Bowhunting at a deer’s-eye view instead of from a tree
No matter what outdoor magazine it is, most bowhunting deer articles usually assume the reader hunts from a tree stand, and fittingly so. However, you can also find deer hunting success from the ground, it just takes some different steps of preparation to be ready from a deer’s-eye view.
Although hunting from a tree stand is a great way to surprise a deer, hunting from the ground can be favorable in several situations. The first is when it comes to hunting terrain that is open with limited trees or when there are lots of trees, but they are too small to place a stand in. Bowhunting early season in a tree stand can also mean limited range when it comes to viewing and shooting because of foliage still on the trees. Hunting from a blind is a great way to get under all the leaves and have a clear shooting lane as well as be able to see farther ahead of what may be coming.
We all know that the weather isn’t perfect every day during the bowhunting season. Don’t forget about the option of a blind when it comes to those rainy days that you are either miserable and soaking in a stand or at home and sulking from missing a day of hunting. Blinds are a great way to stay dry and out in the field since you can’t kill a deer from the couch!
Another great benefit to hunting from a blind reflects the people hunting in it. The average age of hunters is rising, the same as the average age of the general population is also rising. A blind is a great option when climbing into a tree stand is an issue and it is safer for a person to stay on the ground. Also, some people have a fear of heights and it is just easier, less stressful and safer for them to plan on hunting on the ground rather than 20 feet up in a tree.
Blinds are also the perfect opportunity to share the outdoors with youth. It is so important to teach youth and pass on the traditions of hunting. However, you need to make them as comfortable as possible, conceal their extra movements as well as have drinks and snacks for their hunt. There is also nothing greater than watching a child’s eye get so wide at the site of a deer or turkey directly in front of them, and blinds can make that possible!
Today, one of the best options for hunting from the ground is using a quick and easy pop-up blind. These blinds are lightweight, compact and easy to tote, set up and take down. However, just like tree stands, hunting from a blind takes preparation too. First of all, practice shooting from your blind. Image yourself in different scenarios where you are able to fold up your chair, set it aside, grab your bow and shoot from your knees. Also visualize a buck coming in quickly and you just have time to shoot from one knee while on your chair. Visualizing and practicing these situations from a blind will get you prepared for making the best shot possible when it counts.
When it comes to sitting still during long periods of time, comfort is crucial. However, those nice, big folding armchairs are a no-no when it comes to bowhunting in a blind. These large chairs are too cumbersome when it comes to moving them out of the way for a shot – especially if you have another person in the blind with you as well. Look for a smaller fold-up chair or three-legged stool. Find the best chair you can when it comes to the right size, sitting height level and quietness during folding.
The next step is to prepare your blind. Set your blind up in your yard for a few days and spray it down with a good scent killer to get rid of any human or household odors from storing. Then, try to get your blind set up about a month before you plan to hunt out of it. Unlike turkeys that don’t care about blinds or notice a change in scenery, deer will see your blind and avoid it so it needs to be set up ahead of time so they can get used to it in the landscape.
When you find where you would like to hunt, first clear away any leaves, sticks or tall grass from the blind’s spot. Set up the blind and then using ratchet cutters, trim surrounding trees to brush in the blind with limbs or whatever your surroundings are (if cornfield, brush with stalks of corn). The main goal is you want to break the hard lines of the blind so that it looks more natural and fitting in the surroundings.
If you have a buddy with you, get inside the blind as if drawing your bow and make sure you have several good shooting lanes. Direct your friend to cut away any limbs or brush that is in the way of your shot. If you are by yourself, look at your shooting options, get out of the blind and do some trimming, then get back in to check. Repeat until your shooting lanes are ready.
Now that you’ve done your preparation and setting up, it is time to hunt! Since you are not hunting out in the open, instead of wearing camouflage, wear black clothing and a black face mask so you’ll disappear inside the dark blind. Make sure you also wear black gloves so that you don’t have a bright shooting hand right in front of the window when you draw.
The main thing to remember now while deer hunting from a blind is controlling your scent. You no longer have the advantage of being up higher and playing the thermos. You are at ground level with the deer so you can’t plan on your scent drifting over the deer. Spray your boots, clothes, gear, everything with a scent-free spray and hunt with the wind in your face where you think the deer are most likely to appear.
If you are hunting in the early season, arrive to the blind early, with ratchet cutters yet again, and cut a few more branches. Remember that any branches you cut earlier now have dead leaves, so brushing the blind in a little bit more with fresh branches and leaves can help.
Next, get inside the blind and once you have everything ready, open a few windows to be sure you still have a clear shot. Only keep two or three windows open in the direction you think the deer will come from. Never open all the windows as wildlife can easily silhouette you through the blind. Once a deer appears, make sure to close any windows from behind or to the side. Now you are ready to sit and wait with a front seat ticket to the world of deer hunting!