July 13, 2021 8 min read
Although hard-sided ground blinds have many advantages for hunting that you’ll never get by using a tree stand or a soft-sided ground blind, many hunters feel it’s not worth the effort of setting them up. Most of the time, they cite issues caused by transportation and storage; it’s difficult, it’s cumbersome and you need heavy equipment. Despite these concerns, it is critical to know how to transport a ground blind from one location to another and what to do when it’s time to return them to storage. Learn the best ways to move and store your blinds so you can prepare for the next hunting season.
You should prepare well before the start of the season, selecting the best spots to place your blinds as early as possible. However, as the season progresses, deer will move away from their hotspots. You may find that the area you thought was a good spot now has little to no deer traffic. If you must relocate your blinds while the season is in progress, wait until there’s no deer movement in the area. You will need to bring in motorized vehicles (possibly heavy machinery) to move your blinds from one location to the next; the last thing you want is to spook the local wildlife and miss your chance of tagging a buck.
Plan your transportation route ahead of time. Decide where the blind will be, and use the shortest route possible from the blind’s current location to its intended new destination while avoiding any significant obstacles in the way. The path should be short and clear for two reasons: saving time and reducing the risk of accidents. If you must move your blind during hunting season, take advantage of off-peak times. Typically, deer are least active from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and most active around sunrise and sunset, regardless of weather conditions.
The most suitable transportation methods for you depend on multiple factors. Whether your blind is on the ground or elevated on a support structure, how much time you have and how bumpy and uneven the terrain is should all be taken into account.
The safest and most advisable method of moving your stand is to simply disassemble it into parts and elements, load them into the back of a truck or a suitable trailer and drive to the new location where you’ll rebuild it. Ensure you keep track of all small parts and, if you’re not especially handy, keep a record of how the original structure was assembled so you have a reference when it’s time to put it back together. These could be written directions, or you can take photos at every stage of the deconstruction.
This method is the preferred solution if you’re transporting the blind outside hunting season, so you’re not concerned about spooking local deer and other game animals. Naturally, you won’t be able to do this alone; you should bring skilled friends to help you, hasten the process and reduce the risk of accidents and injuries. If you can time it right, it’s certainly possible to disassemble and reassemble your blind while the hunting season is in progress. However, keep your trip as short as possible and be mindful of the time of day and local deer activity.
This solution is ideal for ground blinds without elevators. Many hunters transport their ground blinds using a trailer, typically home-modified to adapt to the local terrain. These trailers are then hitched to the back of a truck, an offroad car or even an ATV. Dedicated trailers are an excellent way to quickly remove your blinds because you don’t need to disassemble them first. All you need to do is lift them off the ground and place them on the trailer, typically on their side, to keep the center of gravity as low as possible.
Naturally, the bigger and heavier your blind, the more challenging this method becomes. You may need to use additional measures to secure the blind to the trailer if it isn’t a square structure (e.g., octagonal blinds). But when done correctly, the trailer method allows you to get to the location, set the blind on a trailer, drive to the new spot and install the blind again within a few hours, well within daytime lulls during a hunting season.Shadow Hunter Marksman 6x6 Archery: The Perfect Octagon Blind for Bow Hunters
If you need to move your blind over a relatively short distance, using a trailer or fully disassembling and reassembling it may seem like a lot of effort for such a small change. This type of situation is where blind sleds are helpful. Blind sleds are wood or metal structures equipped with bars shaped like ski sleds, intended to serve as the blind’s feet, making it stand a few feet off the ground. They also typically possess tow hooks to hitch it to a vehicle (such as an ATV or a truck) and simply drive to another location, dragging the blind to the new desired spot.
Blind sleds can be purchased, although many are DIY projects made from standard lumber. Some elevated blinds may even possess support structures with sleds instead of standard feet and anchors, making them ready to move at a moment’s notice. This method is highly convenient if you frequently need to relocate your blinds over short distances, but only as long as the terrain is sufficiently flat and obstacle-free. However, long traveling distances, uneven terrain, and ground obstacles can obstruct the sled, slowing you down significantly. In the worst-case scenario, they may cause your blind to tip over to the side and fall. So, if you’re going to try the blind sled method, drive slowly, plan your route, remove any obstacles on the way and remain abundantly careful.
When hunting on private land, you may have access to certain types of heavy farm or construction equipment, such as a front-end loader or a similarly equipped tractor. These machines can be an excellent alternative to the methods described above for many reasons. With this method, you can use the loader’s bucket to grab and lift the entirety of the blind off the ground. You can then drive to the desired location and simply set it back down; no disassembly or trailer hitching is required, and you don’t need to worry about ground obstacles like with sleds.
