Sep 162013
 

ground blinds for bow huntingOpening morning of this year’s bowhunting season, and nothing seemed to go right. I set two alarms for 5 a.m., which would give me plenty of time to get into the woods an hour before sunrise. Somehow I slept through both and got up 45 minutes late. Rushing out (no time even for coffee), I was glad I’d packed everything the night before. My first secret weapon was on the cargo shelf behind my vehicle: a 15-speed mountain bike. It was a large conservation area, crowded on opening day, so I wanted to get away from the crowd. In half an hour, I was three miles from the parking lot and confident I’d left all the other hunters behind.

After leaving the trail on foot, I pressed deeper into the woods to a spot I’d pinpointed on the maps. It was near a sandbar that deer used to cross to the conservation area after a night of feeding on the crops of nearby farms. Here, I broke out my second secret weapon: a portable pop-up ground blind.

Why to Hunt from a Blind?

Using ground blinds for bow hunting offers some key advantages:

  • Insect protection. Early season in Missouri is brutal because of mosquitoes, which swarm the would-be hunter the moment he enters the woods. My absolute favorite thing about hunting from a blind is that it keeps the bugs away (and covers my movement as I swat occasional interlopers). Especially when I lit up my Thermacell mosquito repellent inside the blind.
  • Quick, quiet setup. Like many ground blinds, my Ameristep Doghouse has a spring-steel quick setup. You take it out of the bag, it pops open, you make two unfolds, and the blind is up. It’s so much faster and quieter than installing a tree stand! So you can set up when you’re out hunting, and move quickly between locations.
  • 360-degree camo coverage. Whether it’s Realtree AP, Mossy Oak Break-up, or some other pattern, your blind immediately offers full camouflage. Within seconds I was totally hidden from view, waiting in ambush. Perhaps most importantly for bow hunting, the blind covers my drawing motion from keen-eyed game such as wild turkey.
  • Weather protection. Weather during opening day was pretty mild, but I’m absolutely thrilled about the protection a blind offers from the two weather-related banes of my hunting existence: wind and rain. It’s not completely windproof or waterproof, especially if you leave a shooting window open, but it’s a lot better than no protection at all. Some hunters will even bring a small camp heater and keep that in the blind.

Ground Blinds for Bow Hunting

There are a lot of ground blinds for different kinds of hunting — such as the chair-sized blind for bird hunting. But bowhunting from a blind requires a fair bit of room to move inside. That’s why it’s important to choose a blind that’s big enough (both height and width). Some are only for gun hunting and won’t let you come to full draw. So here I’ll review a few blinds that can be used for bowhunting.

Doghouse Hunting Ground Blinds
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Ameristep Doghouse Ground Blind

doghouse hunting blind reviews

Blind Features:

  • Four windows / 3 portholes with shoot-through mesh
  • Weatherproof Realtree AP exterior with Edge ReLeaf 3D camo
  • Window lashings, high-wind stakes and tie-downs
  • Quick pop-up/take-down, transports in backpack (included).

My Review:

This the blind I bought and so far it’s been fantastic. The setup and take-down were quick and intuitive. The backpack is nice. And it weighs only about 14 pounds overall. The leafy 3D edges give it a very realistic appearance. Despite a couple of negative reviews, I felt this was a well-made, sturdy blind that I’ll be able to use for several seasons.

 

Doghouse Hunting Ground Blinds
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Ameristep Brickhouse Ground Blind

doghouse hunting blind reviews

Blind Features:

  • Carbon-enhanced ShadowGuard conceals movement within blind
  • Durashell fabric with rugged hub-wall design, very stable in high winds
  • Shoot-through mesh to keep insects out
  • Includes stakes and high-wind tiedowns, plus a backpack carrying case

My Review:

This is the next step up: the Brickhouse ground blind. It’s slightly wider (75″ by 75″, compared to 60″ by 60″ for the Doghouse) and has a hub-wall style design to provide extra stability in high winds. The carbon-enhanced interior shadows movement within the blind. All of that comes together in a solid blind that won’t spook the game, even on a windy day.

