You got up in the wee hours of the morning to go hunting with some of your friends, but it hasn't been a successful day. You're looking for a buck, but not even a squirrel has come past you. The three of you are staggered behind three large trees. Suddenly, you see it. It's huge -- a giant trophy buck with more points than you can count. You silently position your gun and take aim. You can see one of your hunting buddies out of the corner of your eye. He's wiggling his nose. No! This can't be happening. And then he does it -- he reaches up and scratches his nose. In the process, he swings his gun out from behind the tree. Just as quickly as it appeared, your prize buck is gone.
Perhaps nothing is more frustrating to a hunter than being discovered. When a target sees you, smells you or notices you moving, it won't be long before it disappears. One way to get an advantage over your prey is to use hunting blinds. Hunters use blinds when hunting a variety of targets, including waterfowl, deer and turkeys.
Native Americans created blinds by digging pits in the earth and covering them with tree limbs [source: Anderson]. Over the years, hunting blinds have evolved into the kind you might recognize today: a boxy or curved hut covered in camouflage. These mechanisms can greatly increase your success when hunting and boost your confidence level.
In this article, we'll take a look at different types of hunting blinds and discuss how you can build your own. Then we'll explore ways you can use and move your blinds. Read on to learn which type of hunting blinds you need for your next hunting adventure.
Types of Hunting Blinds
There are many varieties of blinds out there on the market, but they all serve the same purpose: concealment. Types of hunting blinds include:
- Portable blinds -- These often open from the top for easy hunting access. They're designed to be moved when the target animals move, so you aren't stuck out there in your blind with nothing to do.
- Pop-up blinds -- These are lightweight blinds that "pop" open when you need them and can then be folded back up for storage.
- Duck blinds -- These come in multiple varieties that are designed for use in or around water. Duck blinds can be temporary or permanent and can conceal hunters or larger items, like boats.
- Deer blinds -- Deer hunters have many more options than other hunters. They can use portable or pop-up blinds. But hard-core deer hunters may go for something more sophisticated. Options include tripod blinds (which give you a 360-degree view in open areas), box blinds (a box with windows) and tower/elevated blinds (contraptions built aboveground that are freestanding or built into existing trees).
- Goose blinds--These look kind of like sleeping bags, but they're not intended for resting. They give you easy access to geese that are flying right above you.
To entice hunters, blind-makers have added comfort to modern designs. Blinds can come with adjustable padded seats and headrests, doggie doors, multiple cover options and waterproofing. They can also be designed to blend into wooded areas or to look like stone piles, hay bales or haystacks [source: Wildfowl].
But if you don't want to spend money on hunting blinds, you don't have to. Read on to learn how to make your own hiding place.
Building Hunting Blinds
Building your own hunting blind can be rewarding, and it's a great way to get children involved in the hunting process. Before heading out, consider bringing along some helpful items:
- Scissors or a knife
- Twine, string or rope
- Burlap sacks
- Camouflage netting
Once you're out in the hunting grounds, look for a location that already has a naturally hidden feel to it -- like a small patch of trees or an incline. You can use tree stumps, hollows or large boulders as a good starting point. Gather tree limbs and leaves to use as cover. By breaking off fresh limbs instead of gathering dead ones from the ground, you can help to cover your own scent. When the limbs are broken, they will release their scent into the area [source: Hunting Blind Plans].
If you've seen hunting blinds at local stores or online, you can try to copy their shape or style. If you're building your own blind, however, you're probably ready to let your creativity run wild. Some things to consider when building:
- It's a good idea to build on the ground. Homemade blinds are much safer when they're anchored to the earth. After some practice and research, you can try aboveground blinds.
- Be sure to leave one or two holes for your gun and for viewing. It's all too easy to get carried away and forget you actually need to see out of the blind.
- Sitting or lying on the ground for long periods of time can be incredibly uncomfortable. It's a good idea to build your blind large enough to accommodate some kind of chair.
- Remember that whatever you're building is probably not going to be waterproof. Prepare for weather problems in advance by bringing raingear [source: Hunting Blind Plans].
Now that you have some ideas for hunting blinds, read on to learn how to use them properly.
Using Hunting Blinds
The key to using a hunting blind is to find a proper location. Placing a big contraption out in the middle of an otherwise empty field will be quite obvious. You also need to consider the natural behavior of targets.
