Rewind the clock ten or fifteen years ago and if you watched hunting TV shows or read big buck magazines, it seemed the only way to fill a deer-tag was to hunt high in the air from a treestand. But with the popularization of quality ground-blinds in recent years, such as the Redneck Blinds hay bale models, its becoming increasingly clear that you don’t need to be 20 feet up a tree to kill a big mature deer.
That said, hunting from the ground does present a unique set of circumstances and challenges that must be understood by a new ground hunter before success can consistently be had. Here, broken down by each type of sense that deer employ, are the ground-blind challenges to most keep in mind and how exactly to neutralize them.
Hunting from a ground blind presents an interesting set of benefits and challenges when it comes to a deer’s sense of sight. A ground blind, without a doubt, offers superior concealment when compared to a traditional tree stand, offering a plethora of advantages. But at the same time, being down at deer eye-level means that the ground blind hunter must be more attuned to controlling his/her movements. A quick turn of the head or a flash of a rifle scope are much more easily picked up by a deer at the same level as you, so always be aware of what parts of your body or equipment might be seen through the windows of your blind.
Whenever you have to move something within those areas of visibility, be careful to move at a very slow speed, and try to time those movements to whenever nearby deer are looking away or with their heads down feeding. Another way to reduce the chances of being spotted in your ground blind are to keep as many windows as possible closed, reducing the chance of being silhouetted, and to wear darker or completely black clothes to blend into the interior of your blind.
A good ground blind, especially when most of the windows are closed, can help contain some hunter-created sounds – but not all of them. That said, noise control is important to consider when ground hunting. First off, make sure you have a seat that’s not going to squeak or creak every time you shift your position. Redneck Blinds’ Portable Hunting Chair is a perfect example of what you want in a ground blind seat, as it’s comfortable, silent and also offers a smooth swiveling seat that allows you to change your position without effort or noise.
You’ll also want to be especially careful when it comes the sounds produced by your weapon just before firing, such as drawing back your bow or clicking back the hammer on your muzzleloader. Try to time these potential sound-producing movements with the movement of any nearby deer or when their ears are pointed in an opposite direction. Finally, be sure to pay particular attention to any gear you might be moving around inside the blind and it’s proximity to metal pieces or parts. If your gun or bow or tripod or binoculars clink up against another metal piece, it’s sure to alert any critters in the vicinity.
As with all the other examples listed above, ground blinds can actually help you contain and minimize the impact of your human odor – but only when used properly. Most importantly, you must remember that no ground blind is 100% scent-proof, so always practice comprehensive scent control. This means washing yourself and your gear with a scent free soap, keeping all of those items outside or sealed in scent-free containers and then to putting your hunting clothes on again until you’re outside and ready to head to your blind.
When you arrive at your blind, spray down again with some kind of scent eliminating spray, and consider trying a cover scent or olfactory jamming spray. Finally, if you use an ozone machine, like an Ozonics, close as many windows as possible, and position your machine over top of one window on the downwind side of the blind. By having this window open downwind, your scent stream will be funneled out this one opening, which will then be completely covered and neutralized by the ozone machine above.
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