Ground Blinds 101 | Guide to Using Ground Blinds

Ground Blinds:  A Viable Solution for Hard to Hunt Areas



Often ground blinds are overlooked by hunters as a viable solution for successful hunting. Some seem to feel that it is cumbersome to carry a ground blind in, erect it, then to have to take it down, repack it, and carry it out. The advantages to using a ground blind far outweigh the slight inconvenience of carrying, setting up, and brushing in the ground blind and can be the difference between a harvest or taking a tag home.


Ground blinds can be an advantage to hunters in many ways. The most important factor is concealment from the game animal hunted. Other factors add value to using ground blinds such as an ideal way to introduce youth hunters to hunting, setting up in a place that would be otherwise inaccessible for a hunt, and providing some shelter from possible rain, snow, or other weather conditions.


Ground Blind Styles


There are several different styles of ground blinds available on the market from chair blinds to hub-style ground blinds in a variety of sizes for up to four people. Where spring steel ground blinds are the lightest, hub-style ground blinds offer the most durability and are a little more convenient to erect. What type of ground blind you choose is going to weigh greatly on your intended use. If multiple hunters or a cameraman and hunter are going to share the ground blind, a ground blind with a larger footprint will be more convenient.



When the intended use it to carry the ground blind in for a days’ hunt, the hunter should look for features that offer a lightweight ground blind that incorporates a carry bag with straps. The floor size should be adequate to accommodate a foldable chair and the hunter’s gear allowing at least an 180 to a 270-degree view. A standard two-person ground blind is going to have approximately a 60” x 60” shooting width and anywhere from a 54” to 64” standing height similar to the Big Game Quantum ground blind. If room for a cameraman, additional gear, or an additional hunter is required, blinds similar to the Big Game Charger ground blind with a larger shooting width is ideal.


Ground Blind Features


Ground blinds are available in numerous exterior camo patterns, and It is typical for ground blinds to have a black-backed interior to help conceal the hunter inside. Where ground blinds differ in size and height, it is also important to consider the features. Ground blind window styles will vary in features, with quiet adjustability and ease of use being the most important. Ground blind companies incorporate a combination of elastic hook closures, elastic curtain bands, zippers, magnets, Velcro, and/or elastic cord slides used in conjunction with material screen and window panels made of the same exterior material. The design height of the window can vary and should always be considered for the type of hunting you plan to do. Many ground blinds are designed with elongated corner windows for bowhunting. The more viewing and shooting adjustability a ground blind offers, the more useful the ground blind will be to the hunter. A corner back panel is used for the entrance/exit panel that incorporates a zipper for access.




When using a ground blind, a chair will be necessary and fully adjustable, swivel chairs work the best. There are several different styles of ground blind chairs available. If you are carrying a ground blind in for a hunt and plan to put it up at the beginning of your hunt and take it down at the end of your hunt, a small folding chair such as the triangle seat chairs will offer carrying convenience but does not offer extended sitting comfort. If the hunter plans to sit extended hours or multiple days, a fully adjustable ground blind chair will be a better solution for the hunter.



The interior of the ground blind will have one or more wall pockets to store small items and hunting accessories in while in the ground blind hunting. Some ground blinds offer a bow hanging system. Other ground blind accessories are available on the market to allow hunting gear to be accessible; window shelves, bendable hanging strips for a bow or light source, and hooks.


Placement of Blinds


The placement of ground blinds is always important for a successful hunt. It is important to strategically place the ground blind where there is a wide angle of view and where the hunter will have the advantage of the best shot opportunity. It is not as critical as to brushing the ground blind in and the length of time the ground blind has been placed before commencing to hunt in the blind when turkey and hog hunting. Turkey and hog do not seem to be as leery with new ground blind placements, and often hunters are successful with a shot opportunity on the same day the ground blind was placed.


With deer and other large game, it is critical to place the ground blind inconspicuously by brushing the ground blind in to the surrounding area, all the while keeping in mind the placement for the highest shot opportunity in direct correlation with the way the game being pursued is using the area. Many ground blinds will feature a way to secure limbs to the exterior of the blind for brushing in with limbs; either with ties or banded straps. It is helpful to keep in mind where the sun will rise and set to keep from placing the ground blind where the hunter will be looking directly into the direct sun interfering with hunter’s shot.


Ground blinds will come with ground stakes, and most will include nylon tie-down cords. It is always good practice to tie down the ground blind, especially if the blind will be left unattended for any length of time or on windy days. Most ground blinds will include a zippered carrying case with straps for carrying comfort and convenience. Often these carrying bags will have a pocket to store the ground stakes and rope in. With most of the ground blind bags, the main zippered compartment can accommodate a small folding stool.


Setting a ground blind up against a tree line, dense brush, cedars, hay bale, or some other object will allow the blind to blend in. Windows should be opened only to the width to safely make a shot with the weapon being used. Pay attention to the side or back windows because a see-through silhouette will be visible to game animals approaching from the sides of the ground blind.




One of the first things recommended once you select a ground blind is to erect the ground blind outdoors, spray down the exterior with an anti-UV spray, paying the most attention to the roof and three-quarters of the way down the exterior walls. This anti-UV spray will protect the color and finish of the exterior of the ground blind. After the anti-UV spray has been applied per the manufacturer’s instructions and has dried completely, a water repelling spray should be applied to the entire roof and the portion of the ground blind that would be likely to leak; typically to the top of the windows. This treatment will assist in repelling water. For seams and stitching holes, shoe goop can be applied to those areas sealing the holes from leaks keeping hunters and gear dry inside. Shoe Goop is a rubber type adhesive that dries to a pliable finish on nylon, canvas, plastic, and rubber. Make certain all areas applied are completely dried before folding down the ground blind for storage.


If it is ever necessary to pack the ground blind in the field wet from rainy weather, it is imperative to erect the ground blind for drying as soon as possible after the hunt to inhibit mold and to keep the blind materials from deteriorating. If the weather is not cooperative to set the blind up for air drying within a 24-48 hour period, the ground blind should be taken out of the carrying case and any water found should be wiped away with a dry towel.


