By Tracy Breen
The smallest of the bunch, Ameristep's Jakehouse Blind is extremely portable and fits into the pocket of your turkey vest during transport.
Over the years, if I'd been hunting from a ground blind, I probably would have an extra fan on the wall and turkey dinner in the freezer. I was often unsuccessful due to the keen eye sight of the weary old gobbler. If you want to learn how to use a ground blind and the advantages they offer turkey hunters, keep reading.
Whether you hunt with a gun or a bow, pop-up blinds are a great tool to use when hunting turkeys. For starters, blinds made today by companies such as Double Bull, Eastman Outfitters and Ameristep are designed with the turkey hunter in mind. Hub-style blinds are easy and quick to set up. They take only seconds to open, put into place and prepare for the hunter to slip inside. If you aren't crazy about lugging a twenty pound blind around with you into the woods, most manufacturers offer a sack that holds the blind, which has shoulder straps so you can haul it into the woods on your back. They also offer small, one-man blinds that weigh a fraction of the larger blinds and conceal one man enough to shoulder a gun or draw a bow without being seen. The smaller blind outlines are easily broken up so weary game won't suspect a thing.
Using a pop-up blind offers many advantages. For instance, it's never fun to sit out in the woods on a cool spring day while it is raining or drizzling. With a pop-up blind, you will most likely stay dry and will be able to hunt longer because you are not uncomfortable and damp. Being wet quickly shortens a day in the field. Pop-up blinds allow you to set up in places you previously wouldn't have been able to.
SCENTite Tent Chair Blind set up at the edge of a field.
In addition to open farm fields, blinds also work well set up on food plots that turkeys frequent. My favorite set up with a blind is hunting over a smaller plot and setting the blind in the middle of it. This allows me to turn and shoot in any direction; something that would not happen if I was sitting against a tree.
Hunting from a blind allows you to bring extra gear into the woods. Often if I am hunting from a blind, I plan on staying in the blind the majority of the day. When I hunt all day, bringing extra clothes, calls and food is easily done when hunting from the blind.
Blinds provide you with the ability to videotape your hunts without being seen. If there are two hunters in the blind, one can hunt and the other can film. Hand signals and whispering can occur so the hunter can tell his friend behind the camera where the birds are coming from or signal that he is going to take a shot. Some blinds even offer camera ports that are designed so that the camera lens can sit outside the blind. This allows the camera to capture an unobstructed view of the action. If you are hunting alone and want to tape our own hunt, Pine Ridge Archery is offering the Turkey Pod -- a handy tripod-like device that sticks into the ground and holds a video camera. This allows you to point the camera in the direction you believe the tom will be coming from and hunt. Hunters who want to capture their favorite hunting moments on film have discovered there is no better way to do it than from a pop-up blind.
Getting kids involved in the outdoors is becoming more difficult as television and video games take the center stage. Blinds give you the opportunity to take your kids into the woods with you and provide them with some wiggle room; kids do not have to sit still the entire time. I know kids who brought a coloring book or Bass Pro Shops' catalog with them to keep them occupied until it was time for action. Kids can even take a nap in the blind. Either way, being in the blind exposes them to the woods.
Double Bull Matrix 360 with the Surround Sight netting down.
Most blind companies offer shoot through windows that allow bowhunters the ability to keep the windows closed. The shoot through mesh is camouflage and allows little light in, keeping you concealed. Most companies offer blinds that allow 360-degree viewing, eliminating blind spots while hunting. Below are four blinds that are just the ticket for spring turkey hunting:
Double Bull Blinds, the innovator of the modern pop-up ground blind, is offering the Matrix Series this year. The Matrix 360 offers everything hunters would ever want in a turkey blind. It has easy access door openings, silent arrow ports for shooting, and a cleverly designed infinitely adjustable window system that allows hunters to shoot in 360 degrees and adjust the window openings up or down so if they want to see more or let a little more light in, they can.
Ameristep has the Brickhouse TSC. This blind is priced to sell and offers features like the Durashell and Shadowguard, which make a strong blind that help keep the hunter concealed. It has a hub style frame and nine zippered windows, giving hunters plenty of shooting options.
A relatively new blind to the hunting market is the Tent Chair Blind by SCENTite. This unique one-man blind is attached to a fold up chair. Simply sit down in the chair and flip the blind over the top of you. This feature instantly conceals you and provides you with a comfortable place to sit. The blind is small and compact and is easily transported.
Trading total concealment for ultimate portability, Jakehouse Blinds by Ameristep provide three-sided cover and feature 2-foot nylon panels with internal spring steel frames that quickly unfold for set-up and take down. One- and two-person models are available, both of which fold into a 10" x 2" pouch that you can easily stow in your turkey vest.
As you get your calls, turkey vest, and gun ready for turkey season, keep in mind that your most important piece of equipment might be a pop-up blind. The biggest obstacle you face is choosing a blind. With so many great options, going to Bass Pro Shops to choose a blind is like sending a kid into a candy store. Chances are you will be there for hours, and when you leave you will probably have a blind and a dozen other new gizmos. Regardless of the blind you choose, you will go home happy. Your spouse might not, but you will!