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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.

 

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.