by Jeff Johnston - Thursday, October 20, 2016
Portable ground blinds are wonderful tools for concealment where previously there was none, but they’re terrible little tents from which to shoot a bow. The shooting windows are often too high, so I have to hover above my chair as if I were using the airport john. But then the roof is so low that my top cam touches the ceiling. (If you don’t know what happens when you shoot with your bow’s cam touching anything, take my word for it that it’s not good.) Most times I try to kneel, but then my arrow usually won’t clear the window. Depending on the size of the chair, there’s scarcely enough room to draw without either scraping the front of the blind with my broadhead or whacking the chair behind me with my elbow. If I’m lucky, the buck that subsequently bolts isn’t a Booner.
It doesn’t have to be this way. The key is preparation.
Know what you’re getting into. If it’s your ground blind, practice shooting from it. If you’re with an outfitter who uses blinds, ask if you can sit in one before you start hunting so you can figure out a shooting solution by the light of day.
Find a stool that’s both comfortable for sitting and one that adjusts for height so you can shoot from it. Whatever model you chose, practice shooting from it, beside it and in front of it.
Consider using a bow tripod or a hanger that keeps your bow vertical and within reach at all times. It will make the inside of the blind even more cramped, but it will also eliminate fumbling around trying to maneuver a bow from your lap into shooting position.
Learn what windows are best to shoot from and how they work so you can quietly manipulate them in the dark. Some guides advocate shooting through mesh windows, but I strongly advise against it. While I’ve proven that sometimes it works, I’ve also proven that many times, especially with mechanical broadheads, it ends in disaster.
Lastly, remember that ground blinds work by creating shadows that hide you—so don’t let in too much light. And never place yourself between two open windows where your quarry can see your silhouette.
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