Hide and See

Successful hunters locate the target before it sees them.
 
Hunting from a tree stand is great for youngsters. But some of us seniors aren’t inclined to rise to those heights. What’s more there are prime hunting areas where the trees are too small or too widespread for stand hunting. That’s why ground blinds are becoming ever more popular. Because much of deer and turkey hunting involves waiting patiently, a ground blind can make the hunt much more pleasant, since most can accommodate a comfortable chair.
 
A blind is a great choice if you’re hunting waterfowl as well. The key is matching the blind to the environment and shooting position. That’s why a deer blind at the edge of a stand of trees and a duck blind located in tall grass have little in common.
 
Constructing a blind used to be tedious, but they’re now available commercially. You’ll find an excellent selection of Ameristep blinds at Dunham’s. Most can be erected in minutes – less than a minute with experience – and they come in a variety of styles and sizes for the lone hunter or a group.
 
The outside of most blinds features a camouflage pattern. For deer hunting, you’ll want something with natural colors that can blend in with dense shrubbery or trees. The best blinds have a black lining that can help make the hunter less obvious even if the windows are open. While you want to wear hunter orange while moving through the woods, you can remove it and wear dark colors in the blind.
 
Jackie Allen and Pat McKenna of Plano Synergy, marketer of Ameristep blinds, say the most popular deer and turkey hunting blind available at Dunham’s is the affordable Doghouse® Blind. Spacious enough for bow hunting and an ideal choice for firearm hunting, it can accommodate an adult and youngster comfortably. It features the effective Realtree Xtra camo pattern, black interior and replaceable mesh curtains. Bow hunters using a fixed blade broadhead can shoot through the mesh.
 
Another great choice at Dunham’s is the square Care Taker Blind. With a 69-inch by 69-inch shooting area and 66-inch height it easily accommodates two adult hunters, yet breaks down into a small package for transport. Dunham’s also carries the Ameristep High-Back Chair and Tripod Stool that can provide comfortable seating at the right height in the blind.
 
In the end, hunting success is largely about seeing the prey before it sees you, and a quality blind greatly improves the odds of that happening.
 
-Deer Abby
 
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HUNTING FROM BLINDS

A fundamental maxim of hunting is for you to see the prey before the prey sees you. This is why hunting blinds are so popular. They provide concealment for you, as well as a comfortable place to wait for that prey to appear. Whether you hunt deer, elk, turkey or waterfowl, blinds let you pick the perfect spot, help you blend into the environment, and protect you from the elements.
 
Buying a Blind
 
The obvious first question to ask is what are you hunting? Duck blinds and deer blinds are two completely different, well, animals. Waterfowl blinds can be set up on land or water. With deer blinds the fundamental question is bow or rifle. A bow means you’ll need more interior space. Draw your bow all the way back and then leave some wiggle room beyond that. You will also need some extra space depending on some other factors. For example, if you bring your son along, you’ll want more than a one-person blind. And if you travel via ATV you’ll want a blind big enough to hold the vehicle.
 
You also need to look at what you are hunting and the way you hunt it. Scent control is critical for deer, so you’ll want blinds with scent control fabrics. For turkey, that’s really not an issue. Camouflage is important, but don’t just assume any pattern will work. Take a look at the camouflage on the blind and make sure it will blend into the area you’re actually going to hunt in. Whether you stand or kneel will determine where you want visibility. Also, blinds with windows, screens or doors in all directions give maximum flexibility and the widest fields of fire. Portability is another big factor if you plan on moving often from site to site. Blinds vary greatly in how easy they are to transport and set up. If your site is semi-permanent, portability is not as big an issue.
 
Location, Location, Location
 
Just as in real estate, location is everything in hunting from a blind. Of course, you could say the same thing about any kind of hunting. You’ll want a high traffic location where you can blend in to your environment. That means finding appropriate cover. The best camouflaged cover in the world will stand out if it’s in an open field. Try to add bushes and/or tree branches to enhance the natural look and feel. If possible walk the area before you hunt it. Look for food supplies, cover and routes between the two. If possible, set up your blind a week or so before the actual hunt. That way the deer will get used to it.
 
But there is also an advantage to a portable blind. It lets you take into account prevailing winds so you don’t give away your scent. Try to identify several good areas for the blind and then you can set up in the best one for that day’s wind patterns.
 
Location and blending in are also important for duck blinds. You want to be on or near the water in an area you know ducks will be present. A high vegetation area will help attract ducks and will also help you camouflage the blind. You can cover the blind in camouflage netting to match the area, and cut a slit in the front where you are going to shoot.
 
Ultimately, the ducks will tell you how well your blind is set up. If circling ducks tend to fly away from your blind, you need to make some changes.
 
Tree Stands
 
Tree stands are another effective way to hunt deer. Their height gives you better visibility while preventing the deer from seeing you. While they may not be as comfortable as a blind, they give you clearer shots by allowing you to shoot over limbs and branches. There are four types of stands:
 
Ladder – Essentially a small platform at the top of some steps. Great for people who don’t want to climb and/or are insecure at height. Stable, but also heavy, not very portable and take time to set up.
 
Climbing – Involves two pieces, a chair and a platform below it. Allows you to ‘climb’ the tree while in the stand. Portable and easy to set up, but only for certain trees and for people comfortable at heights.
 
Hang-on (Lock-on) – This has a seat and footrest attached to the tree. Popular because of their versatility, they are lightweight, easy to set up and will fit most trees. The disadvantage is you have to carry the steps and climb the tree.
 
Tower – Not a stand, per se, but a separate platform with 3 or 4 legs. It’s necessary in areas without trees. It’s the only real alternative in prairie-like environments. It is comfortable and stable, but not at all portable.
 
-Deer Abby
 
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