If the ground blind zippers get mud in them, the zippers should be rinsed well with water by a direct stream of a water bottle with sprayer or spritzer top and dried off. If you find that the zippers are hard to zip and unzip, you can use unscented bar soap or a glycerin bar on the zipper teeth allowing the zipper to glide easier.




If a hunter is traveling to hunt public or private land, it is always a good idea to load a ground blind up for the trip; you may find the perfect hunting spot that does not work well with a stand. If unexpected weather arises, a ground blind could save the hunt. Utilizing a ground blind while introducing a new hunter or youth hunter to hunting; allowing more concealment and giving the mentor the option of to assist a youth with the shot. Erecting a ground blind will offer a hunter a viable solution in saving the hunter valuable hunting hours versus taking the time to erect a stand. There are many reasons to consider a ground blind for hunting that far outweighs the small inconvenience of carrying the ground blind in, setting it up, brushing it in, and having to take it down after the hunt. Adding a quality ground blind to a hunter’s gear inventory will prove to be a wise investment for a practical, viable solution for hard to hunt areas, high traffic areas not suitable for stands, when extra concealment is necessary, or cover for those days with not so favorable forecasts.

essential tree stand gear hunting accessories | Big Game Treestands

Which Hunting Accessories Do You Really Need?

The Ultimate Essential Gear and Hunting Accessories to Bring to the Tree

The topic of “essential hunting gear” is often pretty controversial. Everyone has their own opinion of what item deserves a spot in their hunting backpack, and as a result, the conversation can be hotly contested. The key is in knowing which hunting accessories and gear are truly essential and which are comfort items. The first category are things that you literally couldn’t hunt without, either because you didn’t have the necessary tools or couldn’t stay in the tree stand long enough to see a deer anyway. Then there are just “nice-to-have” items, which might keep you slightly more entertained or maybe offer a slightly more comfortable sit. Knowing the difference between the two is critical if you have to hike into your hunt (e.g., during a backcountry hunting trip) or simply don’t have much room in your tree stand. In these cases, you need to eliminate the unnecessary items as much as possible. We’ll only discuss the items that will offer a distinct advantage to you on your next hunt, and are therefore considered essential.

Naturally, the essential gear and hunting accessories you need will depend on what kind of hunt you’re doing and what season you’re in. An early September hunt for antelope on the Great Plains will require very different hunting equipment than a late December hunt for northern Wisconsin whitetails. The further north you go, the higher in elevation, or the later in the season you hunt, the more warm clothing options you’ll need. On the opposite side of the coin (e.g., southern regions or early season hunts), you’ll need lighter, sweat-wicking clothing to keep you cool and dry. For the purposes of this article, we’ll assume we’re hunting deer in the middle of the country in the early season to mid-season time frame of October (i.e., right now). Use this as a starting point and adapt your hunting gear list to your conditions and specific type of hunt.

Types of Essential Deer Hunting Equipment and Hunting Accessories 

For easier reading and organization, we’ve divided the different pieces of hunting gear for whitetail deer into separate buckets, if you will. From clothing to weapons to other necessities, we’ve got you covered. Take a glance through the different categories and see how your deer hunting supplies list stacks up before it’s time to head to the woods.

Hunting Weapon-Related Gear

Depending on when the seasons open in different states, a mid-October time frame almost certainly includes bow hunting, but it may also include gun season. Either way, if you’re not bringing a bow, crossbow, rifle, or shotgun to the woods with you, you’re probably not going to fill your tag. But if you forget your corresponding ammunition at home, you’re also going to go nowhere fast. Almost every hunter has at one point forgotten their ammo in the garage and had a very uneventful day because of it. Always keep your arrows in your bow case or carry an extra box of ammunition in your backpack throughout the hunting season to ensure you’ll be able to keep hunting. And if you’re bow hunting, you might also want to keep an extra release in your coat pocket…don’t act like you haven’t forgotten it before!

  • Bow, crossbow, rifle, or shotgun;
  • Arrows, bolts, cartridges, or shells, respectively;
  • Case to transport your weapon;
  • Release (for bow hunting).

Hunting Clothing Items

As we mentioned, clothing requirements will vary across the country and between people. Some folks run hot and some run cold. But there are some basic types of clothing that you can scale up or down. What we mean is that you can add or subtract layers or use warmer or cooler versions to get you where you need to be. The pattern of your hunting clothes is also important, as some states and seasons require you to use blaze orange, while others approve of camouflage clothing. Make sure you know which one you need. When you’re deer hunting, you also need to pay attention to your scent; more specifically, you need to hunt without it. That makes scent elimination clothing so important. In no particular order:

  • Hat (visor to keep the sun out of eyes or stocking cap to keep head warm);
  • Base layers (to wick sweat away from skin);
  • Insulating layers (adjust for your situation);
  • Shell layer (water and wind resistant to keep your other layers dry and protected);
  • Rain gear (for when the skies really open up);
  • Socks (regardless of season or location, wool socks will be a valuable gear item);
  • Hunting boots (appropriate to keep your feet warm and dry);
  • Gloves (hunting with cold hands is miserable and dangerous).

