Vince

Why Ground Blinds May Be An Option

There are still options if you don’t have a perfect tree stand. If your geographical area doesn’t have the right sort of woodlands or if there are barren woods there are still other options. Have you considered Ground Blinds?

I’ve hunted using ambush hunting blinds in the past few years and that’s when they began to have some great options. From camo to rugged and roomy they offer a variety of great options for ground blinds. Until I tried that, it was spot or stalk and quickly set up a blind from what natural surroundings I could find. While I prefer this for Wild Turkey, Deer pros and others are concerned about blinds when deer hunting.

Setting up ground blinds is quick thanks to the hub type framing. While portability isn’t great when you’re carrying a lot of gear, it’s not impossible to do so in one easy trip. Just learn how to pack things easily and properly and you should be able to carry everything that you require in one easy trip. Plan ahead and use lots of pockets and a roomy pack and you’re sure to be successful.

1. Select Your Site

Just as with tree stands, you’re going to have to take into considerations the area in which you plan to set up your blind. Hopefully, you’ve already scouted the area out and know where the deer like to travel. Next, you’ll want to find some natural areas in which to conceal yourself. This is where I like to “tuck” my blind into.

I like to make sure that there isn’t any skylining. While it is often seen, I prefer it without. I like to improve the opportunity for success vs marginally successful. Also, make sure to take into account where the sun will be when you’re in the blind. In the morning, you won’t want to be facing due east or you’ll have too much glare in the rifle scope. Poor light levels can greatly affect how you see things and find your prey.

2. Will you be rifle hunting or bow hunting?

You’ll want to take this into account as there are different shooting distances for each style. You’ll need to be much closer and have a better concealment plan if you’re bow hunting. At present, I have two setups. One is for a rifle shot and the other is for a 45-yard bow shot. I’ve had a deer in front of me from 15 to 45 yards and still been stealthful.

3. Blind Preparation

As velcro and zippers have been introduced into hunting attire and equipment, it’s important to keep in mind that early in the morning, when all is silent and still, these can sound very loud. Sound travels well in the early morning air. So, it’s important to have everything already configured before you arrive so that you won’t have to mess with opening windows or mesh and making a loud sound that will frighten off the game. In the later afternoon, you can quickly set things as you want them for the morning. Also, make sure that you set up the tripod in the window in which you’re going to use it. Be sure that your heater, chair, shooting stick and all are already where they need to be so that you can start fresh. Don’t leave weapons or anything in sight if you’re not in a secure location. Private lands are usually safer for this plan than are those in public lands.

If you plan to film the hunt, make sure that the tripod is all set and in the proper configuration. That way, you won’t have to make so much noise.

Remember, zippers and velcro are loud. Use plain chapstick on zippers to help lubricate them and silence them if yours is loud.

4. In The Blind

Once you’ve arrived in the blind in the morning, there will be minimal to do. Place your pack down and set it up so you can easily get to pockets that you’ve already silently opened velcro openings to. Hang the bow and lean the rifle and settle in quietly. Put your range finder around your neck and make sure you have the binoculars.

5. Eating And Drinking In The Blind

Prepare ahead by opening noisy wrappers and placing these particular snacks into quiet zippered plastic bags. Use slide closures not press and seal kinds as those are louder. This way you’ll alleviate extra noise. No strong scents and remember that sliders open easy with gloved hands. Don’t get crumbs on special equipment like eyecups as this will be difficult to remove. Remember that crumbs in your eyes can hurt and you may lose or miss your shot.

Don’t bring regular bottled water as these can also be noisy. Find quieter bottles and use a bag style water bottle with tubing in your pack. Break seals prior to entering the blind as well.

6. Blind Accessories

Some like a swivel chair that offers arm support, others prefer something else. Find what you like but if you’re using a swivel chair ensure that it’s oiled and not noisy. Armrests are ideal for hanging accessories from just make sure that you can reach them. Keep your cell phone on silent and remember to cover scents and don’t make any unnecessary movements. Bring along what you absolutely can’t live without but remember that this is for hunting purposes so you won’t have all the creature comforts of home. Be content and comfortable but don’t overdo it, you’ll make more noise than you need to and this will give away your position.

7. Leaving Your Blind

Hopefully, the only reason you leave your blind is that you have that big “10” down. Now you can claim it! If you’ve been skunked and must exit quickly, wait until you can’t see any deer and quietly back out. Gather up what you must take with you quietly and slowly move it all out. Don’t take anything that you can’t carry easily and make sure that if you’re returning (providing your blind is on private land) that you leave what you can leave so that you can get in and out easier and quieter. Remember that different blind doors work differently. I like a “V” door as it’s easy and I can unzip only what is required.

