looking for a fight. Next, comes breeding. Gobblers will move from fighting to breeding a few weeks into the season and be less receptive to aggressive decoy postures. Younger birds can be lured into jake decoys during this time because they feel they can take on a smaller bird for a chance at part of the breeding grounds. But, strutters will scare these younger birds away as they have not forgotten previous losing battles to boss gobblers earlier in the year. Try a jake decoy matched with a hen as breeding moves into full force. Gobblers will look to break up the action if they catch sight of a receptive hen in their area with a young bird. After breeding is over and hens move on to nesting, use a single feeding hen to lure in receptive gobblers to your pop-up turkey blinds later in the season.

Along with turkey hunting from a blind, there are other spring turkey hunting methods. Having decoys with you is beneficial whether you are in a blind or not. However, these top three turkey decoy strategies work the best when hunting turkeys from ground blinds.

Ground Blind Set Up #1 – Jake and Hen

If you had no other decoy set up to use from your ground blinds, the jake and hen would be it. This set up works well early through late season up until hens start to nest. Early on gobblers will come in to fight away a jake while later on as breeding ramps up a big tom will come running in to displace what he thinks is a jake crossing into his territory and moving in on his hens.

The assumption with this turkey decoy strategy is that you are hunting mature gobblers. Sometimes if the area you are hunting is heavily polluted with jakes, you are better off just using a hen decoy. Remember to position the turkey decoys off to your shooting side and not have your portable turkey blind directly in line with how you expect a bird to come in. Otherwise, his full attention may not be on the decoys but rather on you and your blind.

Ground Blind Set Up #2 – Feeding Hen

Why a feeding hen? Because when turkeys are feeding, they are calm and relaxed. If you put out a hen decoy that is upright and alert, a cunning boss gobbler will get the sense that something is not right or that she is alert for a particular reason. A group of feeding hens, 2-4 of them, works well when breeding has picked up and gobblers are looking for hens. You can add a strutter behind the hens if it is further into the breeding season to spark some competition if you are hunting in areas that contain mature birds. Keep the strutter positioned behind the hens like he is trailing them, which is a typical situation in the spring.

Ground Blind Set Up #3 – Strutting Gobbler

Turkey hunters are reluctant to put out a strutting gobbler decoy for fear that the dominant nature of it may make a bird hesitant to come in. There are two times when using a strutter decoy is successful when used as part of your ground blind hunting strategies for turkeys.

First, position a strutter facing away from where you believe a gobbler will approach from. Early season birds looking to dominate will see an away facing gobbler as an advantage to taking him on. Second, use it at the right time and right place. Stay away from this decoy setup, even if it is paired with a few feeding hens when hunting areas with jakes. Jakes will quickly be turned away from a dominate strutter later in the season. Also, this set works more effectively earlier in the season when birds are willing to challenge other gobblers for breeding rights.

Bottom line, turkey decoy strategies work effectively when planned out with ground blind hunting. Although it can happen, it is rare to throw up a decoy and make a few clucks and see a big gobbler running in. The more common scenario is having to plan your turkey hunting blind placement and decoy set up down to the last detail. These six tips should go a long way to improve your turkey hunting, especially if you are unsure of how and when to place decoys when turkey hunting from a blind. The next time you head out to one of your ground blinds for turkey hunting, think about these tips and pick the right decoy set up for tempting in a mature longbeard.

turkey hunting ground blinds

Choosing the Best Turkey Hunting Ground Blind

How to Choose and Use Turkey Hunting Ground Blinds

As the weather continues to warm and we keep hearing the cardinals chirp outside, most hunters’ thoughts are turning to turkey hunting. After all, it’s the next major event of the year that we look forward to, and it’s just around the corner! This imminent arrival means you’re probably getting your turkey decoys ready, practicing a few more mouth calls, and patterning your shotgun. But as you prepare for turkey season this spring, have you thought about turkey hunting ground blinds much? They’re used a lot for fall turkey hunting, simply because you can also deer hunt out of them. But their use for spring turkey hunting is a little more sporadic.

Maybe you’ve never used one before, but you have been eyeing them for a couple years. While some shotgun turkey hunters prefer to sit in the open and depend on their turkey hunting clothing while they hunt instead, ground blinds are almost necessary for bow hunting turkeys. Because turkeys have such amazing eyesight, more shotgun hunters are turning to turkey hunting ground blinds as well. They might not be as portable as moving your body alone, but the advantage of being completely unseen is often a better tradeoff for portability. It allows you to bring your kids along more easily (you know they can’t hold still for very long), and it grants you more freedom of movement to get ready for a shot. Provided you pick the right locations for them and take a few precautionary steps before you hunt, you’ll be impressed with the benefits of using a ground blind.

How to Choose a Hunting Blind

Convinced you need a ground blind for turkey hunting yet? Before you run to the store to put one in the back of your pickup, you need to realize one important thing: not all blinds are created equal. Some are cheaply made or poorly designed for specific hunting purposes. Others are just too bulky or don’t blend in the way they should. Take a moment to consider your turkey hunting opportunities and compare them to the major categories below. If a hunting blind meets these specific criteria, you are in business and ready for hunting.

