There are three does feeding on sage, and making their way towards me. This a straight meat hunt, but it doesn’t stop the adrenaline from coursing through my veins. I’m running hotter than a rusty Ford Pinto engine as the trio meanders to within 15 yards. A 4-foot-tall boulder is all that conceals me; still, I draw my bow so slowly it’s almost painful. The fattest of the three hefty does finally turns broadside, and I release. The green light from my knock disappears into her shoulder, and she crashes 10 lunges later.
Until last season, it had been a long time since I’d killed a deer from the ground. In an age where gear drives the hunting industry, people have forgotten that natural hides abound in the deer woods. There are plenty of places to tuck into and shoot a deer. Here are 10 of the best.
Perhaps my favorite option is a large boulder, and especially a pile of boulders in close proximity to one another. I’ve come across several of these natural ground blinds in my life, and one of them is the hide I used to arrow that big doe last fall. Just remember: Never draw your bow while pointing the arrow toward a boulder or rock. That’s a recipe for disaster.
2. Brush Piles
I’ve bow and gun hunted from brush piles and downed logs quite a bit. It’s a perfect option for public lands where you can’t cut trees, limbs, or other vegetation to build a blind. Instead, round up as many dead trees and limbs as possible, craft a brush pile, and voila—a free ground blind.
3. Cedar Trees
Cedar trees were made for hunters. These are exceptional locations to wait for unsuspecting game. Some cedars are already crafted in a manner where all a hunter needs to do is sit down and start hunting. To take it one step further, however, cut out a hole in the cedar by removing enough limbs to sit back against the trunk, but still have good cover to the left and right. Or, remove enough limbs to build a cedar blind in the perfect location.
4. Single-Trunk Trees
Do you know how many deer have been killed by hunters sitting up against a big oak tree? I don’t either, but I’d bet my last dollar it’s a heck of a lot. Nothing more needs to be said. As long as a hunter sits still, this spot works just fine.
5. Split-Trunk Trees
While single trunks get the job done, a split trunk, or multiple trees grouped close together, make an acceptable spot to sit and shoot a deer from. You might want to add a little extra cover as needed.
6. Creek Banks
I love a good creek bank. Some of these are pristine spots to shoot a deer. In my experience, the ideal scenario includes a shallow (or dry) creek or branch with a 4- to 5-foot bank. If it borders a field, clearing or other good hunting spot, this allows a hunter to sit or stand, and watch the target area for passing game. This is especially good for gun hunters. When it’s time for the shot, raise up above the bank and vegetation, make sure there are no obstructions in the line of fire, and make a good shot.
Read Next: It’s Time to Cut the B.S. in Deer Hunting
While ditches are perfect entry and exit routes, they also make solid hunting spots, too. These conceal the bulk of the body, and if needed, allows hunters to move if the situation calls for it. When it comes time to shoot, just be sure the barrel or broadhead is clear of all vegetation.
8. Crop Field Edges
Deer commonly travel along field edges, especially inside corners where perpendicular tree lines meet. If tall standing crops—such as corn—meet these, that could be a good spot to sit. If deer are traveling within range of a cornfield edge, just tuck in about one or two rows deep, and enjoy a natural ground blind.
9. Grass Clumps and Edges
Large clumps of grass and thick edges make great hides for hunters. Flatten out a spot to sit. Then, break enough stems to the left, right and front for shot opportunities. Keep enough stems standing to remain concealed. Leave all vegetation intact to the rear for back cover.
10. Stone Walls
While most stone walls aren’t natural, they have been around for decades, if not centuries. Thus, they might seem like natural fixtures. Regardless, these are prime locations to hunt from. Depending on their height, they also make incredible entry and exit routes, as they break up your figure while walking to and from the truck.