Tree Stand-Related Gear

Given the title of this article, we’re assuming you are indeed going to end up in a tree stand at some point. You’ll obviously need to bring that with you, as well as any miscellaneous straps, ropes, chains, locks, or ladder sections to actually hang it and climb into it. Depending on what kind of hunting you’ll be doing, you may want a slightly different type of tree stand. Climbing tree stands and hang-on tree stands are great for staying mobile and keeping the deer guessing. But ladder stands and box blinds are reliable stands that you can return to with no work involved. If your feet will be leaving the ground, you really should also be using a safety harness to ensure that an unexpected departure from the stand doesn’t end up badly for you. Always stay connected to the tree using a harness and safety line. Safety equipment should never be considered as hunting accessories.

essential tree stand gear hunting accessories Accessory Hooks | Big Game Treestands

  • Tree stand (ladder stand, climbing stand, hang on stands, etc.);
  • Quick-Stick ladder sections (if a hang on stand);
  • Miscellaneous straps (for attaching your tree stand);
  • Chains, cables, and locks (to secure your stand from would-be thieves);
  • Safety harness with a safety
  • Tree hooks for bow, gear, and backpacks

Other Necessary Hunting Accessories

After all of the gear above, it might seem like you’re fairly covered and couldn’t carry anything else into the woods with you anyway. But there are a few other hunting accessories you really need to make your hunt more productive. Assuming you actually get a deer, you’re absolutely going to need a knife to field dress it. It’s also just useful to have in the woods to help with cutting rope or cord or marking your license. A set of high-quality optics is also critical for noticing deer before they notice you. Depending on the area you’re hunting in, you might not have a good spot to really glass a long distance (e.g., dense conifer forest, etc.). But it is really handy to assess a buck from a distance to see if he’s a shooter or not before he gets close enough to see you moving. A range finder is also critical for laser-accurate bow shots. Unless you are committed to getting in and out of the woods quickly during the day, you should carry a flashlight or headlamp with you. If you’ve ever been in the woods once darkness falls, you know it’s a completely different world. Even if you’ve been hunting the same area for years and spent all day studying every single trail and tree from your stand, you can lose your way in a split second once you’re on the ground. Carry a light with you. You can partially eliminate the issue of getting lost by marking your trail using reflective tacks or markers too.

essential tree stand gear hunting accessories | Big Game Treestands

When it comes to getting closer to deer (or bringing them closer to you, more accurately), you need to pull out all the hunting accessories. Using whitetail deer calls and convincing scents will drastically increase your chance at encountering a nice buck. When used in combination, they can fool a buck into thinking there is a doe in heat hanging around, which is almost guaranteed to interest him. This is especially useful in mid-October, which is typically the pre-rut period. No matter what clothing you’re wearing, you can still pick up scents from your truck or ATV, so always spray everything with a scent elimination product before you head into the woods and when you get to your tree stand.

Then there are all the other necessary items that make your life easier. A 20-foot length of rope or paracord is really helpful for many things in the woods, from hauling deer, hanging a tarp, or pulling your hunting accessories up into your tree stand with you. However, it’s more convenient to use a Magna Lift for hoisting gear up into your stand. Many hunters often forget (or willingly neglect) to drink enough water while sitting in a tree stand all day, but it’s critical to bring a water bottle or canteen with to stay hydrated. Since many people start their mornings with the aid of coffee, you’ll find that you’re suddenly very dehydrated in the middle of the day. And you can’t think clearly when you’re dehydrated. The same thing goes for food. If you don’t snack throughout the day, your blood sugar will plummet and so will your reasoning, patience, and strength. You should always have a folding saw in your hunting pack because a near-perfect tree for a climbing tree stand could be made perfect by just trimming a few branches. Finally, keep some toilet paper in a plastic bag in your pack. Don’t learn the hard way. Enough said.

  • Fixed blade or folding knife (field dressing, general purpose, etc.);
  • Binoculars;
  • Range-finder;
  • Headlamp or flashlight;
  • Reflective tacks and markers;
  • Doe can call and buck grunt call;
  • Doe in estrous scent and buck urine scent;
  • Scent eliminating spray;
  • Rope/cord/Magna Lift (for hauling deer or hoisting gear);
  • Water bottle and snacks;
  • Folding hand saw
  • Toilet paper.

essential tree stand gear hunting accessories magna lift | Big Game Treestandsessential tree stand gear hunting accessories lift cord | Big Game Treestands

It might seem crazy once you lay all of these items out that you could possibly bring them all into the woods with you. But these hunting accessories and gear items are important to help you stay comfortable all day and improve your hunting success. If you’re comfortable and content, you’ll be more likely to stay in the woods for the long haul until you can put a deer down. Will you need every one of these items on every single hunt? Maybe not. But when you do need them, you’ll need them in a bad way. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

archery hunting blinds 5 mistakes to avoid in October | Big Game Treestands

Archery Hunting Blinds | 5 Mistakes to Avoid in October

Improving Your Archery Success from Hunting Blinds

Traditionally, archery hunters have opted for a tree stand, an elevated hunting position to achieve a better vantage point on approaching game. Hunting blinds are not new to the archery scene, although it depends on your definition. Ground hunting blinds have been used for centuries to hide from game. Today, blinds are much more advanced at concealment and are a staple when archery hunting for turkeys or other specific species.

If you trying your hand at archery hunting whitetails from a pop-up hunting blind, there are a few things you should consider. After selecting the right hunting spot, avoid these five mistakes when hunting from ground blinds for deer hunting this season.

Hunting Right after Setting up a Ground Blind

As the days draw closer to hunting season, you are in preparation mode getting your tree stand hunting accessories ready and determining where to position your stands and hunting blinds. Do not let time creep up on you and wait until the last minute to set up your deer hunting blind.

Deer have a defined home range, a core area where they feed, bed and move within for most of their time. Deer in a particular area know when something is out of place. Putting up a ground blind for bow hunting only days before hunting sends a red flag to deer in that area that something is up. They have little time to become accustomed to this “new” object in their territory. Ideally, you want to deploy your blind more than a week before you plan to hunt out of it. This gives deer plenty of time to adjust and become comfortable with it in their area.

How to set up the Quantum Ground Blind | Big Game Treestands
Deploy hunting blinds early in an area to avoid spooking deer.


Sometimes this is not an option. For instance, on public land putting a deer hunting blind set up early may lend itself to theft or damage from other hunters. In addition, you may have to change spots during the season based on changing deer patterns, like during the rut, and you cannot wait days to hunt from it. In both of these cases, position the ground blind for bow hunting in such a way in the surrounding habitat that covers it as much as possible. Also, do your best to brush in the blind to make it concealed and as natural as possible to keep it out of sight of others and more importantly deer. 