Design/Size

First off, if the turkey hunting ground blinds you’re looking at simply aren’t big enough for you, you should pass on them. If you feel cramped inside a blind, you won’t want to hunt in it very long, which will usually limit your opportunities at bagging a bird. For bow hunters especially, having enough elbow room to draw your bow back stealthily is critical to it all working. Some people prefer shooting in a standing position, so you need to find one to fit that style of hunting. Additionally, you might want a hunting partner or camera gear to join you on a given hunt, which means you’ll need even more room. Finally, some hunting blinds just seem like they were made for anything but hunters in mind. For example, windows containing noisy Velcro or zippers are sure to spook game out of range in a split second. But windows with a silent hook release can be operated with only one hand while the other holds your weapon.

Camouflage Pattern

As we mentioned, wild turkeys have amazing eyesight and can spot the smallest little irregularities. That’s one of the advantages of hunting from a ground blind; it totally conceals your movements. But if your pop up turkey blind doesn’t blend in the way it should, it’s not really doing its job. You can (and should) always take steps to brush it in a little, even if it’s in a field setting. But that won’t hide poor designs or camouflage patterns; that would be like putting makeup on a pig. Try to get the most realistic pattern you can find so you don’t have to drastically alter the look of your turkey hunting ground blinds.

Weather Resistance

If your hunting ground blinds can’t stand up to the unpredictable spring elements, you’re out of luck. One of the advantages of using a turkey blind in the first place is to stay out of the weather, which could include sleet or rain, depending on where and when you hunt. If the blind is constructed poorly, it will likely leak through after only a little while and start raining inside too. Who wants to hunt in that?

Stability

Along with weather considerations, most hunters leave their turkey hunting ground blinds in the field for at least a few weeks. This allows time to get the turkeys acclimated to seeing it and also includes the actual hunting time you spend in it. During those few weeks, it will experience high winds, falling branches, wildlife encounters, and probably more than you even want to think about (particularly if it’s a brand new blind). But that’s just how it goes. So if your turkey hunting blinds can’t stay securely anchored or hold up to the abuse they are going to face, they probably won’t last very long.

What’s the Best Turkey Blind?

So now that you know what to look for in your turkey hunting ground blinds, it’s time to actually go buy one. But is it possible to combine all the attributes discussed above into a single option?

Ground Blind Options

Ground blinds come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and features. We pride ourselves in the fact that our blinds, tree stands, and hunting accessories are top notch quality, offering you the best products available for your hunting. We offer 3 Hub-style ground blinds, the Ravage, Redemption, and the VS360. We also offer up-in-comers in the world of both deer and turkey hunting, bale blinds. Both the Muddy Bale Blind and Muddy Portable Bale Blind offer the quality of blind needed for turkey hunting, in a better disguised package! All of the ground blinds feature a blackout interior with solid and durable exterior.

How to Use Ground Blinds

Once you get your turkey blind out of the box at home, it’s time to consider how you’re going to use it to be the most effective turkey hunter you can be. While you could simply throw your blind up in the woods and potentially kill a turkey that same day, there are some other things you should think about first.

First, it usually helps to set your turkey hunting ground blinds up early so the turkeys and other wildlife have time to get used to it before you hunt them. Some birds don’t seem to care about or even notice blinds when they’re put up that day, but some definitely do. If you’re going to go hunting at all, why wouldn’t you eliminate any possible chance of being unsuccessful before it happens? In this case, it’s a very easy solution. If you hunt on private land, simply set up your ground blinds at least a week or two before your turkey season starts. That way, the normally wary birds among the flock should have settled down again and grown used to seeing it there. When they start to expect it, you will be all set to sneak into your blind and hunt. Depending on how discerning your local turkeys are, you may even want to leave the windows open so they get used to seeing the black shapes. If you keep them closed and they’re suddenly open when you go hunting, it will have the same effect as not having a blind there in the first place. If you hunt on public land, you don’t have much of a choice. Most public lands don’t allow you to leave ground blinds overnight. And for the places that do allow it, you run the risk of someone else stealing or destroying it when you’re not there. But as long as you’re setting up near some quality gobbler hot spots, you’ll still probably get a shot at one.

Before you hunt in your new ground blinds for turkey hunting, you may also want to consider a few concealment tips. First, you’ll want to get your brand new blind dirty. Literally. Slop some mud or dirt up on the walls and rub it around. But the goal is not to create a layer that hides your camouflage and makes you look like an earthen mound. Instead, you should wipe a thin layer around and brush most of it back off. This simple act helps cover up the slight sheen from new blind materials once the sun shines on it. Have you seen what dust can do to a shiny new car? It makes it look dull, right? That’s exactly what you want for camouflaged turkey hunting ground blinds.