When you are choosing a location for your blind, try to place it where animals will naturally wander in search of resources. Look for:
- Trees or bushes that grow berries, nuts or fruit
- The edges of agricultural lands, such as corn or soybean fields
- Local watering areas, such as streams, ponds or lake shorelines
It is also helpful to look for bedding areas and travel routes. Ask the locals where they see deer or turkey wandering on a regular basis. You can find a travel route on your own by looking in the right places, such as creek bottoms, the edges of forested areas or areas where two types of vegetation meet.
Once you are ready to set up, try to clear the area of anything that might unexpectedly move or snap. Remove weakened branches and large piles of brush and leaves. Then set your blind so that it's at the optimum range for your hunting weapon of choice. For rifles, you'll have roughly 300 yards of range; for bow hunting, about 30 yards [source: Hunting Blind Plans].
Inside the blind, there are several more factors you need to consider:
- Stay quiet. Just because you're inside the blind doesn't mean animals can't hear you.
- Think about the wind direction. Your scent will carry in the breeze, so try to position yourself out of the wind.
- Don't open your window openings all the way, and stay back from the windows as much as possible. Also, remember that your body can create a shadow. Targets might see your shadow inside the blind, so try to be still as much as possible.
If you don't want your blind to be permanent, you're going to have to take it with you when you go. Read on to learn about transporting hunting blinds.
Transporting Hunting Blinds
You either move hunting blinds or you don't. Permanent blinds and towers will stay in their location until you choose to disassemble them (or as laws permit). The good thing about most modern blinds is that they are easily portable.
Pop-up blinds usually come with a custom carrying case for easy transportation. They can weigh between 6 and 25 pounds (3 to 11 kilograms) and can be set up in just a few minutes. Other portable blinds come with backpacks or attachment rings for hauling. You can move these items to your hunting location in your vehicle or ATV.
If you're moving your hunting blind around, it's important to remember to bring only what you can feasibly handle. You'll be bringing along all of your hunting gear, food, water and any additional supplies you may need. Try to find a hunting blind that won't break your back.
Now that you've learned about blinds, try taking some along or building your own on your next hunting trip. They can increase your chances of hitting a target by offering you a safe, quiet place to stalk. And, if all else fails, they also provide a nice place for a nap. Happy hunting.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Anderson, M. Kat. "Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California's Natural Resources." University of California Press. 2006. (Accessed 12/01/08)
- Field, Susan. "Injuries from deer hunting accident lead to man's death." 11/19/08. (Accessed 12/01/08)http://www.themorningsun.com/articles/2008/11/19/news/srv0000004077147.txt
- Gooseview Industries. "Confidence Cow." (Accessed 12/01/08)http://www.gooseview.com/gooseview/confidence_cow.htm
- Hunting Blind Plans. "Portable Blind." (Accessed 12/01/08)http://www.huntingblindplans.com/portable_blind.htm
- Hunting Blind Plans. "Pop-Up Blind." (Accessed 12/01/08)http://www.huntingblindplans.com/pop_up_blinds.htm
- Hunting Blind Plans. "Duck Blinds." (Accessed 12/01/08)http://www.huntingblindplans.com/duck_blinds.htm
- Hunting Blind Plans. "Deer Blinds." (Accessed 12/01/08)http://www.huntingblindplans.com/deer_blinds.htm
- Hunting Blind Plans. "Goose Blinds." (Accessed 12/01/08)http://www.huntingblindplans.com/goose_blind.htm
- Hunting Blind Plans. "Learn How to Find the Best Site for Your Hunting Blind." (Accessed 12/01/08)http://www.huntingblindplans.com/learn_how_to_find_the_best_site.htm
- Hunting Blind Plans. "Natural Blinds." (Accessed 12/01/08)http://www.huntingblindplans.com/natural_blinds.htm
- IMBd. "Star Trek: Insurrection." (Accessed 12/01/08)http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120844/
- River Valley Outdoors. "DNR makes changes to hunting blind law." 11/22/08. (Accessed 12/01/08)http://www.rivervalleynewspapers.com/articles/2008/11/22/outdoors/z04blinds.txt
- Summit Tree Stands. "Making the Most of Your Hunting Blind." (Accessed 12/01/08)http://www.summitstands.com/Articles/MakingTheMostOfHuntingBlind.htm
- Summit Tree Stands. "Seat-O-The-Pants Treestand Harnesses & Accessories." (Accessed 12/01/08)http://www.summitstands.com/catalog.aspx?catid=treestandharnessesharnessaccessories
- Wildfowl. "Covered up." (Accessed 12/01/08)http://www.wildfowlmag.com/tips_strategies/covered_070904/index1.html