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Hunting on the ground

1777 Views 29 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  buktruk
Just wondered if anyone had any success this year hunting on the ground.

Did you use a blind and if so, what type?

Did you hunt on private or public land?

Just wondering with the pressure deer get on public land how effective they are and if so, what type was used.
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I took my second doe from the ground in a natural material ground blind. Shot her at abour 10 yards double lung. But I did use one of those fancy wheel bows. :)
This was on state land that gets alot of presure in SE mi. I did use hip boots and entered from the far side of the property through the stream and mud before light. I sat in the dark for an hour before first light and shot her an hour and a half after first light.
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Hey - cool Brandon - that's the type of thing I'm wondering about.

I took a 6pt. from a homemade groundblind on Oct.5th. The blind was a large fallen tree with a lot of brush grown around it. If you walked by it you would never know it was a blind. Some people like to pile brush so thick that it looks like a wigwam, but I feel that it sticks out too much that way. I use just enough brush to break up my outline and still look natural.
Last year I used a pop-up blind without brushing it in and the deer acted spooky around it. They work great for turkeys and I killed a nice tom from one last year, but for deer I would definitely brush them in.
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Thanks Jim - that's the kind of info I am looking for. We decided this past fall to spend a little more time this coming fall (Lord willing) hunting off the ground in the cutovers.

I see some of these monstrous pop-up deals and I wonder how deer react to them. Even though they have all the latest and greatest as far as camo patterns, I look at those things sometimes and wonder how deer could possibly not get spooky around them. Now that you say that, I know where we hunt on public land the deer probably wouldn't come within a mile of one them.

I'd like to be able to find a small enough blind that won't look like an ice shanty yet will provide at least some concealment after being brushed in a little bit. Something we can move easily and quickly from one spot to the next.

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When I hunt off the ground I often use a piece of the die-cut camo 'stuff' (I'm not sure what it is, but it isn't cloth that will rot). I spray it wet with scent killer and let it dry in the yard. It wads up into a small bundle, fits into a sack, and goes into a large fanny pack or day pack. I tied black nylon thread on it at the corners and along the top to tie it to limbs, brush, briars, whatever. I usually just put a limb or rocks along the bottom to hold it from flapping in a breeze. This piece is about 4' high and probably 10' or 12' long. I just hang some weeds in it or drape branches over it clear out behind it a little and I'm ready. VERY portable! The only concession I am now making to old age--the ONLY concession!!--is that I occasionally use a strap-on tree seat.

This year I did not kill a deer using this set up, but I did miss a nice doe...does that count?!

In the past I have killed deer using ground blinds that were natural material.

Off the ground is fun!

God bless, Arch.
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I think that Ground hunting is absolutely the greatest challenge. I use settups much like Jim's, natural deadfalls, that are already there most of the year..the deer are use to it, and with just a little trimming here and there, and a good wind direction for the spot,they never know you're there. On my own property, I have even cut down an oak or two in the spring time, and let the deer get use to it all year. I took my best buck ever off the ground several years ago, in this type of set-up. They've worked well for me....and you don't have far to fall, should you slip or something:D
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Thanks for the replies ... seems like most like the natural stuff.

Gonna be a LOT time spent in spring scouting this year. :p

I've seen that burlap material Arch and I wondered about the odor. I know that Greenhead Gear sells a die cut fabric that is almost "vinyl-ish" or "nylon-ish" in texture and that Forest Floor pattern is amazingly like that of a Northern MI oak forest floor. Here's a link ..


I might look a little bit into how I would suspend something like this if I bought a few yards and then "brush it in" a little bit ...

Thanks for the responses.

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I started to so a lot more ground hunting this year, and really enjoyed it. I made several makeshift blinds around the property with sticks, branches and deadfall material, and carry a small stool to sit on that sits low to the ground. I had 7-8 deer inside 10 yds. Some busted me, some wandered in without offeringa good shot, but it was exciting. I did kill my doe out of a ladder stand, but my most memorable hunt was a 6pt that almost walked into my blind with me. He stopped at 9 feet, and the only time he was broadsie was when he was so close I couldnt draw or he would have seen me. I just neede him to turn his head for an instant and I'd have killed him, but none the less, it was my most exciting day out. I think I hunted 70% of the time on the ground this year. Ihadn't practiced shooting from a tree as much as I would have liked, so I was content to ground hunt.

I have a Lucky's portable blind, but the deer get too spooky around the tent someone put up in their living room. It works great for gun season and turkeys, but deer are hard to bowhunt out of it.

I like to use natural material in makig a blind, usually using part of a downed tree or other natural backdrop to break up my outline.
I dont like to wear a face mask, I pefer the camo make up to take the shine off my face. That 6 pt never knew i was there.

You can bet next year I'll be on the ground more. Its kinda nice not having to carry safety belts and climb in the dark. I can slip i, sit down and be ready to go in a minute, instead of climbing, hauling up my stuff, hangin the other stuff out of the way, etc.
the one thing i really liked is not havingto hunt for the perfect tree, rather just a good spot. my beest spots were the ones where ai had a lot of brush etc behind be to break up my outline.

I had one that I got busted in too many times, and loking back at it I need to pile up some more stuff behind the blind. Next year!
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Thanks for the post AA.

When you said you spend a lot of time looking for the "perfect tree" as opposed to the "perfect spot", that really sums up a lot of the situations we find ourselves in up there where we hunt.

We have a ton of cutovers and huge tag alder and cattail swamps we hunt the edges of because of the trees that are available. Sometimes it would be nice to penetrate both those cutovers and swamps just a little bit as the trails really fan out and grow faint as soon as they hit the oak ridges and flats. It gets to be a little hit or miss sometimes. The last 10 years or so with the kids, we've always felt their "odds" were a little better in trees so that's what we've concentrated on.