After the blind is in place and mudded up, you should also take just a few moments to brush it in. No matter if you’re in the deep and thick timber or within an open, grassy field, it helps to surround the blind with some other natural vegetation to hide its outline. Lay lightweight branches against the sides of the blind and even on top as long as they’re not too heavy. Tuck tufts of grass and branches into any exterior crevices or around the windows. The whole idea is to make it blend in with the surrounding vegetation as much as possible, and nothing can help do that better than using some of that natural vegetation.

Using Turkey Hunting Ground Blinds This Spring

If any of this resonates with you, it’s probably time you start looking at adding a hunting blind to your turkey hunting gear. Using a blind, especially on turkeys, offers you a much better chance of success in the field; unless you choose a blind that falls short in the features we mentioned above. But if you pick a high-quality version that puts hunters’ interests first, you’ll wonder how you ever hunted without one before.

Box Blind

Post Season Considerations | Box Blind Placement and Strategies

Box Blind Placement & Strategies

As hunters, we are always trying to elevate our game and surround ourselves with the tools and equipment that will increase our chances of success while in the field. When it comes to the post season, time allows us an opportunity to reevaluate the past deer season and make adjustments. These adjustments come in the form of new food plots, habitat improvements, new trail camera strategies, and changing the positions of your tree stands, ground blinds, and box blinds. While every single adjustment is a single piece to the bigger puzzle of a successful deer season, where the rubber meets the road so to speak is the exact placement and strategy behind where you are hunting.

We have come a long way from way from the days of when a deer stand consisted of 2 x 4’s and railroad spikes and a ground blind consisted of a bucket with a few limbs scattered around.  Those methods were effective and still are in the right situations no doubt, however, with the modern technology leading the way, today’s hunting blinds surpass anything that sportsmen of even ten years ago could have imagined.  Today, there is a long list of hunting blinds available for purchase, however, over the last three years, box blinds have continued to grow in popularity among all hunters.  Why might you ask?  The answer is simple, box blinds become a backbone for private land hunters by offering stable, consistent, and comfortable hunting.

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Why Choose a Box Blind?

Having choices is generally a good thing, so with so many hunting blinds to choose from, why should you choose a box blind?

It is All About the Two C’s

Everyone knows that there are many factors that go into being successful in the field.  Patience, persistence, hard work, and dedication are often the four building blocks that lay the foundation for a great hunt.  However, when you get down to brass tacks to lay a solid foundation you need to address the two C’s, comfort and concealment.  The fact is, if you are protected from the elements and are able to stay comfortable even in the harshest of conditions, you can extend your hours in the field.  Having the ability to stay in the field, no matter the conditions provides you with a huge advantage.  As we all know, when the weather gets rough, typically the hunting gets exciting.

Concealment is the name of the game.  Hunting from a box blind offers the hunter with an unmatched level of concealment as compared to a tree stand or even a pop up blind.  With space and storage to spare, box blinds allow the hunter the freedom to move undetected by game.  As a hunter, when you are confident in your concealment, then you have one less thing to worry about and you can concentrate on making that perfect shot.

A solid box blind creates a reliable hunting position, no matter the weather or time of year a box blind in the right setting is always a position that produces opportunities. Without box blinds, uncomfortable hunting conditions such as below freezing temperatures, high winds, or rain will keep hunters inside. The box blind is the opportunity that you should have available on your hunting property.

A Worthy Investment

Hunting is a very gear intensive activity, and as result, sportsmen have come to have high expectation of their hunting equipment. If you spend your hard earned money on a piece of equipment you want that piece of equipment to last and function for many seasons.  You expect it to withstand the elements, and you ultimately expect it to have a positive impact on your overall hunting experience.  Without question, a well-constructed box blind will check all of those boxes and much more.  The typical lifespan of a well-constructed box blind can be well over 15 years. A deluxe box blind that is feature driven that far exceeds what most box blinds entail can last even longer. What should you look for in a box blind? Check below to see a score sheet to judge a box blinds features before the buy.

Box Blinds, Food Sources, and Placement Strategies

One of the best attributes of a box blind is that they can literally be deployed in just about any setting or location.  From wide open range land to heavily wooded ridges, it doesn’t matter, you can use them anywhere.  Although box blinds are very adaptable to a wide range of conditions and situations, exactly where you choose to place your blind can often make all the difference.  There are certainly locations and settings that are more conducive for box blind hunting than others, and understanding how best to use your box blind is certainly an important piece of the puzzle.

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Box Blinds & Food Sources

Without question, one of the most popular locations to set a box blind is within close proximity of a food source.  These may be large Ag fields or small food plot locations. The pull and reliability of food goes hand in hand with box blinds. The pair creates an excellent location for hunting for a variety of reasons.

By in large, Ag fields and food plots have several facets in common.  Both attract a wide array of wildlife throughout the course of the year, however, both Ag fields and food plots come with their own set of challenges when it comes to planning how to hunt these areas.  The smaller the area, the easier it is to utilize a wider range of deer stands or ground blinds, however, as these areas grow in size and shape it can become challenging to find a suitable stand location.

