First Hunt of the Year: A Chance to Test Your Blind and Your Nerve

The first hunt of the year is just around the corner for many of you. I'm included in that group. My first hunt isn't for whitetails, but instead for North America's most unique big game animal: the pronghorn. Most of the hunt will be focused on getting my 14-year-old son Cole a pronghorn. Since I'll be playing road warrior again during much of the hunting season, I want to ensure he has a great kickoff as well.

I look at early-season hunts, like our pronghorn safari, as the season warm-up. It's the perfect adventure to put bows, arrows, optics, boots and hunting clothing through an initial field test. It's also a super way to get some of those buck fever jitters under control. Regardless if you stand hunt or stalk, having a big-eyed pronghorn staring you down is more than enough to launch the adrenaline pumps into overdrive.

If you don't have the luxury of having pronghorn in your backyard to hunt in August, consider whitetails in September. Whether you participate in an early-season buck hunt or an antlerless bonus hunt for does, you can squeeze in some buck fever control before the chaos of the rut occurs.

I'll be using waterhole ambush sites for pronghorns and that means ground blinds, but as the revolution in ground blinds continues more and more whitetail hunters are keeping their feet on terra firma while hidden in blinds. Here are a few new ideas in ground blind comfort.

First, go compact and uncomplicated with your blind such as the new Hide 'N Hunt Blind from Hunter's Specialties. It offers ample room to shoot from, but goes up in seconds and when staked properly can withstand all of Mother Nature's grumpy spells.

How many of you have sore butt syndrome after sitting for several hours in a ground blind with Walmart-style chairs? I do. If you spend hours in your blind then you need to invest in the HuntMore collapsible chair. It's designed by hunters for hunters and features a padded back and seat that are cushioned with cell foam pad pockets to distribute weight evenly. It also sports lumbar support. The sturdy frame is virtually indestructible, squeak-proof and totally adjustable.

How many times have you had your bow fall over in a blind? Galena Outdoor
Products looked at this dilemma and came up with the bow holder/camera bracket combo. It is a simple hook that securely and easily attaches to the frame of the blind, and keeps your bow or firearm upright and ready. You can also mount a camera to it for the third arm you always wanted to film your own hunts.

Finally, most of my pronghorn ambush sites are devoid of trees and I find myself in the same predicament at many whitetail locations as well. That leaves me treeless for scouting camera setup points. Remedy that with the new Stic-N-Pic, a portable tripod of sorts that spikes into the ground to stabilize your camera virtually anywhere. In fact, the top mounting bracket can accommodate as many as three cameras to give you a virtual 360-degree view of a field or opening if you wish.

Hunting season is here. Let the games begin!