Hunting Tips

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.

Things To Do During The Off Season

If you are an outdoors person, there really is no “off season” though some people may like to fish but not hunt. However, in this article we will go over a couple thing to do during the the time where hunting or fishing may not be is season for you. It’s all about staying in the game.

Hunting

Sadly, there is a long period between hunting seasons. It is shorter if you take advantage of them all, but most people hunt deer, many hunt turkey, but most don’t hunt small game or birds. Even if you hunt all available seasons, you have most of the summer off. Sure there is plenty to do late spring through summer like fish, but we want to stay on top of our game. There is always something to do to prepare for the next hunting season.

Practice

I can’t say this enough, but you can never practice shooting enough. Be it your shotgun/rifle or bow, people get rusty. Besides that, things on your preferred hunting tools get out of wack as time goes on. Your scopes need adjusted and your sights get out of whack.

This is especially true if your getting new gear. Guns nor bow shoot the same and some will require a lot of adjustment to get them set up for personal preference. They say practice makes perfect, being fun is just a side advantage.

Heck, you can even start doing a buck shooting workout

Scout

Most people don’t scout at all. The ones who do, usually start scouting a month or so before the season. Scouting can and should be a never ending cycle. By scouting all year, you learn what is where at what times of year. How can not be a good thing. Knowing the woods you hunt is important and  knowing them like the back of your hand goves you an advantage.

You don’t need to go all in daily or even weekly to keep up on scouting. Taking walks through the woods every couple weeks not only helps you get familiar with the property, but is is also a relaxing exercise. What hunter doesn’t like spending time in the woods hanging out with nature? This is also a perfect time to get your kids out to enjoy and learn. Here are 21 Off-Season Tasks you should be doing.

You may also run into some sheds, they always make for a fun off season hunt!

Clean You Gear

I’m assuming that you have already cleaned your firearms for the year. If not, get it done. Dirty guns can quickly turn into down time, money and uselessness if left through the off season.

How about all your other hunting equipment? Is your bibs, duffel, etc sitting out in the garage? If so, gather them up, give them a good cleaning. After washing, gather them up and throw them in a garbage bag, add a couple handful of leaves and tie it up. This gets rid of all the smells from last year (cleaning deer), your garage and keeps them fresh smelling like the outdoors. Putting leaves in the bag just tops it off to make sure you smell like Mother Nature herself come next year.

Gear Up

During the off season is a good time to think about what you need. This gives you plenty of time to spread out your purchases over a long period of time.

Are your boots old and rank? Why not go ahead and get a new pair now? This will give them some time to get that “new shoe” smell off them. Get them and throw in a bag with leaves and tie it off.

How about ammo or arrows? Buy a little here and a little there now.

Since you will not be buying last minute, this gives you time to research and find sales on the gear you want.

If you have done all of that and still want to stay in hunting mode, check out some hunting games online to feed your addiction. They are quite fun.

Fishing

Fishing season is not as short as hunting season, but there is some down time. You ice and southern fishermen have it made and can wet your lines all year long but, most of us don’t get that blessing.

So if you can’t fish year round,here are a couple things to do on the off season.

Restring Your Reels

Would it surprise you to know that many anglers use the same fishing line for 3, 5, plus years without changing it? Some wait until their line is so dry rotted that it snaps on them pulling in a monster 2lb’er.

Depending on how much you get out fishing and how much sun your line see’s, you maybe should be changing your line out yearly.

The sun’s ultraviolet rays destroys mono line. If you fish alot or leave your gear outside (like while camping), you may want to go ahead and change it out during each off season. Price is not too bad and it will make sure you have strong line every time.

Wash/Lube Reels

This is especially important if you fish saltwater. Saltwater along with dirt, sand and crud will wear your gear out faster than you may think. You saltwater guys (and gals) probably know this better than anyone. What better time to break everything down and give it a good cleaning and lube those gears up? Doing this regularly will give you many years out of your reels.

Restock You Tackle

Tackle is expensive. When you go to stock up for the year, you can easily pay a couple hundred dollars doing so. Why not do this over months? You will be surprised about just how many weapons you will have in your tackle box come spring.

Make Something

Have you ever wanted to make a live-well? How about some new catfish pole holders? What better time to do so than when your not fishing anyway?

Last year I made a live-well to keep shad in since we catfish a lot while camping. This year, I want to modify our golf cart and add some pole holders. I guess I better get on it since fishing season is pretty much here!

Conclusion

The whole point of this article is to get you thinking outside the box. Just because you can’t hunt or fish during a specific time, doesn’t mean you can’t stay in game mode. Staying in the mindset may feed your spring fever per say, but it prepares you for the upcoming season so you are ready.