May 11, 2021 8 min read
When hunting deer or turkey, having access to a high-quality hunting blind in the right spot may significantly increase your chances of success. The right hunting blinds should conceal your movements and prevent you from being detected by the animal while enabling you to comfortably adjust your position when readying for a shot.
However, finding the right hunting blind can be a daunting task. You can find many prefabricated hunting blinds on the market, or you can DIY your structure. Regardless of which type of blind you choose, there are several critical features to consider before making your purchase.
Hunting blinds generally fall in one of two categories: ground blinds and elevated blinds. Each has benefits and drawbacks. Ground blinds are placed directly on the dirt or grass. Because they do not require a tree or an elevating structure to mount it on, they are easier to move when needed. The lack of a ladder or stairs also means that hunters with reduced mobility can access ground blinds more comfortably, reducing injury risk. When shooting from ground level, the kill zones are as broad as possible, offering a wider area for clean shots.
However, ground blinds have some disadvantages. They must be camouflaged or placed in advance to give animals time to get used to the new structure. The more windows you open on a ground blind, the more visible you risk becoming, defeating the blind’s purpose. In contrast, having only one open window limits your available field of view; proper placement is paramount to get a clean shot. Also, because your shots are on a flat plane, missing can present a safety risk to other hunters in the area.
Elevated blinds are mounted to trees or onto lumber structures, typically mounted 5 to 10 feet over the ground. The elevation grants several advantages. You can see farther into the distance, and you are shooting at a downward angle, minimizing any safety issues if you miss. You can also keep every window open, maximizing your field of view. When shooting from an elevated position, the kill zone is smaller, requiring more precision to make a clean and humane shot. You also have virtually no protection from the wind, which can carry your scent toward the deer, alerting the animals to your presence.
The ideal height of your blind depends on whether you hunt using a firearm or a bow. Bowhunters require enough headroom to make a shot while standing. Although it is technically possible to shoot a bow while sitting down, it is uncomfortable, and you’re likely not to make a shot as powerful or accurate as you would while standing.
If you are primarily a bowhunter, look for blinds with at least six feet of interior height; more if you are a taller individual. If you hunt with a gun or crossbow, you can use shorter blinds, as you’re most likely to take a shot while sitting.
Hunters who frequently use both bows and firearms should use blinds suited for bowhunting; they can give you the necessary headroom to stand up and take a shot with the bow, and the extra height won’t hurt when shooting from a seated position.
Models such as the Shadow Hunter Outdoorsman Octagon 5×6 offer an interior height of over six feet and are ideal for both bowhunters and gun hunters. It is a one- to two-person blind, so you can take a hunting buddy on your next adventure or use the space to store gear during the season.
As a general rule, more windows mean a better field of view but sacrifice concealment. Ground blind hunters typically keep only one window open to minimize their exposure, even if it means dealing with a reduced field of view. Different window sizes exist, depending on the weapon type you use. Gun hunters favor long but narrow horizontal openings, giving them enough space to line up their gun barrel and rifle scope.
Crossbow hunters use windows similar to those used by gun hunters—a mostly horizontal shape with enough height to align the sights and crossbow bolt. Bowhunters should use vertical openings instead, which are more practical when standing up and aiming with a longbow or compound bow.
You can also opt for larger, universal windows, providing enough space for using different weapons. The disadvantage of universal windows is that you may be easier to spot since the opening is wider. When hunting deer or turkey in a ground blind, you’ll want to have silent deer blind windows like those found in Shadow Hunter window kits. Silent window systems let you open and close your blind’s windows without making a noise, significantly reducing the risk of being detected by the deer.
On elevated blinds, the additional height offers a certain degree of concealment. The deer’s natural predators do not attack from above, meaning that deer do not instinctively look up for danger. However, an elevated position exposes you to more wind, which can carry your scent toward the animals and cause them to run. For this reason, windows with silent closing systems are useful to have on both ground and elevated blinds.
Avoid soft-sided systems that close using Velcro. Although they are easier to use, they are much noisier, requiring you to open the windows in advance of taking a shot, leaving you exposed to the elements. Specific blind designs have more than four sides, such as the Shadow Hunter Marksman Octagon 6×6, which has eight sides and additional windows at the angles. The extra windows offer hunters more possibilities to adjust and expand their field of view with minimal risk to their concealment.
The surface area of your hunting blind depends on the number of hunters you want to fit inside, considering their gear and equipment. Avoid buying a blind larger than you need, as you’ll appear more conspicuous to your prey. If you primarily hunt alone, hunting blinds intended to fit one person don’t need to be much larger than 4’x4’ or 4’x5’. For two hunters, a larger surface area, such as 4’x6’, 5’x5’ or even 5’x6’, may be more comfortable.
Having more space gives you not only more legroom and floor space for your gear and equipment but room to install interior accessories, such as more comfortable hunting chairs, shelves, racks for your bows and guns or a portable heater for winter hunting.
