10/22/2010

Tips for successful ground blind bowhunting

Tips for successful ground blind bowhunting
By Babe Winkelman

More and more hunters are coming out of the trees and pursuing their game from eye level. That’s because hunting from a blind has so many advantages over tree stands. Portable hub-style blinds like my Barronett go anywhere, set up quickly and quietly, and provide unmatched concealment. They also block the wind and rain and allow you to hunt in total comfort. The result… you’ll hunt longer and improve your odds for success. Here’s a quick rundown of blind-hunting tips that will help you make the most of this season…

Which Blind?
Chosing the perfect blind for your hunt is very important. There are basically two styles of fully-enclosed blinds: frame-style and hub-style. In my opinion, nothing beats a hub blind, because the hub system pushes the fabric as tight as a drum to eliminate wind flap and unwanted movement. Hub blinds also give you more interior room since the hubs bow outward. There are many manufacturers of high-quality hub blinds, and each offers unique window configurations. I really like the way Barronett [BarronettBlinds.com] has laid out their window design for concealment and customization for different shooting scenarios.

Proper Placement
Success absolutely depends upon where you place your blind. Naturally, for big game hunting, you want to set up downwind of travel routes and at the distance you want for your shot. For bowhunting, 20-25 yards from a trail is a perfect distance. Whenever possible, position the blind within existing cover and avoid “skylining” the blind on a hilltop or ridge.

Preparation
When you’ve determined the perfect spot, clear away all debris where the blind will sit. With all sticks, leaves, crunchy snow, etc. out of the blind, there’s no way to inadvertently snap a twig or make a sound when maneuvering inside. Another preparation includes spraying the blind, inside and out, with Scent-Away spray to neutralize odors. To enhance concealment, Barronett includes brush straps that allow you to affix nearby brush, branches, etc. to add a natural, 3-D effect to your set-up. Once inside the blind, set up your gear (bow, rattling antlers, calls, food/water, etc.) in an organized way so everything is within easy reach, yet out of the way when the moment of truth comes for a shot.

Room With A View
Arrange your shooting and viewing windows thoughtfully. Many hunters make the mistake of opening every window. This lets in a lot of light and silhouettes you inside the blind. The best approach is to open only the windows you could conceivably shoot through, and keep everything else closed. This creates a “dark-house” effect to cloak you in shadows.

Dress Dark
With the dark-house effect achieved, the optimal clothing to wear inside the blind is a black shirt or jacket, along with a black face mask and black gloves. The inside of my Barronett blind has a matte black finish – so by wearing black myself it literally makes me disappear inside the dark blind. You can get away with a lot more movement if your dressed dark.

Practice Shooting
Most bowhunters practice shooting from a standing position. That’s great, and necessary. But when you’re hunting from a ground blind, your shots are usually taken from a seated or kneeling position. So be sure and practice that way! And actually practice from INSIDE your blind, so you’re used to the act of shooting through a small window opening. It might seem like a hassle, but if you practice shooting from your blind you’ll be glad you did when that buck-of-a-lifetime steps in front of your window!

S-L-O-W…
As with all kinds of hunting, move like a predator when you’re blind hunting. Keep your movements smooth and slow, whether you’re reaching for your bow or just raising your binoculars to do some glassing. All big game animals are totally in-tune with spotting movement. Always ASSUME there’s a set of eyes on you at all times, even when you see nothing, and move with total stealth.

I hope these fundamental ground blind hunting tips are helpful to you. And if you haven’t done it already, pick yourself up a good hub blind and get out there at ground level with those deer. It’s effective, exhilarating and a great way to bowhunt!

Good Hunting!

Babe Winkelman is a nationally-known outdoorsman who has taught people to fish and hunt for nearly 30 years. Watch his award-winning “Good Fishing” and “Outdoor Secrets” television shows on Versus (VS.), Fox Sports Net and many local networks.  Visit www.winkelman.com for air times where you live.