When hunting in the wild, building a good blind is an essential part of the process. A good blind not only gives one somewhere to sit for hours on end that one won’t hate after three of those hours have gone by, but it also increases the chances of success astronomically. Hunting is a hard sport to be good at; it takes dedication and talent, know-how and skill. There are so many factors that can go wrong–everything from weather to equipment malfunction–and the successful hunter knows that he or she needs to do all things possible to reduce those risks. There is no reason to add a poor blind to the list of possible mistakes; building a ground blind that is well-placed, well-hidden, and of a quality construction and camouflage is a must for those wanting to hit it big this fall and winter.
The first step may seem obvious, but the hunter must scout the area thoroughly and find a place with heavy deer traffic. Ideally, this area will not have just one deer trail, but two or three. These trails are sometimes easy to find and sometimes a bit harder; the hunter must look for paths through the trees, areas where the grass is matted down, and lines where the underbrush and tree branches have been broken. If possible, the blind should have multiple sight lines as well. Many times this can be accomplished with placement on the top of a rise or hill, where one can shoot down both sides and along the flat top of the hill where the trees will be thinner. This is most useful when hunting with a rifle, because of a gun’s advantage in range over a bow or crossbow.
To build a natural ground blind, one will want to simply use the cover that can be found within the forest. This is usually easy to come across: downed trees, broken branches, large bushes, rocks, and the like. These will of course need to be rearranged and moved around to accommodate the blind, but it saves the work of constructing a blind beforehand, and gives the hunter a lot of leeway into where exactly the blind is placed.
Starting out with a fallen tree is the best way to go. This could happen on the tops of hills due to high winds there at the raised altitude, or strikes from lightning. Either one will serve just as well. After a tree has been selected, the hunter will want to decide which way they would like to shoot the most–which direction has the best sight lines and the most deer trails. This will not be exclusive, as the hunter will be able to turn and fire if needed, but having the blind oriented in the proper direction will give the best chance for getting off a shot without spooking the game.
Once a direction has been decided on, the hunter will want to use the loose branches to form a sort of cage around themselves. The biggest branches should be used first, to create the structure. After that, smaller branches can be filled in to make a fuller field of cover. At this point, camouflage netting is sometimes useful. It can be hung easily along the larger branches to give the hunter more complete cover. The main thing to remember at this stage is to build enough cover to remain unseen without building so much as to block any shooting lanes. That includes the lanes behind the hunter, which are most often forgotten. These need to stay open so that there is still a shot if the deer come from an unexpected direction, which can often happen in the winter as the snow gets deeper and the normal paths are covered.
Natural cover is always the best. The deer become used to it very quickly and it stands a better chance of not disrupting their habits. If one must use a commercial blind, dressing it up with natural surroundings as described above may prove well worth the time. A few branches and bushes can go a long way, as can placing the blind in a thicket. No matter the choice, a good blind is one of the most important parts of the hunting experience.