Concealed but Not Concealed

Quality hunting blinds manufactured today come in a variety of camo patterns, which makes them blend in better than ever. However, many hunters think that this exterior camo is enough when it comes to concealment. The fact is  ground blinds by themselves are a large, visible object sitting in the woods. Their outline and footprint alone makes them hard to conceal.

The solution is to brush in the ground blind for bow hunting as much as possible where you have it positioned. The goal is to make the blind part of the landscape. First, position it against a natural backdrop like thick timber, heavy brush or an edge. Then, use the surrounding vegetation to fold it into the habitat you are hunting. Use tree branches and leaves to conceal your pop-up hunting blind and break up its outline as much as possible to approaching deer.

Forgetting About Scent

Just like your clothing, scent can be a major factor when it comes to your hunting blinds. Blinds, like those made by Big Game Tree Stands, are constructed from fabric. The fabric can and will hold scent whether it is from your truck, from you or from where you stored it since last season. To avoid being winded, you not only have to make sure you are scent free but you also have to make sure your blind is as well.

Even if you have tried to store your blind in an area that has no heavy scents, like those found in garages or musty basements, you still want to air it out outside before the season. Be sure to clean off any dirt or stains that may hold odor with scent free soaps. Do not forget about the storage bag too. The worst thing you can do is deodorize you deer hunting ground blind only to put it back into a dirty, stinky carry bag. Leaving the blind outside, or like in the first tip well in advance of hunting from it, you can help reduce any scent it may be carrying.

Pop-up Hunting Blinds on Deer Trails

The blind is no different than a tree stand when it comes to positioning it properly. Often hunters want to be as close to a well-traveled deer trail as possible to make a bow shot. Avoid this temptation. Having your blind directly on a deer trail is a red flag for an approaching deer that something is not right, even with the best concealed, brushed in hunting blinds.

Strategically place ground blinds for deer hunting perpendicular to a deer trail. This will allow you to see deer approaching, be close enough for a shot but not give away your position.

archery hunting blinds 5 mistakes to avoid in October | Big Game Treestands

Substituting a Hunting Blind for Good Archery Tactics

Relying on a blind over basic archery hunting tactics is the biggest mistake bow hunters make when hunting deer from a blind. The assumption is that the deer hunting ground blind will conceal all movements you may make, from moving to get an angle on a buck to drawing your bow. Deer can see into a ground blind at close distances. Your movements have to be calculated just as they would be when hunting from a tree stand or an open ground set. Trade out camo for black or dark clothing to better blend into the inside of the blind. Also, only open enough window panels that are necessary to see in the right directions. Both of which can help conceal movement in the blind.

Furthermore, understand the limitations of hunting blinds. Do not assume the only way to hunt from the ground is by using a blind or that a blind works in every hunting situation. Open hunting spots make the blind more visible and lend themselves to alternative solutions like pure ground hunting or a properly placed tree stand.

In conclusion, deer hunting from a ground blind is a great option for archery. It is, however, quite different than hunting from a tree stand. By avoiding these five ground hunting blind mistakes, getting an opportunity at a buck from one of your hunting blinds is certainly possible this October.

tree stand blinds tree stand concealment | Big Game Treestands

Big Game Tree Stand Blinds | How to Create Tree Stand Concealment

Camouflage Cover for Tree Stand Concealment | Tree Stand Blinds

Imagine sitting in your tree stand on opening morning. As the first rays of sunlight start shining through the autumn leaves, you hear a branch break. Just as you imagined, you spot a deer walking down the well-used trail you found earlier in the week. It’s a brand new stand site and the deer should have no clue you’re there. But as soon as it enters a slight clearing, its head shoots up and aims right at you. You didn’t make any noise and the wind is in your favor. But still, the deer turns and disappears faster than you can do anything to stop it. All because you didn’t take time to hide your tree stand with tree stand blinds. If you’ve hunted long enough, you’ve probably had an experience like this.

Whitetails are remarkable at spotting differences in their environment. Their eyes are amazingly adapted at finding things that stick out from their surroundings; a new tree stand, for example. In order to beat this amazing sense of theirs, you have to take a little more care to hide your tree stand when you hang a new stand. This often includes installing tree stand blinds. If you’re hunting unpressured private land deer, you can probably get away with less. But the steps below are almost a requirement for public land hunting these days.

It’s no doubt that ground blinds can be much more easily hidden than tree stands. They are low to the ground and can be covered with all manner of camouflage patterns and branches. But they can be more difficult to hunt deer out of sometimes. You don’t have the height advantage on your side, for one thing, which inhibits your prey detection and prevents any longer shots. But there are some things you can do with tree stand concealment to hide it just as effectively as a ground blind.

How to Hide Your Tree Stand

One of the first tips if you’re using a really old stand is to either get a new one or freshen it up. If there aren’t any safety concerns, then painting a tree stand or just installing tree stand blinds could do the trick to help it blend in better. Grab a couple cans of spray paint, in black and various shades of brown, green, and yellow. Next, collect some natural materials (e.g., grasses, weeds, branches, leaves, etc.) from the area you’re going to hunt. Spray a light background color, such as sage green, all over your stand. Then either sparsely lay some of the natural materials on top of the stand, or tie them down with some twine. Once they’re tight against the metal frame, spray a mustard yellow or brown paint over the top. Add some more materials over the top of these, and lightly spray a black color over what’s left. You can experiment with the colors and which sequence you spray them in, but focus on colors that match the season you’re hunting in. In other words, no bright green colors if you’ll be hunting in late autumn. You can quickly camouflage a deer stand with a couple cans of paint and a few hours.

tree stand blinds tree stand concealment | Big Game Treestands

One of the best deer stand concealment steps you can take is to simply take advantage of the natural cover around you. There are no synthetic materials that can beat the natural vegetation in an area in terms of camouflage value offered. That being said, some trees are better suited to hanging a new stand than others. For example, trees with multiple trunks or lots of branches work great since they offer so much natural camouflage and structure that you can hide in. Pines, cedars, and oaks come to mind as excellent choices since they generally have a dense branch structure and maintain their needles or leaves through most of the hunting season or year-round. These trees are excellent choices for hang on stands, since you can tuck them right into the branches. With a good set of camouflage clothing, you should stay pretty hidden.

