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Deer Blind Location

Blind placement is one of the most overlooked segments of deer hunting I regularly encounter.  When selecting a suitable location, don’t think like a human, but like that of a deer.  Oftentimes, placing the blind for convenience is much different than placing it where it may offer the best chance for success.  Deer, particularly mature bucks, use travel corridors — edges, drainages, creeks, tree lines and other screening covers to get from one place to the next.  Outside of the rut and the accompanying brief lapse of intelligence, mature bucks stick close to these landscape features to offer maximum concealment as they travel.  A well placed blind will be able to observe these corridors, perhaps more than one simultaneously, at a safe enough distance to avoid detection by the quarry yet offering a high percentage shot distance.

Placing the blind too close to travel or feeding locations such as feeders or food plots will disrupt the animal’s daily routine and minimize success significantly.  Feeders should offer protective cover as animals travel to and from them as well.  Feeders in the wide open offer no such protection and create deer activity only under the cover of darkness.

Obviously, prevailing wind direction must also be taken into consideration.  Cross or down wind from travel and feeding areas will ensure the best chance of success and such locations must only be hunted when the winds are favorable.  Hunting these locations when the winds are “not right” will only educate the animals and make them more wary of the area.  Outside of the rut, most mature bucks will approach a feeding location downwind to scent-check the area for danger and for hot does before exposing themselves. If your blind is too close to the feeder, the buck will approach downwind of your location as well as the feeder and you will be busted.   If your blind is too far, you may be unable to make an accurate shot. Since “how far is too far” is highly variable, try to take into account your actual abilities and place the blind at as far away from the feeder as you can confidently make the shot.

An often overlooked part of deer blinds is anchoring them to the ground.  The winds are not always calm in Texas, so making sure your blind will be there next hunting season is a must.  Tie-downs, anchors, guy wires, concrete posts and t-posts are required to not only keep your blind upright, they will also help keep the blind steady when the moment of truth arrives and you have to make the shot.

There is an unwritten rule among ethical hunters and landowners that states that no hunting blinds will be placed along property lines.  The appropriate distance requires common sense based on topography, habitat, line-of-sight and shooting direction.  The same holds true for feeder placement.  No neighboring landowner should be able to see your feeders or blinds and you should not be able to see theirs.  If your property is small and irregular shaped, hunt only the center and perhaps a tower blind is not for you.  If your property is large, concentrate on travel corridors away from the boundary line and out of sight of the neighbors.  Common sense and blind location not only makes hunting a safer and more enjoyable sport, but makes for much better neighbors as well.

Other helpful hints when selecting blind locations:

  • Sunrise and sunset facing blinds are obviously limiting, so place blinds to look north or south or realize hunting such sun-facing locations may only be hunted when the sun is at your back (and the wind is right).
  • Take into account human traffic such as highways, walking/hiking trails, fishing areas, farmhouses and other high-use areas that may be dangerous to shoot towards.  Deer may or may not be scared of these areas, but hunters must be cognizant of the bullet’s flight path at all times.
  • How will you access your hunting blind?  Walking past the feeder or through the food plot is not wise.  You need to enter the blind into the wind and with the least amount of disturbance as possible.
  • Placing the blind below the crest of the hill, not on top, will keep you from being silhouetted while traveling to and from the blind.
  • Sit in the back or corner of the blind and do not allow yourself to be silhouetted against the sky behind you.  Sit in front of the latched door, use dark curtains, or completely cover the window behind you.
  • Use comfortable seats that are the correct height to shoot out of the windows.
  • Staying quiet and still only increases your chances of success.
  • The windows should be only tall enough to get your scoped rifle easily through without banging the frame.  Large windows allow for your movement to be seen from the outside and allows for more scent to escape.
  • Make the blinds large enough to safely and comfortable hold all the hunters and their gear.  If youth or guiding hunters are planned, bigger is always better.  Cramped quarters create more noise and less comfort.
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Blind Placement is Critical to Hunter Success

As my wife gathered her bags before heading to the deer blind, the other hunters stared in amazement.  Binoculars, blue seat cushion, pink blanket, water bottle, spotting scope, video camera, flowery-colored knitting bag, colorful balls of yarn and her rifle all slung over her red sweatshirt shoulders.  “What is going on here, you headed to a circus or what?” one hunter finally blurted out.  The rest of the guys laughed but knew better than to chime in.  “Oh be quiet, I know what I am doing” my wife replied as she staggered under the heavy load.  Dressed in full camo from head to toe, some even wearing scent wafers pinned to their ball caps, the hunters laughed and eventually headed off to their blinds for the evening hunt.

Three hours later, the hunting party arrived back at camp to find the game skinning shed light on.  Upon opening the shed door, the men stood in awe with their mouths agape.  Inside was my wife, still wearing her red sweatshirt and pulling the last of the hide off of a mature sixteen inch wide ten point buck.  Not another word was said about her hunting prowess after that night.

The secret to her success was really no secret at all– a very well designed hunting blind and the location.  When selecting a location for your hunting blind, think like a deer and not like a human.  Convenience is nice but it rarely pays off in high hunter success rates.  My wife’s tower blind, dubbed “The Momma Shack”, was positioned downwind from a major travel corridor, overlooked several drainages, and was located on the edge of the largest oak tree thicket on the property.  The blind had it all—good concealment, excellent visibility, was minimally impacted by the rising or setting sun, provided concealment when entering and exiting the blind, and her scent was always blowing away from where the deer gather.  It continues to be one of the most productive blinds on the property year after year.

The success of this blind is simple:

  • It is large enough to safely and quietly hold all her “must have” hunting supplies to keep her comfortable and quiet for hours on end.
  • The windows are long and narrow, offering her a panoramic view of her surroundings yet wide enough for her to easily get her scoped rifle out the window without hitting the frame.
  • The windows are the right height for her and her chair is coordinated to the window height so she doesn’t have to strain or move her body to see out.
  • The interior of the blind is darkened so she can’t be silhouetted.  Dark fabric curtains are to her back that help hide any movement inside.  She can easily see to the front and both sides and not worry about what is behind her—her back faces downwind, her entry and exit trail, and the least likely place for deer to travel.
  • Because her blind is darkened inside, camo clothing is not required, and she sits near the back of the blind and away from the main windows.
  • Her blind is below the crest of the hill and not on top.  Blinds on the very top of hills offer higher winds, and hunters are silhouetted as they enter, exit, and sit in the blind.
  • Her blind is securely anchored to the ground with metal stakes and guy wires.  A tower blind needs anchoring to the ground to not only keep in upright in heavy winds, but also to steady the blind when the shot of a lifetime presents itself.
  • She has a good, solid window ledge to steady her rifle.  She has sandbags on a small window shelf to not only anchor her gun before a shot, but also to steady her binoculars and spotting scope that helps her to identify and age her target.
  • Her blind is located far from human traffic areas such as main ranch roads, farmhouses, corrals and other high traffic areas.  Her shots are all downhill and into thick brush, so safety after the shot is not an issue.
  • Her blind is located in the interior of the property and far from any boundary fence.  She can’t see the neighbors and the neighbors can’t see her.  Good blind (and feeder) placement makes for good neighbors.

Proper blind construction and location can make the difference between success and failure.  Whitetails are crafty animals, so use these tips to help you stack the deck this hunting season, even if you have to carry a knitting bag full of yarn!

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