For durability, your hunting blind’s build quality is essential. Every element of your hunting blind should use the highest-grade materials possible. The materials used in a hunting blind determine their resistance to wind, rain and weather in general. Blinds constructed of soft materials such as nylon usually feature steel structural skeletons designed to keep the blind upright, functioning similarly to a large tent.
While soft-sided blinds are less expensive, they can be challenging to set up, and they may require staking to ensure the wind won’t blow them over. Even when adequately staked, windy conditions can make these blinds noisy, potentially scaring animals.
By far, the best materials to use for a hunting blind are hard-sided materials, such as wood, metal or plastic. Hard-sided blinds are heavier and a little harder to move, but they offer far higher stability and resistance to the elements. The wind will not cause hard-sided blinds to flap and generate noise, and they can prevent water and snow from penetrating the interior, assuming all openings are closed. A hard-sided blind with a properly built roof is also safer to use during the winter, as a snow-covered soft-sided blind may stress the steel skeleton, rendering it less stable or causing the roof to sag.
Professional-grade hunting blind models, such as those from Shadow Hunter Blinds, feature hard acrylic-coated flooring materials, eliminating the risk of damage from water, dirt, grass and potential rodent infestation. Elevated blinds require structural support. Use the highest-quality lumber possible for the support beams, topped with steel elevator brackets and steel structural screws to ensure optimal stability and durability.
The best material to use for your support structure is pressure-treated dimensional lumber, which offers the best resistance to weather or decay induced by rotting, termites or fungi. You may need to treat and seal your lumber before constructing a DIY blind to prolong its lifespan. The right lumber dimensions vary, depending on the desired height; most support structures use standard sizes, such as 2×4, 2×6 and 4×4 lumber.
Camouflage on a hunting blind refers to two distinct concepts: the base camouflage pattern painted or printed on the sides of your blind and physical concealing elements placed onto the blind. Plain colors such as OD (olive drab) green are sufficient and provide adequate, if minimal, camouflage in most forest environments across the United States. For added effectiveness, prioritize realistic camouflage patterns in colors and shades appropriate for the current environment and season, much as you would with hunting clothes.
If you served in the military, you’ve probably learned that camouflage isn’t for blending in so much as it is for breaking your shape. To enhance the concealment of your blind, most experienced hunters recommend brushing-in: the practice of placing local leaves, branches, bushes and other natural elements, such as dirt and mud.
Brushing-in your blind improves concealment by breaking up the unnatural shape of your blind and covering it with elements that have the same scents and odors as the local area, which lets animals get used to the new structure more quickly. Hard-sided blinds are much easier to brush-in, as you can use hooks, loops, mesh covers, the roof and other elements of your blind to place your brush. However, remember not to obstruct your windows and shooting lines.
In some areas, the law may require you to cover your blind with high-visibility safety orange, which is intended to be visible from all directions. You can install blaze orange to the roof of your hunting blind to comply with the law. Although blaze orange may seem counterintuitive to camouflage, a deer’s eyes are effectively red-green colorblind, so they cannot distinguish orange as clearly as human eyes can. To a deer, blaze orange appears to be somewhere between gray and yellowish, making it look very similar to most other forest colors.
Hunting blinds featuring black or dark-colored interior walls may give you an advantage if you need to open more than one window. The dark color makes it more challenging for the animals to spot your silhouette, helping you remain concealed.
If you’re setting up an elevated blind, consider using a platform with an adjustable ladder made of durable materials, such as steel. If you need to move the blind’s location or change the height of the structural support at any point, you can use the same adjustable ladder, as long as the height of the new blind is within the ladder’s range.
Blinds equipped with sound-proofed interior wall materials, such as Shadow Hunter Marksman series professional-grade blinds, can help conceal the sound generated by subtle movements, such as clothes rustling or the creaking of your hunting seat. Interior accessories such as gun racks, bow hangers or crossbow holders keep your hands free until it’s time to take a shot. Prioritize using racks featuring pivoting yokes and padding to avoid scratching or marring your weapons’ finish.
If you need additional storage and item organization options, consider adding carpeted shelf systems such as the Shadow Hunter Carpeted 2-in-1 Accessory Shelf System. A carpeted shelf system helps you organize all your small objects, from ammunition and knives to food and drink, without generating unwanted noise. Even with the best interior fittings and accessories, no hunting blind can be 100% scent-proof. Consider adding extra scent control accessories to maximize your chances, such as sprays, ozone generators or scent wafers.
Shadow Hunter Blinds offers the highest-quality hunting blinds on the market for firearm hunters and bowhunters. Our products are recommended by industry professionals and celebrity enthusiasts, from Tom Nelson to Ted Nugent.
We also provide a range of materials and elements for DIY blinds and a selection of the best accessories and comfort items, such as deluxe hunting chairs and seat cushions. For any questions, inquiries or customer support requests, call us at (888) 446-4868 to speak with our experienced staff.
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