Deciduous trees with bare trunks (e.g., aspens, maples, birch, etc.) are great for ladder stands, but you tend to stick out like a sore thumb without any ladder stand concealment. If you must hunt from a tree such as this, you should definitely use a tree stand blind kit or camouflage burlap. Wrapping the seat and platform of a ladder stand is a great way to at least hide your movements while in the tree. Using fabric with loose-cut leaves is even better since it adds a natural look and motion. These tree stand blinds are simple to carry with you while hanging stands, and do so much to hide your profile. Simply drape the fabric or ladder stand blind kit around the shooting rail and use twine or zip ties to secure it thoroughly. Leave a slit opening at the front so you can climb into the stand with all your bulky hunting clothing and gear. There’s nothing worse than trying to quietly slither through a narrow gap on opening morning, realizing that a knife is the only way you’re going to get into your stand.

tree stand blinds tree stand concealment | Big Game Treestands

While this definitely helps hide your movement from keen eyes, a large bulky shape in the sky among a bunch of bare trunks still sticks out to deer. Another way to really hide your tree stand involves a more three dimensional application. Real or fake branches are excellent to blend into the surrounding area. Using tree stand concealment branches can be done in two ways. The first is to collect some actual branches from near your stand, preferably live ones with leaves still on them for deciduous trees (oaks tend to hold onto their leaves longer than many others), or coniferous branches for a coniferous tree. The other is to stock up on fake Christmas tree branches when they go on sale at the end of the year. Obviously, these are more useful for coniferous trees. Either way, attach the branches to your stand with twine or zip ties, spreading them out evenly to hide your profile. You want enough branches so that it looks natural and blends in, but not so many that it sticks out (when’s the last time you saw a ball of branches extending every direction 20 feet up a tree?). And you definitely want to make sure to leave yourself ample shooting lanes for close-range bow shots. Too often, we don’t know when to stop and suddenly realize we can’t see the ground from a sitting position.

Height Matters

The final way to really hide your tree stand is not so much a mechanical add-on or fancy camouflage system of tree stand blinds. It simply involves hanging your tree stand higher. Climbing stands and lock-on stands makes this is easily doable. Well-educated public land deer have come to expect to see hunters at the typical 10 to 15 foot range off the ground. So if you can sneak up a little higher, say 20-25 feet, you’ll be further out of their peripheral vision. If you go much higher than that, your shot angle can be too severe to get a double lung pass-through. Make sure to stay safe while hunting higher and always use a hunting safety harness. And of course, pay attention to your state hunting regulations as some states have maximum allowable tree stand heights.

While you’re out deer scouting this summer, pay attention to the surrounding trees and think of ways that you could hide your tree stand better. Using all of the steps above whether it is natural cover or tree stand blinds, it should leave you pretty invisible to all but the wisest whitetails. You’ll need a little luck on your side to get close to them.

locating gobbler hot spots for your ground blinds | Big Game Treestands

Locating Gobbler Hot Spots for Your Ground Blinds

Ground Blinds | Turkey Hunting Strategies to Make Life Easier

What’s one phrase that realtors and anyone involved in the housing market repeatedly love to preach? “Location, location, location,” right? You’ve heard it all before, and can probably understand why this is true. But what do housing clichés have to do with turkey hunting? You can say the same thing about the best locations for your ground blind during turkey season. Of all the spring turkey hunting tips you hear about, it really all comes down to location, whether you’re hunting relatively unpressured, early season birds or extremely call-shy, late season birds.

Now you’re probably asking what the purpose of turkey decoys or calling tactics is if location is the most important factor. Those are extremely important details too, as we’ll look at below. But without the right location or hunting blind set up, you may be stacking the deck against yourself before you even head out into the woods. So if you’re wondering how to how to hunt turkeys in the spring, here are some tips for finding and taking advantage of these turkey hunting hot spots so you can have a better chance at adding a fan and beard to your wall soon. 

Youth Season Turkey Hunting Success Out Of Ground Blinds
(video) A lot of turkey hunting action and a whole lot of youth hunting success. Using the ground blinds was critical to the success of these turkey hunters.

Ideal Turkey Habitat 

Turkeys aren’t too picky about their habitat preferences, but there are a few things that help make for a tremendous property. First, there should be numerous roost trees on your hunting land. Basically any tall, open-branched tree should do the trick, but typically these include oaks, some maples, and white or red pine trees. Waterways, including streams, ditches, rivers, or ponds, are also a vital habitat feature for turkeys. These waterbodies not only provide a critical drinking source for them, but also support healthy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous vegetation.

The next thing they need is a good feeding area to sustain them beyond what foraging for native plants or leftover mast (e.g., acorns, wild grape, crabapples) might provide. People might not realize it, but up to 90% of a turkey’s diet consists of plant matter. Turkeys love spring food plots for that very reason, with clover being one of the more common species preferred in the spring. They will forage on the fresh green leaves, but also key in on the newly emerging insects because of their high protein content. This makes clover plots attractive not only for deer, but also for turkey hunting.

locating gobbler hot spots for your ground blinds | Big Game Treestands

Turkeys also prefer shorter-cropped or more open-growing vegetation as opposed to wading through dense long grasses (cool season grasses like reed canary). This type of growth is more difficult for hens with poults to travel through and reduces their visibility from predators. However, hens will still nest in areas with good side cover, provided it is within proximity to feeding areas, early successional habitat, open understory shrublands, or mature woodlands with little herbaceous growth.