Big Game 360 Hunting Ground Blinds
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Big Game Treestands VS360 Ground Blind

Big Game 360 hunting blind reviews

Blind Features:

  • Full 360° view and shooting capabilities
  • Windows adjust with silent one-hand-release hooks
  • Quick-set hubs, zip roof, and nine stakes included
  • Deluxe carry bag; when packed weighs 19 pounds

My Review:

I wanted to review a ground blind from someone other than Ameristep, and this was the most popular one on Bass Pro Shops. It’s even larger than the Brickhouse (77″ by 77″ and 70″ tall), but the real selling point is the 360-degree view. Rather than four windows, it’s a continuous sliding shoot-through mesh. Quiet one-hand-operation hooks give you unlimited window adjustment.

Early Season Blind Hunts

I bought a ground blind to use in early bowhunting season, particularly for some public land in North-central Missouri. It’s not a place I can really bring my tree stand, and it’s home to a flock of turkeys I’ve been chasing for a couple of years. A pop-up ground blind was appealing: easy to transport, something to hide me from the wraparound binocular vision that turkeys are constantly employing to bust me in the woods.

My blind weighs 14 pounds, and it comes in a nice nylon backpack (which was black; I’d have preferred camo). I took it for a dry run in the backyard so I was sure I could set it up and take it down. It was actually easier than I’d read in the reviews, maybe because my kids have pop-up tents that are similar. I took the opportunity to spray it down with my homemade scent neutralizer, because new blinds do have a factory smell to them.

In the turkey woods, early Saturday morning. I bumped one bird off of roost sneaking in. Not wanting to bump the others, I snuck a few yards up the ridge to my left and set up. The blind was up in about thirty seconds. I love being able to duck into it and then get situated, hidden and muffled from the waking woods. And the bugs, for that matter. I saw several turkeys and deer that morning; including a bird that was still roosted almost overhead and a gobbler that walked behind me at around 35 yards. Nothing I could shoot, but none of them spotted me in the blind. I have a feeling the deer (a doe and three fawns) picked up my scent, though, so don’t assume that using a blind is scent-proof.

Hunting Blind Accessories

Ground blinds take a bit of getting used to, if you normally hunt from a tree stand. It made me wish for a couple of small conveniences. Trust me, these items that will make your ground blind hunt much more comfortable.

Ground Bow Holder
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Double Bull Archery Bow Holder

Ground Bow Holder Reviews

Features:

  • Holds bow with an arrow nocked
  • Easy to use and durable

My Review:

I really wished I’d had one of these today: a bow holder for use with ground blinds. Otherwise, juggling my bow (especially with an arrow nocked) was tricky. I nearly poked a hole in my blind a couple of times because of it. This holder keeps your bow in position with arrow nocked, an inexpensive but valuable convenience.

Ground Bow Holder
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Primos QS3 Magnum Tripod Stool

Ground Bow Holder Reviews

Features:

  • Triangle seat with flared backrest
  • Steel frame weighs just 6.5 ounces
  • Matrix camo pattern
  • Holds up to 300 pounds

My Review:

A hunting stool or chair is a must if you use a ground blind. Depending on the blind and your height, you may not be able to stand up inside. Besides, you’ll want to be comfortable, close to your bow, and alert when the opportunity comes. This tripod stool is a good choice because it’s lightweight but strong, and won’t take up much space in your blind.

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Written by Dan Koboldt

  2 Responses to “Ground Blinds for Bow Hunting”

  1. […] cause a lot of unnecessary sound/movement when I have to swat them. For these reasons I prefer  hunting from ground blinds and operating my Thermacell to keep them away during early […]

  2. […] toward me. It was the same path the deer had taken on my last hunt. I ducked out of view inside my Doghouse ground blind, using the closed window as cover as I raised my […]

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