Deer hunting occurs across the country in a variety of environments from cut cornfields to heavily timbered forests. Regardless of where you hunt deer, there are two constants: deer will see and smell you if you’re not well concealed. Especially pressured deer, which are incredibly wary of shapes, sounds, and scents in their environment.
While frustrating as this may be there is a piece of gear that can work to fool almost every one of the deer's senses if you do your part. This piece of wonder gear is the deer hunting blind. Blinds work by concealing the hunter inside or at least behind a camouflage material. What's more is blinds reduce the noise of a hunter since they act as a sound buffer.
Blinds also help to trap the scent of a hunter, this isn't foolproof and if you aren't careful you can still give away your position by scent. But it's a major bonus to have a wind blocker in the form of a blind. Below are some of the different types of deer hunting blinds for different situations and styles.
Ground blinds are the public land hunter's best friend. The two options listed below are packable and simple to set up, this allows a hunter or hunters to move to where the deer are going to be and to leave no trace at the end of the hunt. Both portable and pop-up blinds are made from camouflage fabric. They will keep the rain and the wind at bay while in the field but since they are not solid structures they may flap in the heavy wind. Both options will conceal a hunter with varying degrees of comfort.
- Pop-up blinds are best suited for the "run and gun" type deer hunter. These lightweight blinds use a spring steel hoop that is folded closed like a shade for your windshield. When the hunter is ready to deploy the blind they simply pull the blind out of the bag and "whoosh" up goes the blind. Pop-ups are waterproof and most will have a scent blocker to hide your scent. A sacrifice for the weight and speed of setup is pop-ups are pretty small. Most pop-ups are 5 feet wide by 5 feet tall. A camp stool would be a wise companion for a pop-up blind.
- Portable blinds like the Browning Evade assemble similar to an awning that you would have for a tailgate or barbeque. They are sturdier than their pop-up cousins with aluminum poles that lock into place. Portable blinds are great for a semi-permanent hunting spot. They hide movement and scent well while not being too heavy to carry in on a walk-in hunt. These blinds are also roomy with a decent overall height making them a great choice for bowhunters and those who are bringing a buddy. I would recommend setting up a portable blind a few days or more before you plan on hunting, this time willlet the deer in the area get used to a new structure on the edge of their turf.
There are times when the terrain just doesn't accommodate the use of a ground blind, for that there are elevated blinds. Elevated blinds have two advantages over the ground blind. First, safety. When shooting from an elevated position your bullet or arrow is heading towards the ground at a sharper angle than from a ground blind. While a miss is never welcomed, putting a slug in the dirt is preferable to putting it into a neighboring county.
There are times when the terrain just doesn't accommodate the use of a ground blind, for that there are elevated blinds.
The second is that an elevated position affords you a 360-degree vantage of your hunting area. No buck is going to sneak in from behind if you can spot him coming down that back trail. Two of the three options below fall under the category of permanent type blinds. Those being the box blind and the tripod blind. The last option; the treestand blind is probably the most attainable for the average deer hunter and the only one that is likely to be encountered on public lands.
- Tripod blinds are middle-of-the-road blinds between portable blinds and box blinds. Tripods are semi-permanent as they can be taken down like a ladder stand, but they are taller than the average ladder stand so I would think long and hard before moving yours. Tripod blinds can feature a hard shell or fabric design depending on your needs and budget. Hard-shelled blinds are venturing into the realm of box blinds with their roominess and protection from the elements.
- Box blinds are fixed structures commonly seen on private properties where hunting is done with focus and tradition. In colder states, some hunt camps choose to add true comforts like heaters and cushioned chairs. While some hunters consider this to be “not hunting” the tradition and community around these blinds are worth mentioning. Box blinds feature almost complete protection from the elements and great concealment from deer. Since box blinds don’t move they must be hunted carefully and sometimes don’t pay off, but the hot coffee and dry room make the birdwatching bearable.
- Tree stand blinds are more of an accessory than a stand-alone product for hunters. Many stand blinds work to conceal movement more than hide the scent. For instance, the Universal Tree Stand Blind fits over your chosen stand and affords you cover from the extra wary deer that looks up. With the increase in hunters self filming their hunts I could see having a stand blind so that I don’t spook deer while fiddling with my camera.
Deer hunting blinds come in all shapes and sizes, suitable for nearly any occasion a hunter will find themselves in. Study your terrain, and study your own tactics to figure out the perfect option for your local deer hunt. You will find yourself hunting more often and harder as you see the new success that a blind can bring.