Large food plots and Ag fields are harder to hunt for a couple of key reasons.  The first is simply the lack of stand locations.  Unless there is a draw or other scattered trees throughout the field (which is highly unlikely) you will likely be restricted to hunting the field edges.  In some cases, hunting the field edges can be very effective, especially if you are packing some firepower.  Things change significantly once you put down the rifle or slug gun and pick up your archery equipment as your effective range is cut dramatically, as it can only take a few seconds for your hit list buck to go from in range to out of range.

The second and albeit most common scenario is simply that the game you are after is utilizing the center of the field, and there just isn’t a good opportunity to hunt an “edge set”.  In larger fields, wildlife like white-tailed deer and wild turkeys will often utilize the center of these large food plots and Ag fields for a number of reasons.  For starters, they can see for a great distance, so they tend to feel safer knowing that they can see danger coming, and have time to escape.  Secondly, the center of the field often has more waste grain than the edges.  Field edges are typically less productive and thereby can sometimes have less food available.  The same holds true in a food plot scenario, as forage quality typically increases the closer you get to the center of the plot.

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If you find yourself in this situation, there is a good chance that you are going back to the drawing board in an effort to figure out a way to effectively get to where you need to be in the field, and hopefully, fill a tag.  Clearly, a deer stand is not the answer.  A tripod stand does have its advantages and can be effective in these situations however they are typically more effective when used in close proximity to cover as the structure and cover helps break up the outline and silhouette of the hunter.

Pop-up blinds can work in these settings.  They have proven to be effective time and time again for harvesting game in the open country; however, they do come with a certain set of challenges.  In open landscapes with high winds, using a pop-up blind can be difficult.  Though they are built tough, it can be hard for them to hold up to a high level of sustained wind and as a result, high winds can often restrict your ability to hunt and when your numbers of days available to hunt are limited you need to make every day count.  Probably most important, however, is visibility.  Most pop-up blinds are utilized directly on the ground, and as a result, a little topography or roll in the landscape can make it difficult to see and harvest game.

Box blinds are the absolute perfect solution for hunting in these types of locations.  Box blinds, when used in these types of locations offer you an elevated vantage point which minimizes the impact that any topography may have, and will help you to keep a keen eye on the animals in the field.   Having an elevated shooting position always affords a hunter a much easier shot window with both archery equipment as well as a firearm.  As has already been mentioned, the level of comfort and concealment you get when hunting from a box blind is unmatched.  Having the ability to move without being seen is often a critical part of being successful in the field, and no other hunting blind or stand gives the level of concealment that a box blind can provide.  Probably most important, however, is just how durable these hunting blinds are.  A box blind can handle a wide range of weather conditions, and allow you to stay in the field hunting rather than forcing you to call it a day.

TP1-9-17 from Muddy’s Trophy Pursuit on Vimeo.

Box Blind Placement Tips

Having the ability to monitor every inch of the food plot or Ag field allows the hunter to spot any wildlife that happens to slip into the plot or field, regardless of the topography or cover.  With visibility being so important, placing your box blind in an area that will increase your ability to see as much of the area as possible is important.  Although this tip may seem obvious, the fact is there are better places to place your box blind than others and sometimes we as a hunter have pre-conceived notions as to where we will place our hunting blinds and do not do a good enough job reading the area.  When this happens, we end up placing the blind in a suboptimal location, which inevitably costs us an opportunity.

Look for the High Spot

Before you set your box blind, take a good hard look at the area you are planning to hunt.  At first glance, it might all look the same however if you pay it a second or even a third glance there may be slight rolls or high points in the field that could offer an increased vantage point.  Remember the more height you have, the greater your visibility can be.  It is important to remember that the highest point in an area is typically the area that receives the most wind, so be sure to anchor your blind accordingly.

Path Most Traveled

Scouting is always the name of the game, and putting your trail cameras to good use can really pay off when it comes to setting up your pop up blind.  Having an understanding as to how wildlife enters and exit the field, and where the primary trail locations are can be excellent information to have in your back pocket as you begun to set up your box blind. You want to be close to these areas if you can, however, always keep visibility in mind, and try not to sacrifice your visibility if you can help it.  Be aware of bedding and roosting areas as well, and you would want to minimize any disturbance to these areas.

Although it is important to understand where wildlife enters and exit the food plot or Ag field you are hunting, it can be even more important to understand where they tend to spend the majority of their time while in the field.  Generally, these are better locations to establish your box blind set then along a major trail or travel area.

Entry and Exit

Without a doubt, developing your entry and exit strategy before you set your box blind can be one of the biggest steps in the whole process.  Developing your entry and exit strategy requires you to take an over-arching, comprehensive look at the entire set up and determines where the best blind location is, based upon all the factors available to you (visibility, wildlife use, scouting info, etc.).