Best Ground Blind Locations 

Now that you’re familiar with where turkeys like to live, we’ll discuss some good spots for you to set up your ground blinds to maximize a shot opportunity. As we mentioned, even the best calling and turkey decoy placement won’t do much for you if you set up in a spot where turkeys naturally don’t like to go. You’ll be forcing them to go out of their way to come to you, and it’s a losing battle more often than not. On the other hand, if wild turkeys already prefer certain locations and you can set up adjacent to or between these areas, you’re not making them do anything different from their normal routine. The only difference is that there will be a sweet-talking hen decoy at their usual hangout. And that’s a recipe for success when you’re hunting for turkeys.

locating gobbler hot spots for your ground blinds | Big Game Treestands

Open fields in the form of food plots, pastures, meadows, or hay fields draw turkeys during spring mornings to eat and toms will often choose one of these locations as a strutting zone. However, Eastern wild turkeys will rarely feel comfortable venturing into the center of large fields, and more often prefer openings smaller than 5 acres. Because of this tendency, you should focus your effort on the edges. Set up your Quantum ground blind on the edge of one of these fields, flanked by shrubs and trees to break up the outline further. The blind is surprisingly lightweight at only 11 pounds, and sets up in short order due to its spring steel frame. Place your decoys in the open field about 10 to 15 yards in front of your shooting window. Face the decoys quartering away from you in whatever direction you anticipate gobblers to come from.

A location that sets up similar to this includes smaller forest openings or recent clearcuts, but you need to make some adjustments to your strategy. Forest openings may be significantly smaller than open field settings, so you’ll be tucked in closer to the action. Take some time to brush in your ground blinds so that they blend in seamlessly with the surrounding cover. We’ll discuss that further below.

Another important area you should hunt is between roosting and feeding areas. You can often catch turkeys working their way from roost trees to the feeding areas in the early morning hours. After you’ve roosted a gobbler by using an owl or crow call, you’ll need to quickly get to your blind very stealthily. You should set some walking hen decoys out so that they’re facing the feeding area, and ideally use some fishing line to add a little movement to them. Once there’s enough shooting light, feel free to call aggressively using cuts and yelps with the occasional fighting purr tossed in. Calling spring gobblers isn’t as difficult as it seems if you stick to these three basic calls. That should convince almost any roosted tom to fly down and check it out.

locating gobbler hot spots for your ground blinds | Big Game TreestandsIf the morning hunts don’t work out in your favor, it’s not too late. Afternoon turkey hunting can also produce some exciting action, depending on the location you choose to hunt. First, realize that turkeys will get more cautious as they return to their roost trees, as they don’t want to attract the attention of a predator right before bedtime. As a result, dial down your calling efforts as the afternoon sun starts to dip lower in the sky. To still catch some good turkey action, set your ground blind up on a travel route between the feeding and roosting sites, but nearer to the food source where the gobblers will still eat and strut a bit before retiring for the day. One of the best afternoon turkey hunting tips is to not set up too close to the roost trees, because you’ll probably not hear them approach and you’ll disturb them when you leave for the night.

How to Hide Your Ground Blinds 

Not brushing in your ground blind, even a little, is a huge mistake. Any effort to hide yourself further from the keen and penetrating eyes of a mature gobbler will help. Even though it seems you’d have a better view, try to avoid placing them on ridge tops or hills. Once the sky lightens up, your blind will be a dark blocky shape that sticks out like a sore thumb. Instead, position yourself so that the top of your blind will not show against the ridge line. In relatively flat areas, the aim of the game is to break up your outline as much as possible by locating it against a natural backdrop (such as a large tree, clump of shrubs, or uprooted tree), and then adding additional branches around, leaning against, and even on top of your blind. Step back and take a look at it from 40 to 50 yards away to see what stands out.

If possible, try to get your ground blinds set up and brushed in a week in advance of your hunt to give the birds time to get used to it. If that’s not an option, then you really need to step up your natural concealment efforts. While turkey hunting in a blind, you should dress in darker camouflage patterns or black clothing to match the dark interior of the blind. If you keep most of the windows closed, it should stay fairly dark inside, which will conceal your movements more. Additionally, don’t forget to bring your turkey hunting chair or it could become a long day of squatting in your blind.

While you may not strictly need a ground blind for shotgun hunting, it will really help with bow hunting. Ground blinds for bow hunting turkeys should have enough room to maneuver inside and draw your bow back, and also offer a comfortable height to shoot from. That’s why Big Game Tree Stands has some of the market’s best hunting blinds. You may also want to use ground blind accessories like a bow hanger to make the moment of truth easier and less hectic.

How to Find the Best Turkey Hunting Locations

While boots on the ground is really the only way you can truly confirm your choice to hunt a given spot, there are ways to find them without tromping around your entire hunting property. If you hunt your own private land, you likely already know it very well, but if you’re hunting a new lease or public land, this approach works really well. Open up an aerial map software, like Google Maps satellite view or Google Earth, which should allow you to survey the hunting property for possible ground blind locations. Locating any open field areas (pastures, natural meadows, or food plots) is easy, but finding a mature oak stand isn’t always so intuitive. Cycle through the imagery dates to find an autumn time period. Oak trees maintain their leaves in the fall, so they’ll stand out once all the other trees lose theirs. Once you know these two basic areas, look for possible travel routes between them, using topographic layers to help. Using this technology makes scouting for turkeys pretty easy, and you’ll just need to confirm the spots.

Get Out There

To recap, once you’ve potentially located one of the hot spots mentioned above on an aerial map, get out there a week or so before your hunt to set up your blind. Brush it in thoroughly and locate it in an area with a high chance of calling a gobbler into range. Using these turkey hunting tips and strategies for ground blinds, you’ll be hoisting a mature gobbler over your shoulder before you know it.

hunting blinds in food plot locations most food plotters miss | Big Game Tree Stands

Hunting Blinds | 3 Great Food Plot Locations Most Food Plotters Miss

Hard To Hunt Food Plot Locations Solved With Hunting Blinds

If you’re a deer hunter the anxiety is probably about to overtake you. Rain and sunshine are on its way, and you can’t help but get excited about putting in new food plots for deer season. Fresh turned over dirt, the tractor firing up, and a lush green mat gets even the season hunters and food plotters fired up, but hold keep a grip on that excitement for a little longer. Planning before you plant is more important than planting itself. We just recently went over the planning you should do before putting in a new food plot, touching on the importance of incorporating the plot into your hunting strategy. While this advice is key and true for installing new food plots, you shouldn’t overthink it. One of the most common reasons great food plot locations do not get planted, is there is not always a clear way to hunt it. We beg to differ, here are 3 key food plot locations that most food plotters miss, but with our help, can be great hunting locations for you.