However, this method is not without its disadvantages. One of the most significant is visibility; the blind will likely block your frontal visibility entirely while sitting in the loader’s bucket. Consider bringing a buddy to act as your spotter and always drive very slowly and carefully to the target location. Although tractors are, in theory, allowed on public roads, they are slow-moving vehicles (typically no faster than 25 mph) that can significantly disrupt traffic, and they may only use public roads to travel between farms. It’s unlikely that local law enforcement will let you use a tractor to drive to your local public hunting lands for the sole purpose of moving a few hunting blinds. So, when in doubt, avoid this transportation option.
Blind storage is almost as critical as proper blind placement. Your storage methods and habits are effectively part of your blind’s maintenance routine; even with the best tools available, poorly stored blinds will never last as long as those in proper storage. Unless you are fortunate enough to own a large patch of private land on which to leave blinds year-round, you will eventually need to get them off the ground, pack up and store them until the next hunting season. Follow these tips and recommendations to ensure the removal and storage process remains hassle-free.
You should always give each blind a thorough inspection before storage to ensure nothing remains inside, such as forgotten clothes, hunting chairs, snacks, ammunition and other small items. Don’t forget to turn off and uninstall any equipment from the blind. Examples include heaters, air conditioning, ice chests, weapon holders, drawers, shelves and any devices storing or generating power (e.g., gas canisters, solar panels, capacitors or batteries).Shadow Hunter Blinds Elevator Brackets: The Essentials for All Elevated Blinds
If you have fitted your blind with a camouflage tarp, meshing or any other elements made of fabric, now is the time to remove them. Clean any fabric elements using scent-free detergents, and then store them in a cool, dry, scent-free environment so they don’t absorb other odors. That way, they will be ready to go for the next season. If you brushed in your blind, make sure to clean and remove the branches, leaves, bushes and other brush you used. If your blind possesses flooring, you should also clean out any dirt, mud, sand, leaves, pebbles or other debris you find inside.
Spot-clean the exterior elements (walls, doors, windows, roof) as you usually would throughout the season. The best way to remove any mud, dirt, bird droppings and other natural signs of wear you see is with warm water and a soft cloth. If you need it, you may bring a mild, unscented detergent to clean the more stubborn spots, but don’t use anything stronger. Your blind may absorb the pungent, chemical scents produced by regular detergents, causing the local deer population to detect them and avoid the area.
Dust the interior walls, and then clean them using a combination of warm water and mild, unscented detergent. Once you’re finished cleaning your blind, allow all parts of it to dry completely before moving to the next step. Failing to remove brush or cleaning a blind before sending it to storage may result in mold or rot forming, costing you your high-quality hunting blind. Save yourself time and money later by being thorough in your storage preparation now.
You should only start disassembling your ground blind after a thorough deep-cleaning and drying period. Every ground blind may have different instructions on correct disassembly and reassembly. Refer to your specific model’s instruction manual for guidance. When moving a blind in storage, you should always disassemble it and always use your truck’s bed or a trailer to transport the disassembled elements.
Although quality hunting blinds are designed to withstand exposure to the sun and the elements for months on end, you should always give each part of your blinds a once-over before placing them in storage. Check for signs of wear and tear, damage, cracks and other forms of degradation. If anything looks too worn out to be used again for the next season, you may want to order replacement parts while the problem is fresh in your mind.
Just because the hunting season is over doesn’t mean you can’t spend time preparing for the next; in fact, most serious hunters use the off-season to their advantage. Store all your hunting equipment (weapons, ammunition, clothing and blind and blind elements) in a dry and cool environment. Clean and maintain them regularly, minimizing the need to make last-minute adjustments when the next season comes around. Use the off-season to maintain, repair or add accessories to your blind and scout a new location for it when hunting season rolls around again.
At Shadow Hunter Blinds, we understand the needs of American hunters better than anyone else. To better meet these needs, all our ground blinds feature flooring, scent-resistant, multi-layered walls, silent windows and a flat underside mounted on pallets. These elements make our blinds easier and more convenient to use, maintain and transport than any other, improving your hunting experience. Shadow Hunter Blinds has over 25 years of experience building professional-grade hunting blinds, providing hunters across the United States with the superior build quality and long-term value that dedicated hunters seek. Our blinds are made with unrivaled innovation and craftsmanship, with features for comfort and convenience. Our products are proudly 100% made in the USA.