Hunting in open areas like food plots or Ag fields can be a challenge, mainly because of ability for wildlife to see you coming and going.  Anytime you can take this advantage away from the game you are after it’s a plus.  Often, you can utilize topographical features like drainage ways, draws and even rolls in the field to help you make your entry and exit a little easier and a little more concealed.  If the opportunities to utilize natural features are not there, there are other options such as leaving standing grain or planting vegetative screens.  You might be surprised just how much cover can be afforded to a hunter by leaving just a couple rows of corn.  Likewise, planting a vegetative screen such as Sorghum-Sudan grass or tall native grasses like Big Bluestem can really do wonders to hide a hunter’s movement to and from the blind.

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Always give strong consideration to prevailing wind directions and what the optimal wind conditions may be for your box blind set.  Although your scent will be greatly minimized once you are in the blind, you still need to be able to get to and from the blind without spooking any wildlife life in the area, and if you are planning to use your box blind for species like white-tailed deer or pronghorn then the wind direction will should play a big part in your decision-making process.

Box blinds, like the hunters who use them continue to evolve and become more efficient and effective each and every year.  A box blind can be a sound investment for any hunter who is looking to raise their game to another level and appreciates staying concealed and comfortable each and every time they hit the field.

New 2017 Muddy Box Blind

New for 2017, Muddy introduces the Gunner box blind. The Gunner box blind is the younger brother of the Muddy Bull box blind. From the same genetic pool, the Gunner features all of the bells and whistles of its older brother, the Muddy Bull, just in a smaller package. This offers hunters the same superior quality they have come to expect from the Muddy Bull Blind, now in a smaller and more budget friendly blind! Check it out below!

Ground Blind Hunting Tips Photo Credit: Trophy Pursuit

Ground Blind Hunting Tips for the Late Season

 

Ground Blind Hunting Tips For Late Season Hunting

The 9th inning has arrived and while to many hunters that sounds like we are the bearer of bad news, it, in fact, is quite the opposite. Knowledge is power, and in this case, it is your only opportunity at scoring a 9th inning buck. For the past several weeks our blog topics have been diving into preparation for the late season. It now seems to be a fit time to dive straight into the actual hunting tactics. For the last weeks of deer season, a ground blind stands as one of best tools a hunter can possibly use. The characteristics of the late season intertwined with a ground blind’s effectiveness is unrivaled during this time period. Take these ground blind hunting tips for the late season and apply them to your hunting strategy. The time period, the tool, these tips, and the strategy all come together to give you a chance at that 9th inning buck you are so desperately seeking.

With state’s firearms seasons closing, bucks are finally starting to feel the effects of relentless hunting pressure lifting off of properties. This godsend goes hand in hand with the arrival of cold temperatures and the attraction of late season food sources. These ingredients spell out a recipe for one of the best times to kill you hit-list buck, even when it is the 9th inning! The reason for this is not just due in part to the biology and behavior of white-tailed deer, but what tools have been made available that are so extremely effective during these last weeks.

Trail Cameras Tell the Story

In the past weeks, the relentless preparation and work to establish intel on late season food sources have been put entirely on the shoulders of trail cameras. In recent weeks we have provided countless trail camera tips, and trail camera settings for the late season in order to help you discover a “patternable” mature buck on these food sources.

 

 

For all practical purposes, trail cameras have started and are currently telling the story of the late season. With the help of both trail cameras on time-lapse mode, and trail cameras in late season funnels a mature buck cannot go unseen when entering a late season food source. Now, with the season running out of pages so to speak, hunters look for a hunting tool and tactic to finish and close the book on a hit-list buck!

Blinds Finish It

During this time of year blinds, in general, take precedence over tree stands. Whether you favor box blinds, elevated ground blinds, mobile ground blinds, or bale blinds doesn’t matter, the simple fact is that they are the best tool for the job. Why?

Whitetail 101 Episode 17 from Muddy’s Trophy Pursuit on Vimeo.

Bill Winke, the host of Midwest Whitetail and Muddy’s Whitetail 101, explains why blinds are the only tool for the job in the late season. The very nature of deer and the late season support this reasoning…

  • It’s Cold –Temperatures dropping beneath 32 degrees packs quite a punch, especially with a 10 mph wind backing it. Blinds offer a hunter a windscreen and ultimately provides a hunter with a buffer from the weather and late season elements.
  • Deer are FED UP with Movement– By now deer are extremely wary of the slightest movements. This can make hunting from a tree stand nearly impossible. Rather, a ground blind or elevated box blind allows you to conceal your movements.
  • Food Source– In this period of deer season, with the deer so heavily focused on food, easily mobile ground blinds can easily be placed and moved in and around the food sources according to patterns and wind directions.

While blinds might be the best tool for the late season, no tool is without a flaw. The simple fact is that you are at the deer’s level. This requires extra precautions from both their sight and sense of smell. Ground blind hunting in the late season requires special attention in the placement according to both the deer and the food source.