Regardless, critters won’t be hiding in wait for me when I arrive in the morning and my stuff is still secure. Of course, always peer into the blind with a red or green light prior to entering just to ensure that there aren’t any unexpected guests awaiting your arrival, you wouldn’t want to startle them and have an uproar that would scare you as well as your game away. Make sure to leave things hanging and not lying on the ground where something may crawl under them seeking a warm spot to sleep or you may be in for a huge surprise mid-morning when they decide to get up and have their meal. This could startle both of you and make a lot of noise giving away your position. Be vigilant before entering and check things out after you’ve entered your blind to ensure that there aren’t any creatures lurking about seeking solace from the weather or elements.

Ways to Beat The Sun While Camping

Well, summer is in full swing and it is already hot! No one likes to be stuck in the camper while camping, it defeats the purpose. We will be back out camping this weekend and it’s going to be in the 90’s. Being that our campsite is in full sun after 1:00pm (hottest part of the day), we have tried many ways to beat it and try to stay cool.

Tent campers usually don’t have this issue, but us camper campers do.

So let’s go over some ways to beat that sun and find some ways to make being outside all day bearable.

Making Shade

If you have full shade, consider yourself lucky! I get envious when I see other campers relaxing in full shade all weekend. We picked our spot because of the water access, so we need to create our own.

Here are a couple ideas

Pop Up/Canopy Tents

We will start with what you probably already have. If you camp, have kids with sports or spend a lot of time outside, you may already have a pop up tent. These can make for some cheap free shade. If you do not already have a pop up tent, you can check out the best pop up canopy comparisons by doing a quick search online.

What we do when conditions are right is use the pop up tent next to our awning. Depending on the time of day and sun locations, you may need to adjust at times.

Tip: If you drop one side of the tent lower than the other, it will give you more control over your shade and create a larger area.

Pros

  • You may already have
  • Other uses
  • Easy to travel with for other outdoor events/games
  • Can get different types/colors/sport teams

Cons

  • May need to adjust with sun location
  • Shade area may be small depending on angle

Camper Awning Shade

Camper awning shade

They actually made awning shades for campers. They connect to your awning and tie down to the ground on the bottom. Like anything else camper related, you will pay dearly for this shade. They can be found at most local camping stores or online at Amazon.

Pros

  • Easy to install/Remove
  • Always shade
  • Doesn’t block view
  • Looks like it belongs

Cons

  • Cost
  • Has an indoor feel
  • Creates a small area

 

Hitch Umbrella

Photo: Pinterest (sorry we did not take a photo but will)

We found a new gadget while visiting a Walmart a few weeks ago. It was more of a pulse buy when we seen it heading to the checkout. They call it the Tailbrella. My thoughts on this are mixed. We find it to be better used at the kids baseball games or tailgating but it can be used for added shade if needed while camping.

We found ourselves using it when we needed that extra shade when we had guests. We would not recommend using this as your main source of shade but as an add on if needed. We do recommend for sporting events and tailgating.

Pros

  • Easy to set up
  • Adjustable/Tilt
  • Portable
  • People will ask about it
  • Gets the job done
  • If you fish while camping, you can use as well

Cons

  • Best used when sun is high (middle of day)
  • Vehicle needs to there
  • Shade will be offset if sun is at a large angle

Ideas For The Kids

So, mom and dad are good with sitting back and relaxing but the kids are not. The idea behind camping is making memories and that’s not going to happen if the kids are either miserable from the heat or just hanging out inside the camper.

The Pool

Okay, so this is pretty obvious but I have to mention it. Most camp grounds have pools. Use them! Load up on sun block and hit the pool for a few hours. Let them find friends and have some fun for a few hours each day.

We find that hitting the pool mid afternoon is best for us. This is when our site is in full sun. It is also the hottest part of the day. By the time they get back from swimming, the sun is settling down for the night and they are cool and worn out. Have a good dinner and they will want to relax in the evening.

Water Games

There are many different types of water games you can play with the kids. It’s not only fun, but also refreshing.

Here are a couple things you can do.

  1. Water balloons of course are always fun. Though they can be a pain to fill a bunch of them just to go through all the balloons in 10 minutes. One tip is to buy the quick fill water balloons that can be found here.
  2. They make a football that holds a water balloon. You swing it back and forth to each other and if it hits too hard, it will pop getting someone wet. My kids love this though they all want it to pop on them! I can’t find it online but I believe we got it from Dick’s Sporting Goods.
  3. Lastly, you can unhook your water hose from the camper for a bit and let the kids use a sprinkler. Some camp sites do not allow this so make sure to check. We are able to do it and love it. We actually installed a two way water connection to make it easy.

Go To The Shade

If you don’t have water options where you are staying, go find the shade on hot sunny days. A hike through the woods are not only cool, but fun! It is a teachable time with your kids. Take long walks through the woods, look for wildlife, signs animals have left and take in the beauty of nature. You can teach your children how to be quiet to respect the area and to always be alert of their surroundings.

Conclusion

No matter how you stay cool on hot days while camping, the most important thing is to make sure everyone is having fun. Like I mentioned earlier, you are making memories. Those memories don’t need to be of being miserable!

So how do you beat the sun while camping?