An alternative to tree stands is ground blinds. There are several reasons for using a ground blind, including fear of heights, the lack of large trees in your hunting area, and the mobility that a ground blind provides.
There are a lot of quality store bought ground blinds available for purchase. Most of these fit into a compact pack for carrying and “pop up” with minimal effort. Many of these pop-up hunting blind are large enough to accommodate a bowhunter’s draw and shot, but you should sit in one in a store showroom before you decide to buy one.
The blind shown on the left being taken down is The Penthouse blind by Ameristep. It literally does pop up in seconds, almost by itself. Taking it down takes a little more effort, but with a little practice if folds down within a minute. The Penthouse is not only big enough to draw a bow in, but you could store your ATV or use one for a “deer camp”. Although visibility of shooting lanes is reduced, it seems like the best bet is to close the windows down to the minimum size to get a shot out. With the windows open further and deer at close range, they often detect movement inside before a shot can be fired. Rifle hunters can probably get away with more window space open.
Some of these blinds such as the Penthouse come with their own fold down seat. It is best to try shooting from the seat before going into the field to make sure that it is the right height.
These blinds really shine when hunting some of the thick jack pine stands found in northern Michigan. Often these are great bedding/holding areas for deer but offer few trees to place a treestand in. Clear-cut areas which has some new growth but no tall trees are another area for use. Because of their ability to conceal, they are a great way to introduce kids to hunting, while keeping them on the ground.
Perhaps the most important feature of these blinds is their mobility. You could move between several promising deer trails in a day or even a hunting session.
New blinds keep coming on the market every season. There is a new one out this year which allows you to shoot your bow through an opaque screen which you can have on all four sides. Be sure to check out your favorite retailer or catalog before you buy to see what’s out there.
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