Ground Blind Hunting and Placement Tips

Trail Cameras Weekly’s Weston Schrank walk you through how to determine the perfect spot for the blind on your late season food source. It will depend entirely on these 5 features. Take a good look at these features not only when you are setting up the blind, but every time you hunt as they are constantly changing.

 

  • Food Source – Identify and take a good look at the food source and all of the features and characteristics of the area.
  • Bedding Area – Figure out where the closest bedding area is, also consider where a mature buck might bed.
  • Funnels and Runs – You need to identify the main funnel or easiest travel route for the deer utilizing the food source.
  • Wind and Thermals– The wind direction and more importantly thermals are the most important consideration in relation to your blind setup location, the bedding area, and where the deer will be.
  • Hunter Access -Your entrance/exit route must be safe during the day and night, In order to keep the food source pressure free.

 

By looking at a map and scouting the food source and surrounding area, the above 5 features will easily suggest the best location for the blind.

Other Ground Blind Hunting Tips for the Late Season

Remember, late season hunting is nearly always afternoon hunting. It is ideal for the late season as deer work their way out of the bedding areas on very cold days to feed on the food source early to avoid the frigid temps of the early morning. This feeding will occur in daylight for the most part as they simply need more time to feed! This means thermals mid-hunt to the last hour of light will begin to drop off the hills and follow topography like water. The goal is to set the blind up where we can access it without walking across where we expect deer for scent purposes, or allow deer in the bedding area to see us, and also needing to consider our exit in relation to deer feeding in the field. At the same time, you must make sure the wind direction and/or the falling thermals are exiting the field in a way that for the most part deer will not catch your wind.

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By reading these ground blind hunting tips, you should walk away with three key take home points…One, the 9th inning is not the time to give up on deer season. Two, you should be hunting out of a ground blind during the late season. Finally three, there is a lot more to setting up a ground blind that simply placing it for the shot. With ideal blind setups for late season hunting, observations in place, and required prep work from trail cameras and scouting, you will be setting yourself up for success in either this week or the cold weeks to come!

Photo Credit: Fall Oak Outdoors

Top 3 Locations to Put Your Tree Stands This Fall

Which Tree Stands You Should Use in These Hot Spots

Hunters are always looking for that secret hidey-hole spot where they can consistently arrow a mature buck year after year. You know what we’re talking about. It’s that hidden little gem of a spot that you always keep for the perfect weather conditions and don’t tell anyone else about. It’s no easy feat to accomplish this goal, but it can be done with some good scouting, disciplined hunting, and a quality deer stand. If you’re eyeing your tree stands right now, trying to figure out where you should put them for the first early season hunt of the year, then read on.

Why Tree Stand Placement is Critical 

the top three places to put your tree stands this fall | Muddy OutdoorsIf your goal is to kill a big whitetail (why wouldn’t it be?), then you need to be where the big whitetails are, right? During the rut, bucks could show up anywhere in their pursuit of new does. But during the early season, bucks are more predictable in their daily movement patterns and stay fairly close to “home base.” They need food, water, and cover to survive, so that’s your basic starting point. But since there’s not much human pressure for early season deer hunting, they’re not too picky about finding remote thickets to hide out in just yet. A simple spot with good cover and little human intrusion is good enough. Also, food is still plentiful in most areas this time of year, making it easy for them to bed and feed within fairly close proximity to each other.

So if that’s all that’s required, why don’t more hunters repeatedly get their target list bucks? There are obviously more variables than these in a real hunting situation (e.g., weather conditions, scent control, camouflage, hunting practices, etc.) that can complicate the matter. And as far as how to pick a tree stand location, there are better spots within the broad definitions we mentioned already. By locating yourself in one of the high percentage spots below, you’ll be in a great position for tagging out.

Three Best Places to Hang Your Tree Stands

Without further ado, let’s reveal the three best places to hunt deer. But we’ll do you one better than that. We’ll also explain the types of tree stands you should use for each area, since different spots will require a different approach and tactics.

The Farm Field Tree Stand

This one is a given for many people in farm country. If you have access to agricultural fields with corn, beans, or even alfalfa, you’ve likely sat on the edge of them at some point. And why not? It’s hard to resist these spots. You have great visibility and the deer inevitably come out to eat each night.

Why are these spots so great for early season hunts? Bucks are still on their summer feeding pattern, which means they will be chowing down on the easily available forage on the farm fields each evening. And again, as long as they don’t feel pressured, they will continue this pattern until the velvet starts to dry up. At that point, bucks will usually split ways and live solo the rest of the fall. So capitalize on this unique window of time while you can.

The best tree stands for these areas are box stands or ground blinds. They offer almost total concealment, which is important for keeping the deer unaware. There are usually many pairs of eyes on the field watching for danger, so being concealed inside will help you get away with a little more movement. It will also help contain your scent while you’re hunting. The key with this setup is to be tucked into the woods a little bit, where you can sneak out on an access trail. If you’re too exposed, it will be impossible to leave your stand at the end of the day when there are deer on the field.

the top three places to put your tree stands this fall | Muddy OutdoorsThe Hunting Plot Tree Stand

Similar to the larger field stand, the hunting food plot location works because it can attract hungry deer. But what’s special about this setup is that it is usually located in a secluded spot with good cover around it, which makes it especially attractive to more reclusive bucks. Even early season bucks can get shy about daytime appearances when they start shedding their velvet. But a hunting plot is surrounded by thick security cover, which makes them feel safe to enter during the day.