After doing a little December scouting and hunting with very little snow to alter what transpired prior to gun season, it appears we could maybe do a little more by at least leaving open the option of hunting on the ground.

Thanks for the informative posts. It appears as though we lost a few posts in both the "favorite animal to hunt" thread and this one as well over the weekend so I'll once more post a link to Cabelas where I found they sell the die cut material I think Arch is referring to ... This stuff is great.


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I hunt the ground more and more every year. This year was almost 70% of the time. I hunt public that gets hunted hard.

For me to do it though every thiing has to be done right. There has to be a good steady wind and I have to be wearing camo head to toe. Also back ground cover is most importent to me and being in the shade is good to. Although its nice taking a nap in the sun on some days. I woke up this year and had 5 deer feeding all around me and I couldnt move a muscle, becosue everything had fallen asleep. ;) I also use once in awhile a piece of burlap that I hang with clothes pins and hang other naturel materiel on it.

I didnt get a deer with my bow this year but I did get an elk from the ground at 26 yards with a bow.

In my experience its about picking the best spot to ambush deer, if its a tree or the ground. Alot of the areas I hunt are either to thick with small trees, to open with trees with no cover, or once in awhile I find that perfect tree in the perfect spot. The deer I hunt on public land will bust you so fast if your hanging in a tree with out alot of cover.

This year I was at full draw on doe that was 10 yards away with her head behind a tree. Then a fawn came up just as I was about to release and ate off a branch of a bush from a clump of bushes I was hiding in. The fawn was only feet from me and then saw my finger move or smelt me and snorted and they all ran off. Nothing scarer than a fawn snorting in your ear, feet away! lol

You have to time drawing your bow when there head is behind a tree perfectly and the does seem to bust me way more often than the bucks.

It has brought more joy especially since I hunt public land. I wont leave a stand up and the deer are constantly changing there patetrns to move around the hunters. On the ground I can hunt a spot a few times and move on with out thinking I have alot of time invested in it. I think I can be quiter too when sneaking in and setting up.

The first deer I shot with a bow was from the ground. He was a 4point that fed around me for 1/2 hour before he gave a good shot. It was good to becouse I was shaking so bad at first I would have never made the shot.

The deer sure look bigger too when your on the ground and there 10 yards away. :)
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Those were great tips Chuck, especially from someone who hunts in the same conditions I do - public land that gets pounded. And that's the same situation we find ourselves in ... the deer are constantly on the move.

I think I'm gonna try the piece of camo material with clothespins and so on that a couple of you have suggested. We'll probably do more spring scouting and we'll be thinking more in terms of hunting off the ground this year than what we have in the past.

Great tips and ideas here you guys - THANKS;)

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I take about 1/2 my deer from the ground. Too many people get so used to tree hunting, that they are missing a great hunting option. Most of my ground hunting is done along fencerows, corn fields areas that are bare of trees. I always set up natural blinds, that allow me a quartering away shot. This keeps me from being spotted whan I draw. I like to set up a couple shooting lanes and sit on a swivel stool. As long as you remain still, you are hidden better than if you were in a tree. But, you must have good background cover. I often dig a shallow pit about 2 feet deep. I can sit on the ground and put my feet inside. This lowers my profile, in areas with short background cover.

Hunting out of portable blinds, doesn't work to well for deer. For starters, they will be alerted by the dark window openings. Shoot through screens help. You need to place it back in good cover. Much better for turkeys!
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Thanks Scott - yeah, the old "pit blinds". We used to use those a long time ago in cutovers and they worked great. I didn't realize you shot so many deer off the ground. Thanks for the tips.

I do about 95% of my hunting off the ground, and for many reasons.

Number one, I like to hunt different spots all of the time. Most of the time I don't know where I'm going to sit until I get in the woods and find it.

Number two, I have a hard time sitting still in a tree stand that long. For some reason I find it (setting still) much easier sitting on the ground.

Number three, years ago I got tired of guys "taking/using my spot". Now that I don't have a "spot", I don'have that worry.

Number four and most important, I hunt with my kids a lot and the ground is much safer and easier. Final note, my tree stands have not left my garage in a few years.

Now telling you all this, if anybody wants easy instructions on how to build a great seat for ground hunting using a bike seat, let me know.. Its quite, light and very comfortable...
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This year I am going to make or buy a ghillie suit and try it. This last fall I was walking along a cornfield going back to my stand and I was startled to someone whisper."Hey Jim!". I stopped and looked around and couldn't see anyone. Then a friend of mine stepped out of the corn to talk to me. Even as he was comming out of the corn I still had a hard time seeing him until he took his shaggie hood off! I think it would be the perfect companion for a ground hunter.;)
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Don't buy a suit, make one. Get some fish net and a few burlap bags from the local grainery. Cheap and easy.
Hey Dan ... that seat is something I'd be interested in learning how to make ... is it something you can post here? Otherwise could you e-mail me the plans?

Building the seat is easy. Get a post and seat off an old bike and cut it so the whole thing is about 16-18 inches long including the seat. At 6-8 inches from the bottom of the post, weld or clamp disk of 6 inch diameter. This will keep it from sinking into the ground. Of course there will need to be a hole in the disk slightly larger than the seat post. You now can add a strap or rope for carrying it. This seat has been a good companion for years.

This seat is just high enough to keep the weight off your knees, which always makes my legs go to sleep. It also makes it easy to rise to your knees to get a shot off and swivels quietly.

In making the suit, I formed mine like a poncho, cutting the burlap into strips and trying them onto the fish net. After making the hood,(also of fish net) I tied it onto the poncho using fishing line. I then hung it up and sprayed it with a few colors of paint. After it hung outside for a bit, the smell was gone and it weathered nicely..
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