Be it spring, fall, or winter; deer, turkeys, elk, or whatever critter you’re after that requires stationary time in the field, a good ground blind is a handy tool to have. You should, of course, place an emphasis on what the word “good” means to you, because a crappy ground blind just isn’t worth toting around.
A serviceable hide is one that can withstand some measure of inclement weather—wind, rain, or snow. The capacity should be large enough for the task at hand, it should be reasonably fast and easy to deploy, and more than anything else, it should conceal whoever is inside. If you prefer not to hunt on the ground, you can still hide out from above. Box-style blinds have become increasingly popular, but they can be expensive. Today’s blinds are as good as they’ve ever been. Here’s a rundown of some of the most innovative units available. ]
Ask anyone who doesn’t like to use a ground blind and I bet half a ham sandwich the main reason for their disdain is they can’t see well enough out of one.
Well, pass the mayo because that excuse has just went out the window—or the one-way mesh, if you will. A hunter inside a SurroundView blind has unobstructed views in nearly all directions. Offered in three models, each built with a different grade of new, unique, one-way mesh fabric that from the outside, looks like a standard pop-up style blind with camo fabric and mesh windows. However, once you step inside, you see (literally) that it’s not. Like a one-way mirror, you can see out through the fabric, while whatever you’re hunting, can’t see in. While you can’t shoot through the fabric, there are plenty of mesh window openings to take a shot, but the ability to see your surroundings without having to reposition is a huge asset.
If you simply can’t hunt unless you’re hanging out in an elevated condo, Redneck Blinds’ Big Country Platinum might be for you. You can mount this giant box blind on a platform system or use it on the ground. It has room for up to four adults, it’s constructed with Redneck’s fiberglass material, and it has spray-foamed ceilings, acoustical-covered walls, and foam floors. There’s storage for gear, the windows are tinted automotive-grade glass, and the openings are tall enough for bowhunting.
New Archery Products (NAP) has stepped into the ground blind business with its first design, the Mantis. This is a unique blind created with input from Keith Beam, one of the original founders of Double Bull. Rather than have a flat roof, the blind has two peaks so snow and rain slide off easy, and the a profile makes it easier to hide among bushes or trees branches. It’s also light—about 30 to 50 percent lighter than blinds of similar size—and it features NAP’s Wicked Intent camo pattern, which is a variation of the ultra-popular digital dispersion look that’s made “sticks and leaves” camo all but obsolete. More importantly, NAP scaled the pattern over a large surface area rather than simply repeating it, which adds a level of depth of field concealment that makes this blind even easier to hide from prying eyes.
The Deception blind is a great choice for turkey hunters, and a terrific option for whitetail hunters using a crossbow. Its ultra-compact design is intended for a single hunter sitting on a low-profile chair (or a bucket for cheap rednecks like me). If you plan on hunting with a partner, or having someone film your hunt, this blind isn’t for you. You won’t have room to move or the occasional card game. The blind is intended to fit in tight positions you wouldn’t normally hunt, but you expect to see action. It’s light, easy to deploy, and suited for those “unique” situations where a treestand or larger blind just won’t work.
A relatively new player in the ground blind biz, Barronett offers classic hub-style blinds at a price that’s hard to beat given the quality of their product. The newest addition to their lineup is the Ox series, which is available in three sizes and configurations. There’s nothing particularly unique about the blinds—they look and function like most hub-style versions you’ve come to know. But they’re constructed with the type of high quality materials you’d expect on blinds costing a few hundred bucks more. The Ox 4 is an ideal size for most hunting situations, has adjustable windows, and comes with a ground skirt to help you completely isolate yourself inside.
Ameristep is a long-standing player in the ground blind game and known for making serviceable blinds at a decent price. The Deadwood Stump is marketed as a blind that looks like, well, a stump, and if you squint your eyes just right, tilt your head a bit, and use a little bit of imagination, you’ll see a blind that might sort of look like a stump. A really, really big stump that’s a little misshapen. Whether you think it truly resembles a stump likely doesn’t matter, however. The blind will keep you hidden and its shape won’t scream “human” to passing critters. It boasts an impressive total of 17 window openings and it has a hinged door that makes entry and exit a breeze.
If you have an extra $4,000 and want to outfit your hunting area with a true chateau, the Muddy Outdoors Penthouse blind is worth a look. The new Penthouse is a high-end (duh) box blind that measures it measures 6.5 feet wide and 7.5 feet deep. The 16-inch tall residential-glass windows make it easy to see in all directions, and adjust for different shot angles, and there’s vertical windows for bowhunting. The exterior-grade PVC shell, foam insulation, and gasket sealed windows are great for warmth and scent containment, and you have the option of keeping the blind on the ground, or propping it up on a platform.