In order for this to work, the hunting plot should be no bigger than one quarter acre and it should be planted with a very high attraction food plot species. Good options include brassicas, cereal grains, and annual clovers. These species tend to grow fine on shaded, smaller plots. The smaller size will also draw deer in for security purposes, but they are too small to keep them browsing all night. Eventually, they will usually move along to larger fields as night approaches.

The best tree stands for these areas are climbing tree stands. You can easily sneak into one of these areas during the afternoon, climb up the tree, hunt the evening, and shimmy back down when it’s time to leave. The Woodsman climbing tree stand is constructed of lightweight aluminum, yet is comfortable and durable enough for many evening hunts to come.

The Double Whammy Tree Stand

The last spot you should consider hanging your early season tree stands is actually a combination of a good water source and heavy cover. While deer get a lot of their water needs from the vegetation they eat, hotter-than-average early season temperatures will be sure to send deer to available water sources. If you can find or make a water source near thick cover (e.g., dogwood thicket, early successional forest, etc.), you can bet that deer will be bedded nearby.

It’s always a calculated move to hunt near bedding areas. But sometimes fortune favors the brave. The best tree stands for these areas are lock on stands. Why? When the conditions are right, you can simply sneak in and climb into your lock on stand (using a safety harness, of course) without much disturbance. The nice thing about these hunting tree stands is that you can hang several of them in different promising spots and then only hunt them when the weather is right.

There you have it. Three great early season hunting spots and which tree stands you should use in each one. This season, consider whether you have access to one of these areas and strongly consider doing something about it. You might like the outcome.

3-things-you-should-do-now-for-spring-turkey-hunting | Muddy Outdoors

MUDDY BALE BLIND | 3 THINGS YOU SHOULD DO RIGHT NOW FOR SPRING TURKEY HUNTING

Spring Turkey Hunting | Food Plots, Scouting, and Bale Blind Placement for Turkey Hunting

Its early morning, you’re in a bale blind, overlooking a grown up field. The sun is on the way up,  and you have just received enough light to make out the silhouette of the tom on his roost. You have lucked into the perfect spot. Your hearts pumping, the tom is hammering, and you couldn’t be surer that this will happen, you think everything is in place for a successful, perfect turkey hunt. However, once the sun peaks its head over the trees the tom flies down in a different direction, hits the ground, and bolts to the next county…the hunt is over, and you are left dumbfounded with several questions. Was it my calling? My set up? Was it this field?  While it’s unsure why or what ruined the hunt, one thing is for sure, you did not do your homework! The main reason that often lays behind a failed turkey hunt, is often what’s behind a failed deer hunt…lack of preparation. This groundwork starts now. Do not make the mistake of being overdue on these 3 critical things you should be doing right now for spring turkey hunting.

When it comes to spring turkey hunting everything and everyone has two thing that stands out, from the hunters, websites, and videos, to the TV shows, web shows, and blogs. They focus on giving you advice, tips, and tactics on how to call and how to use decoys. While calling and decoying are vital to the success of a turkey hunt, they should not absorb the majority of the attention. When they do, hunters themselves begin to forget the other key aspects. Once a turkey hunter learns the turkey talk, and knows how to set up turkey decoys, he will realize there are several things not mentioned in “turkey hunting advice or tips”  that should be mentioned and considered before turkey season starts.

Planting Food Plots

One thing that is often forgot about when it comes to turkey hunting, is food plots. Turkey hunters continuously come into this problem, and it goes ignored year after year. What’s the most commonly encountered setting for turkey hunting? Take a guess! You probably would have said one of the two, open timber or a barren Ag field, and you would be right. While those all can produce turkeys, and could lead to successful hunts, you might want to try your hand at actually creating a turkey hunting food plot. The correct food plot will draw turkeys, especially more often than the open timber or a desolate Ag field.

3 Things You Should Do Now for Spring Turkey Hunting | Muddy OutdoorsClover and alfalfa food plots are excellent spring food plots to kill turkeys in. Yes this basically includes the everyday hayfield with red clover species and alfalfa. But for the more determined, a specific food plot, planted in white clover or alfalfa, can create the optimum feeding area and strut zone for the spring.

With turkey seasons already opening up in southern states, plant or over seed your existing food plots as early as you can. Given a good rain, ample warm weather, and sunshine, your clover and alfalfa plots should be established enough to draw in birds (depending on the exact opening date of your season).

