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Deer at Eye Level with Ground Blinds
written by Tracy Breen

Once you've mastered hunting from a pop-up blind, nothing will give you the heart-pounding adrenalin rush you get when you are eye to eye with a monster buck!
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There's no question about it. The most popular method to hunt whitetail deer is from an elevated stand. Being above the ground offers several advantages that hunting from the ground does not. But not every hunter thinks hunting 20 feet off the ground is a fun and enjoyable experience. And, even though the success rate for harvesting deer from the ground is much lower than hunting from a treestand, some older hunters as well as individuals who simply don't like hanging off a tree prefer to hunt from the ground.  Whatever your reason, hunting from the ground can be a positive experience, one where hunters end up counting much more than ground squirrels.  

Primos Double Bull Blind

Large ground blinds like the Primos Double Wide are perfect for hunters who needs lots of room for gear and gadgets.

Pop-up ground blinds are gaining popularity among grounded hunters because, when used properly, they can make it easier to harvest deer and other big game animals. Pop-up blinds are lightweight, which makes them easy to transport, and most pop up in a few seconds.

Some hunters, however, don't like pop-up blinds. Many of those hunters put the blind out on the edge of a field and climb inside, and then can't understand why they never see deer. If they do see a deer, it usually gives them a head bob, snorts, and does not present a shot opportunity. If you have hunted from a ground blind and experienced this, your blind probably stuck out like a sore thumb.

Most hunters who are successful at hunting from a ground blind do a variety of things to break up the outline of the blind. No one knows this better than Bob Ransom, President of Ameristep. According to Ransom, when hunting from a ground blind for whitetails, hunters need to take the time to pile some brush around the blind. "Regardless if a hunter leaves a blind out in the woods for a long period of time or puts it up and takes it down after each hunt, the best way to ensure hunting success is to brush in the blind," Ransom explained.

If you are hunting on public land and hunt from a ground blind, you probably put it up and take it down after each hunt. Just because you don't leave it up for long periods of time doesn't mean you can't fool the keen eyes of the whitetail. If you are hunting public land, hunt near thick vegetation. I often take my blind and push it back into thick brush where the only thing that can be seen is the window I plan to shoot from. To make sure the blind doesn't stick out like a pimple on a prom queen, I usually find old limbs to place over the roof after the blind is stuck in the brush. It's usually under 30 minutes from the moment I pop-up the blind until I climb in ready to hunt.

Breaking up the outline of your blind with brush and vegetation greatly increases your chances of outwitting a whitetail.

If you're hunting an area on public land that is fairly open, fooling a deer in a pop-up blind can be difficult. If you can't find a thick, brushy area to place your blind, put it on the edge of a swamp or in an area that has dark timber where the blind will blend in with the shadows. If you are forced to hunt from a pop-up blind in the open, blind manufacturers suggest having the blind in the middle of an opening or field. Often if a deer can see the blind from a long distance and sees that it isn't moving as they approach it, they may not pay much attention to it and stroll within shooting distance. This is especially true if you are gun hunting and can take long distance shots. If you are a bowhunter, getting a shot in a pop-up blind is tough unless it is well hidden.

If you have the luxury of hunting on private land, experiencing success from a pop-up blind is fairly easy. Put your blind in the area you plan to hunt a few weeks before you plan on hunting, brush it in and voila! you're done. Once the deer get used to the blind, they won't pay much attention to it. According to Ransom, you should plan on having the blind in place at least two weeks before you plan to hunt from it.

Just like any style of hunting, the more you focus on the small details, the better chance you have of bagging a buck. When you start shopping around for a pop-up blind, choose one that has all the bells and whistles; that can make the difference between going home with a deer and going home with your gear.

Choose a blind that is the proper size for your style of hunting. If you plan to bring your kids into the woods with you, buy a blind that can hold more than one person. If you are a bowhunter, consider buying the smallest blind available that allows you to come to full draw. Small blinds have a smaller outline, are easier to conceal, and generally don't spook deer as easily as larger blinds, which means you have a better chance of getting within bow range of a buck.

The author with a doe he harvested from a pop-up ground blind.

Other must-have features include a black interior, which most blind companies offer. The black interior makes it hard for animals to see inside, and that allows you to get away with more movement than you would if you were hunting from a treestand. If you purchase a blind with a dark interior, make sure it comes with shoot-through window covering. Deer seem to spook when they see big, dark openings. With the mesh material placed over the windows, they don't seem to pay any attention to the windows or what is going on inside. Last year, I harvested two does at point-blank range and shot through a mesh window both times.

Hunting from a ground blind does offer some advantages. For starters, if you enjoy hunting during the late season, hunting from the ground is warmer than hunting twenty feet in a tree. The blind often adds a layer of protection against the wind, rain and snow. If you enjoy hunting all day, having a comfortable fold-up chair beats hunting from a treestand. Ground blinds help conceal your scent. They can never eliminate it, but a blind that has most of the windows closed will prevent some of your scent from traveling downwind.

Video taping hunting adventures is very popular these days, and capturing the moment from a ground blind is ideal. If you have someone with you, they can do the taping. If you hunt alone, use a tripod. Either way, the deer won't see the camera concealed in the blind like they would if you were moving it around trying to get the perfect shot angle while hunting from a tree.

A ground blind provides lots of options. Hunters often find themselves in an area with lots of brush or ground cover but not a lot of large trees. In the past, you may not have been able to hunt in these types of areas. With a pop-up blind and half an hour, you are ready to hunt.

Hunting from a pop-up blind can be difficult. It requires an eye for detail and some extra time to make sure your blind looks like part of the landscape instead of a big brown blob. However, once you have mastered hunting from a pop-up blind, nothing will give you the heart-pounding adrenalin rush you get when you are eye to eye with a monster buck!

Shop all pop-up blinds at BassPro.com


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