Lesson No. 4: Ground Blinds

posted on November 24, 2009

Last year when it came time to thin the whitetail herd a bit I carried a folding chair down to the bluff that overlooks the river bottom and stuck it behind a convenient bush for cover. It was OK—I shot a couple of does from it—but it lacked some important amenities. I confess that I am not the best stand hunter. Sitting perfectly still for hours just doesn’t work for me. Too, when the wind kicks up—not exactly uncommon in the Big Horn Basin—I am even more prone to fidgeting. Add to that my deer-hunting companion is a hyperactive Border collie; I needed better cover.

I thought about constructing a shooting house, but lugging the materials to build such a facility and the tools a half-mile aboard the tractor is an undertaking far down on my “To Do” list. Eventually I may do that, but in the meantime I needed something better than a chair behind a bush. Cabela’s came to my rescue with its Lightning Set 4-Season Hunting Blind.

It has a 75x75-inch footprint and a center height of 78 inches, plenty of room for a magnum-size guy like me and Spur, the Wonder Dog. With eight windows around its circumference you can cover 360 degrees. If you shoot sticks and strings there are the shoot-through netting window veils, but I chose not to use them. Its basic assembly takes less than 30 seconds—if you can open an umbrella, you can set up this blind. Another couple of minutes are needed to stake it in place and assemble some guy lines to buffet the wind. The Seclusion 3D camo pattern blended well with the sagebrush and grasses native to my area.

I spent every afternoon for about 2 1/2 weeks in that blind with Spur, and we shot three deer from it. A neighbor shot another deer from it after I was done. I was never “busted” by the deer despite my fidgeting, and, in fact, I was able to observe some very interesting rut behavior during my time in the blind. Even on those days when the wind kicked up to 25- to 30-mph we remained comfortable and able to focus on the task at hand. There was plenty of room for my pack, and I even threw together a small table to hold my water and rangefinder.

I am not too hot about most tree stands—credit it to the fact that I weigh 240 pounds and have an artificial hip—and I absolutely refuse to climb into a tripod stand for the same reasons. This ground blind may not be the answer to every hunting situation, but I found it the next best thing to an opulent shooting house.


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