Outdoor Journal: Ground blinds are worth considering

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By L. Woodrow Ross, Contributing Columnist:

Tree stands are still widely used by deer hunters, but ground blinds are increasingly becoming a valid option for hunters.

Foothills Outdoor Journal with L. Woodrow Ross

Before the development of camouflaged ground blinds, most ground hunters would merely hide behind brush or construct a brushy blind to break their outline. Human scent could filter through the air and alert approaching deer, and the brush did not always screen the human form adequately.

But the availability of good "pop-up" blinds is causing many hunters to reconsider hunting from the ground. Among the reasons for the growing popularity: canvas construction contains scent better than being in a natural brush blind; some blinds have "shoot through" mesh windows that prevent deer or turkeys from being able to see into the blind; and the fact that ground blinds are safer – the hunter is not in danger of falling from an elevated position.

I have hunted from tree stands successfully for years with gun and longbow, but it's time to think about trying a ground blind. There are a few things that will enhance the use of a ground blind, including:

• Use brush to break up outline of blind.

• When possible, set the blind up ahead of time to allow animals to be accustomed to it. Take wind direction into account when selecting a location.

• Be sure shooting lanes are clear. Visibility is important. Orient blind windows so that prevalent game trails are easily visible.

• Spray blind with scent neutralizer. Use evergreen boughs to add pine scent if pines are in area.

A friend recently sent a text and photo that provided a look at the successful use of ground blinds. Daniel Cathey of Anderson, S.C., sent a picture of his 15-year-old son, Rivers, with a 178-pound, 8-point whitetail buck that he took during the bow season opener. (Pictured above.)

Rivers had broken his foot in a recent soccer match and was extremely disappointed that he wouldn't be able to hunt from a tree stand with his compound bow. Opting to hunt from a ground blind, Rivers harvested the nice buck while it was munching white oak acorns on a ridge.

Even at his early age, Rivers is a highly skilled archer and deer hunter. In 2012, he killed a large buck that made the South Carolina state record book and the Pope and Young record book. In addition, he's been successful in tournament archery. His involvement in team sports, hunting, fishing and other school activities has limited his time to participate in tournaments, but based on his average score in five upstate tournaments, he was named Upstate Regional Champion in his age group. He also was recently signed as a pro staffer for a new line of bows (Prime Bows).

Rivers' success is indicative of the possibilities of hunting from ground blinds something definitely worth considering.

Related:

Ross to lead one-day primitive, survival skill seminar in Travelers Rest

Read more in L. Woodrow Ross' "Outdoor Journal" series on the Tribune here.

Learn more about L. Woodrow Ross on his website here and/or follow him on Twitter here.

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L. Woodrow Ross is a freelance writer/photographer and writes a weekly outdoor column as well as lifestyle features for the Anderson Independent Mail. In addition, he is a frequent contributor to South Carolina Sportsman and has been published in Primitive Archer, South Carolina Wildlife and the Travelers Rest Tribune.

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