Ground Blind Basics: Tips for a Better Ground Blind Experience
By Aaron Carter
Want to hunt with archery tackle from a ground blind? Before heading afield here are a few things to ponder.
For the archer, who must get close to his quarry for an ethical shot, the ground blind is an indispensible tool. Why? Ground blinds permit the hunter to position him- or herself at the desired range for the pending shot, reduce scent dispersion (especially when combined with other odor-minimizing measures), and hide game-spooking movement. In inclement weather, they also keep the hunter comfortable longer, keeping them afield. But, as with treestands and tripods, hunting from a ground blind presents its own unique set of challenges. Here are a few things to consider before climbing inside your ground blind for the first time.
Holding The Bow/Crossbow: Ground blinds shroud the majority of action occurring within its walls; however, any movement has the potential to alert nearby game—especially whitetail deer. For this reason, the bow (or crossbow) should be in as close to “ready” position as possible. Bow stands, such as TRUGLO’s lightweight Bow Jack and Bow Jack Mini, keep the bow in the vertical position so that the bow need only be lifted for a shot. (You can actually take the shot without ever removing this compact, lightweight bow stand from your bow.) Similarly, using a two-point rifle rest, such as the Caldwell DeadShot Field Pod or one of the camera tripod-mounted models, minimizes movement and provides a rock-solid hold for an accurate shot. Making height and leveling changes to the rest for the anticipated shot during set up reduces gross changes later—again, minimizing movement.
It’s personal preference as to whether you have an arrow nocked or bolt loaded with the bow on the stand or crossbow on the rest. Due to the length of an arrow extending from an at-rest compound bow, I do not nock the arrow until I’m preparing for the shot. It’s not only less cumbersome but also safer; there’s less opportunity to get cut. For the crossbow, though, I opt to have the bolt loaded. Here’s why: When the crossbow is atop of the two-position rifle rest and positioned for the shot, the barrel will be in the open and movement to insert a bolt will be highly visible. Further, bolts seldom project beyond the front of the crossbow so there’s less potential to get accidentally cut. Make no mistake, the potential still exists so be careful. To reduce the risk, select a mechanical broadhead with no exposed sharp edges.
Quiver Placement: Whether on a compound bow or crossbow, quivers can be cumbrous and a nuisance—especially in the confines of a ground blind with a small footprint. As such, removing the quiver is among the first things that I do upon entering a blind. But, you must keep it nearby for quick and easy access. Companies, such as HME, offer accessory hook systems that attach to the fiberglass supports of hub-style ground blinds to hold accessories at the ready—including quivers. For a low-cost alternative, rigging an S-hook or attaching a small bungee cord to one of the blind’s fiberglass poles will accomplish the same goal. Key is keeping it close enough to minimize movement.
Lighted Sights: As ground blinds are intended to hide movement, the interiors of most are black. That opaque color, when combined with the flaps lowered to further reduce movement, greatly lessens the amount of ambient light accessible to the fiber-optic bow sight. For this reason, it would behoove the ardent ground blind hunter to select a fiber-optic sight with extra-long strands to capture available light, or, if legal, opt for one that has ability to utilize an LED light, which can provide the supplemental light needed to brighten the pins. Featuring lengthy fibers, large aperture, glow-in-the-dark shooter’s ring, and Pro-Brite Technology Pins, TRUGLO’s New Carbon XS™ Xtreme sight is among the best choices currently in the marketplace. Regardless of what sight you choose, pair it with a larger peep sight to allow additional light to enter. You can check-out TRUGLO for your peep sight needs too.
By no means an all-inclusive listing of considerations, this should nonetheless provide food for thought and help make you a safer, more effective ground blind hunter. Safe and happy hunting.