Scouting Spring Turkeys

Scouting turkeys before the season opens is also an underestimated turkey hunting tactic. The assumption that “turkeys will always be in that field” can cause over-confidence, and a real shock when the hunter realizes there isn’t a tom within earshot on opening morning. Scouting doesn’t take a lot of time and it can give you a lot of useful information to get on a bird fast. There are three types of scouting you should consider starting now before it’s too late.

  • Glassing- Once birds transition from winter flocks they will switch from feeding on the last acorns in the timber, to spring break up, and concentrating on feeding in green fields. You are able to glass these new food sources with certainty of some sort of regular pattern. Keep your head low, don’t spoke the birds, and glass food plots, fields, feeding areas, and strut zones.
  • Locating- While roosting the bird the night before is one of the most successful proven strategies when turkey hunting, locating them with the same locater calls can give you a good idea of where they will be different parts of the day. The highest point of the property gives you the clearest line of sound to the bird. Let out a crow or owl call and listen for the response.
  • Trail Cameras- Once the flock separates and their food sources change to green fields a hunter should become dependent on trail cameras. Just as in deer (if not more), patterns can be honed in on and taken advantage of. Placing cameras over logging roads, field openings, and over food plots can have you dialed in on birds without spending the time on actually going out and locating them. Spring and summer require a lot from a camera, find out what the requirements are for the best cameras for spring/summer here. Placing out a quality camera on one of these locations with the right mode and settings can/will reveal a lot of information before opening morning.

Now marks the perfect time to begin to scout. Winter flocks are breaking up, acorns have been devoured from the timber, and spring green up is pushing the birds into food plots and fields. The final 2-3 weeks before the turkey season opens is when you need to scout the hardest, but be careful to not spook any of the birds.

Placing and Selecting the Right Ground Blind – Have you considered a Bale Blind?

Once you have patterned the birds to a general idea of where they roost and what field they will be going to in the morning, you will be ready to make your move. Turkeys are pretty oblivious when it comes to ground blinds, meaning you can more often than not get away with placing a ground blind out the same morning you will hunt. However, if you know exactly where the birds will be, you should ideally put a blind out in the final weeks before the season. If the hunting blind sticks out like a sore thumb you can bet they might avoid that section of the field or food plot. If you have still not put out your blind, or have not purchased one yet, then there are several things to consider. If you are looking to purchase a ground blind for turkey hunting this year, understand that the best turkey hunting blind will need to have these requirements.

  • Blends In- A good hunting blind will be able to blend into the setting it is placed. Besides the obvious camo pattern, blinds have recently shift in the thought and ideal. The normal square ground blinds are now joined by popularity growing Bale Blinds. The bale blinds that are now available, create a perfect solution for certain turkey hunting situations. Food plots, pastures, and hay fields are now more easily hunted. Before bale blinds, sticking a regular camo square ground blind in the open filed type scenario would be blatantly obvious to any bird. The bale blinds look inconspicuous in this setting, giving the idea that it’s just another round bale
    3 Things You Should Do Now for Spring Turkey Hunting | Muddy Outdoors
  • Is Spacious- When it comes to turkey hunting out of a blind, space is everything! Whether you are bow hunting turkeys out of the blind, filming your hunt, or taking youth out on opening morning, the more space you have the more successful your hunt will be. Let’s think about everything that might go into the blind. Chairs, bow or gun, camera equipment, backpack, decoys ( if you take one out of your set during the hunt), another person, and potentially a lot more gear depending on what you need to be comfortable in a blind. A blind with ample room, a width around 64+ inches, is ideal.
  • Has Multiple Windows- This one’s obvious, the more windows, the more shooting angle and opportunities you get. A ground blind with multiple windows, different types/sections of windows, and minimal blind spots is ideal. These windows need to be dead silent to take down and back up, you never know what a hunt with throw at you.
  • Has a Flat Black Interior- Staying hidden inside the blind is a must for turkey hunting. A flat black interior on a bind creates the ability to be invisible inside it. When turkey hunting, keep only the front window facing the decoys open, closing up the surrounding windows will restrict the light that’s coming into the blind, and get rid of any silhouettes. When hunting out of a blind, do not wear your normal camo pattern. Wear a black top, black hat, and apply face paint to darken your face, this will virtually eliminate any chance the birds see movement in the blind.
  • Be Portable- Many turkey hunters simply do not like turkey hunting out of blinds. When asked, majority of hunters simply do not like the idea of not being able to move around on a bird. Having a blind that can be portable can be huge advantage on a turkey hunt. A blind that can be packed up, and moved easily, is ideal.
Muddy Portable Bail Blind 2015 ATA Show
(Video)- The new Muddy Portable Bale Blind revealed at the 2015 ATA Show. This blind gives the features and look of the old Muddy Bale Blind, but is now portable.

Again, the main reason that lays behind a failed turkey hunt, is often what’s behind a failed deer hunt…lack of preparation. This year’s preparation starts now, do not make the mistake of being overdue on these 3 critical things you should be doing right now for spring turkey hunting.  Do your homework, put in the work, and know the tools you need for the hunt.