Setting up for an ambush from a ground blind is a common strategy used for bowhunting many types of game. Ground blinds offer a flurry of benefits for bowhunters, especially for those who are just cutting their bowhunting teeth. Let’s look at the benefits and drawbacks of bowhunting from a ground blind, as well some basic tips and tactics to get started.
Staying concealed is key to bowhunting success, and a ground blind is a great way to hide. The black interior of a ground blind creates shadows that make it easy to move without being noticed. Blinds also help contain human scent and block the elements far better than treestand hunting. They can also be used in areas where hanging a treestand isn’t possible.
On the flip side, ground blinds take extra time and effort to conceal depending on the type of animal you’re hunting. Also, when compared to treestand hunting, blinds can limit visibility. The height disadvantage is obvious, but another issue is the dark interior of a blind, which limits the number of shooting and viewing windows that can be opened. Ground blinds can also be a challenge for larger bowhunters and for those using traditional bows, due to the blind’s small footprint.
Where to Set Up
The location and strategy used when setting up a ground blind depends on several factors. First, consider the type of animal you’re hunting. If you’re after turkeys, you can set up a blind in the middle of an open field with no additional cover. The turkeys likely won’t be bothered by the presence of the blind. However, if you’re using a ground blind while hunting deer, conceal it as much as possible and break up its outline. The best way to do this is to set up on the edge of thick cover. Deer naturally prefer to travel along edges of terrain, so early scouting will likely point you to the best cover opportunities. In dense cover, ground blinds virtually disappear into the landscape. Simply cover the exterior of the blind with natural foliage from the area you’re hunting. You can use conifer boughs, sticks and leaves or even corn stalks.
You can hunt deer in an open field with only one type of ground blind – the hay bale blind. These ground blinds are made to mimic the large, round bales often seen sitting in farmers’ fields. When used in areas where other round bales are present, the bale-style ground blind provides excellent cover from deer feeding and moving comfortably just a few feet away. When setting up any style of blind remember to open only the front windows you intend to shoot from, while keeping the others closed.
Taking the Shot
Before settling into your blind for your first hunt, remember a few key points about executing a great shot. First, make sure you’re sitting at a height that will allow your arrow to clear the bottom of the blind’s window. Second, avoid sitting too high; you don’t want the top cam and limb of your bow to hit the roof at full draw or once the arrow is released.
Positioning in the blind also plays a big part in keeping you hidden and making the shot. It’s tempting to sit near the front of the blind, because the open windows allow for a better view. However, all the light comes into the blind from those windows, and movement won’t be concealed. Also, sitting by the front windows gives you no room to draw a bow or shoulder a crossbow. Instead, try sitting in one of the back corners of the blind and setting up so that your anticipated shot will be taken diagonally across the blind. This gives you more room and keeps you hidden in the shadows.
Vertical bow shooters – remember not to sit too close to the back wall; doing so will likely cause your draw arm to touch the blind and give away your position. Take a few practice draws when you set up to ensure this isn’t an issue when it matters most.
Bowhunting from a ground blind is often an effective method for keeping you hidden – not to mention, it’s more comfortable than long hours in a treestand. The benefits are even greater for those who are new to bowhunting because of how well the dark interior of a blind conceals movement. Visit your local archery shop to learn more about the different types of ground blinds available and get bowhunting tips from the pros.