Food Plot Architecture: Where to Place Your New Food Plot | Drury Outdoors
(Video) – DOD TV: food plots are vital to holding and killing whitetails, here are three tips for establishing new food plots.


Food Plot Location 1: Adjacent to a Bedding Area

Perhaps the best, most often missed food plot location that is not taken advantage of, are food plots adjacent to bedding areas. A small feeding plot within 50 -100 yards of a bedding area will be a perfect spot to ambush in a kill plot or staging area scenario. Why are these not planted?

Hunting opportunity and pressure are of big concern on these food plots. Finding and hunting a tree stand close enough to get a shot would be hard to get into and out of without busting deer. However, placing a ground blind or hunting blind just out of sight, or an elevated box blind distant form the plot, with the food plot still in sight, gives you a completely different scenario.

Food Plot Location 2: Adjacent To a Water Source

This may seem lame to you and your probably thinking “there is water sources next to food sources everywhere…”, and you would be right in saying that, but more often than not that water source is placed in or next to the food plot, not the other way around. Not very often do you see food plots strategically placed right on or next to a small creek, edge of a river, lake, or existing pond. Why are these not planted?

hunting blinds in food plot locations most food plotters miss | Big Game Tree StandsMore often than not these plots are nightmares for hunting. A “blocking in” or “trapped” scenario presents itself. With a food plot next to a significant water source, the benefits of food and water together are clear, but they can also be a hotspot for deer. A significant water source like a river, big enough creek, or lake cuts off multiple routes, meaning you are more likely to run into and bump a lot of deer entering or exiting the food plot. In this situation a significant plot screen, or visual barrier to the plot, with hunting blinds in the form of a ground blind or elevated box blind on the opposite side of the water source, far enough to stay out of the way of approaching deer, gives you a 2-in-1 punch of food and water and the ability to hunt it. The same can work if a tree is available for a tree stand, but an elevated box blind gives you freedom of location to ensure you are putting it in the smartest spot for access.

Food Plot Location 3: Travel Corridors

These are your hidey-hole food plot locations. These are commonly small staging plots before larger food plots, clearings in woods, or just simple a ridge top or bottom field where deer travel frequently. Why are these not planted?

hunting blinds in food plot locations most food plotters miss | Big Game Tree StandsWhile you might think travel corridors are a loose term that food plotters do plant…its hunting these small plots that become the issue…Why? Shade and bumping deer. Often these small plots are shaded out on the edge of woods, or in the woods. The shade and size of the plot significantly reduces the variety of food plot species to choose from. White clover, in a food plot that is prepared and maintained right can attract deer for a quick snack, but can survive intense browsing pressure if needed. The second most common reason these food plots are not taken advantage of is hunting pressure and bumping deer. These food plots can be hard to hunt from a tree stand. With a small plot, the more the deer can be stressed. The tiniest movement, every visit, and any scent in the plot can quickly kill the effectiveness of that travel corridor as well as the food plot. Hunting blinds, specifically a well brushed in ground blind can effectively let you hunt these plots. Better scent control, less chance a deer seeing movement, and as a result less pressure meaning this food plot and be taken full advantage of and a very successful kill plot.

These food plot locations are often not planted because a hunter cannot get around the thought of hunting it properly without busting deer. However if you consider more hunting possibilities with hunting blinds, ground blinds, and elevated box blinds, these food plots become not only great locations to plant but an essential part of a successful hunting strategy.

spring food plots and tree stand and hunting blind placement | Big Game Treestands

Plan Before You Plant! | Spring Food Plots and Tree Stand Hunting Strategy

Spring Food Plots and Tree Stand Hunting | Planning Food Plots According To Your Hunting Blind and Tree Stand Placement

It Is March and once again the silence of winter slumber is broken by the sound of the tractor firing up. The feel, smell, and sight of dirty hands, diesel, and fresh dirt can be addicting to us, just as much if not more than turkey or deer hunting. It gets us excited and brings us satisfaction. There is nothing a hunter and manager would rather do more than climb up on the tractor, wipe the dust off the seat, and break open fresh ground, but is that really your smartest move? While it might feel like you are doing something positive you might want to think again, give it more time, more planning, and as a result, better execution. Don’t make the common mistake of creating a hunting strategy according to your food plots, when you should be planting spring food plots according to your hunting strategy!  Implementing the latter of the two will create more opportunity, better hunting, and more success.

The first question to ask yourself is why are you planting the food plots? For nutritional purposes or for hunting in the situation of the “kill plot”? You can bet on the majority of hunters that plant food plots, are doing so to create hunting opportunities. So which of the following situations would make the most sense?

Option 1: Going to a chuck of timber or an old field and clearing it, breaking the ground, and planting beans or clover just to find out there isn’t a single place to put a box blind, tripod, or ground blind that a deer wouldn’t bust your wind or your entry in.

Option 2: Strategically mapping known deer movement, tree stand or blind sites, and previous observations,  then taking that information to determine where, what type, and when a food plot would make sense in that area.

The choice is obvious, we understand that…and we know that if your planting a food plot you are already putting up stands or blinds in your mind. The problem lies in the fact that this thinking (not even enough to call it planning) happens when you are sitting on the tractor, or waiting for rain after planting. True, successful, well thought out plans for a food plot will only come from enough time being devoted to a map, scouting, past hunting observations, and more often than not, research on the subject. Here is some information that will help you out with your spring food plots, ensuring you are maximizing your efforts, time, and hard earned money.

Maps, Scouting, and Observations

Hopefully you took some time to shed hunt this winter, and took some notes down when you were out and about. Shed season was the perfect time to scout, you were not negatively impacting your deer season next year with the pressure, and deer sign was still fresh from November and December. Marking scrapes, rubs, funnels, highways, and bedding areas down on a map and coordinating that with hunting season observations give you a great idea of the daily movement that takes place on your property. When it comes to installing and planting food plots this spring, human pressure, staging areas and bedding areas are your biggest concern. Where are the deer, more importantly bucks bedding. Once a known bedding area is marked, next figure out when, where, and which type of food plot would make sense in the area. This is by far the most tedious part of effectively planning food plot strategy with your hunting strategy.

“Which type of food plot seed” depends on your “when”

The best advice in the situation, before diving into researching the when, where, and which type of food plot to plant, is to think about when you hunt, and what food sources are available during that time around the property. Are you a turkey hunter, a land manager, or a just a deer hunter? When you deer hunt do you hunt with a bow in the early season, or are you a gun hunter waiting on November and December? Each situation has its own, where, when, and which type of food plot you need.

  • Turkey Season

If you’re the turkey hunter, the ideal food plot set up is creating a food source and strutting zone that you can effectively hunt with a ground blind. In these situation size isn’t as much an issue as what type of food there is. In the situation of turkey hunting in the spring, the best candidate for turkey hunting food plots in the spring is clover and alfalfa. Clover and alfalfa explode in spring, making not only valuable spring forage for deer, but dynamite feeding and strutting sites for turkeys.

spring food plots and tree stand and hunting blind placement | Big Game Treestands

  • Nutrition and Observation

Late spring and summer are months of nutrition and observation. Does drop fawns, and bucks are just starting to develop some substantial velvet growth. During the lactation and antler growth stages of the year for deer, protein is valuable. Both pastures, hay fields, and food plots with substantial alfalfa and clover and large bean fields provide the protein and attraction deer need and want. These food sources also give you a great opportunity to sit up in an elevated box blind, a ground blind, or tree stand some distance away from the food, to observe and scout the bachelor groups.

  • Early Bow Season Attractant

Planting food plots in spring, in order to hunt over them in September-October will either take place in the form of the two best attractants of the season, beans and clover. Sure their might be some room for opinions, but staging areas in the form of small clover ( white clover) plots, adjacent or on the way to a larger food source like standing beans are dynamite locations for an early season sit. Deer will still be or just coming out of their early season patterns during early bow season, meaning they are unpressured in those small clover “kill plots”, and on the edges of large bean ag fields, or food plots Planting clover by frost seeding or drilling, disking, or tilling, in early spring during decent rain, will work for small food plots. If you want beans for the early season you will need either at least 5 acres, or install a food plot electric fence to avoid deer over-browsing the plot.

  • The Opening Day and Late Gun Season Attractant

Opening day of gun season is a holiday (at least it should be). Nothing is better than lifting a buck onto the tailgate during that weekend, so which food plot will give you that, or any weekend after until the close of the season? Beans, corn, and brassicas are the favorited in the November-January time period. Brassicas are planted in the late summer/early fall period before the season opens, so you can delay planning and planting that food plot until later in the year. Planting beans and corn however takes more time and precision. Cut corn fields make for some of the best rut hunting in November in the Midwest, but standing corn and beans in late November-January can’t be beat for attraction.

Design and shape

Size is important when it comes to which type of food plot seed you select, depending on the browse resistance of the species, but the design and shape of the plot can really start honing in hunting strategy, and working together with your hunting blind and tree stand placement.

spring food plots and tree stand and hunting blind placement | Big Game Treestands

  • Long rectangle

This is the most popular standard food plot shape and design, whether you are a firearms hunter or a bow hunter the rectangle is your friend. The length gives you the acreage and the long shot potential when hunting with a rifle or muzzleloader, but the width creates less pressure, stress, and creates more security for deer. It also happens to create a great location for a fixed position tree stand for close encounters for bow hunting.

  • L shape

The L shape puts a right angle in the rectangle this does three things better than the rectangle. It creates an elbow, a staging area, and creates more security. Creating essentially two different sections of the plot, while keeping the width relatively small creates the same acreage, but separates the field of view creating less stress for feeding deer, and more movement to see what’s on the other side. The bottom or smaller end of the plot basically serves as a staging area in this scenario. The smaller (potentially different food source) creates a smaller area for deer to stage in before entering the large feeding area. Both of these advantages gives rise to the third advantage, an elbow. The elbow is creates an ideal box blind, tripod, ground blind, or tree stand location, creating a funnel and views of both areas of the food plot.

  • Crows foot

Taking the idea of the Elbow to the next level is the crow’s foot. This obviously serves as an extreme advantage for firearms season. Strips of beans, cut corn, or strips of clover all sprawling out from a central location gives you three shooting lanes, and potentially different buffets for your deer herd.


Hunting Strategy

Now knowing your “when” and “what”, you will know exactly where to put it. Obviously a larger bean, corn, or brassica field will go wherever the acreage is available, but the smaller clover/alfalfa plots can be strategically placed. Creating these small opening, “kill plots”  n heavy timber, adjacent to thick cover and bedding areas, or as staging areas before a larger food source are successful food plot tactics.

The one thing above all else when creating a food plot is knowing how you will hunt it, and if it will work. A food plot that is not hunt able is not ideal, although it does have its place on some properties. A food plot that creates hunting opportunity is a key goal. Planning a food plot effectively means, safe non disturbance entry and exits, multiple tree stand, box blind, tripod, or ground blind locations for different winds, and a food source/hunting opportunity that is completely free of human pressure.

As you can see food plots aren’t a walk in the park, but neither is deer or turkey hunting. If it was easy, it wouldn’t be near as enjoyable. Studying, researching, learning, planning, and executing are all a part of the process…the resulting failure or success are both enjoyable, but success feels much better! Take these spring food plot and hunting strategy tips seriously over the next months, and hopefully you will reap the benefits of your hard work.