A ground blind is basically a tent made for hunting, with a camo design and slits you can open for shooting. While this may seem simple, the ground blind has become one of the most used hunting methods along with tree stands. Simply put, it’s because they’re effective and increase your chances of harvesting a deer or other quarry.
Despite primarily being a stand hunter, ground blinds won me over several years ago due to their unique features. Now, I regularly incorporate a ground blind into my deer hunting, and for more reasons than one. Here they are.
1. They Completely Hide You
The ground blind is the hunting method that most conceals you. You are completely hidden on all sides, and even above you. A game animal might spot the blind itself, but it’s impossible for them to see you. You’re basically indoors.
Additionally, many ground blinds are decorated with camouflage. This keeps the blind itself concealed and blends into your particular environment.
2. They’re Comfortable and Spacious
A ground blind isn’t exactly a mansion, but compared to a tree stand, it’s pretty roomy. My simple blind I just bought online is about five feet on either side and a bit over five feet tall. I’m 6’3″, so I can’t quite stand up, but there’s plenty of space to sit in a lawn chair and stretch out, something I can’t do in even the biggest tree stands.
The extra space makes the ground blind more comfortable and more suitable for gear, especially archery equipment. Sometimes, I even bring a cooler with food and drinks.
Similarly, you can endure longer hunts. If I want to pull an all-dayer, I often take my ground blind.
3. They Protect You From the Elements
A ground blind is basically a tent. Although it’s not exactly a permanent home, it does keep the rain off you and blocks the biting cold winds of the Midwest in November. In fact, while a stand hunt can start getting pretty miserable during a fall rain, I find sitting in a ground blind with the light pitter-patter on the roof peaceful and conducive for connecting with nature.
4. You Can Set Them Up Almost Anywhere
Anywhere might be a stretch, but you can use a ground blind in many places where you can’t use a tree stand. Specifically, places without trees, or at least without tall, thick trees. This makes a ground blind a great option if you’re hunting in a new area you’re unfamiliar with or want to hunt multiple locations over the season.
5. They’re Safe to Use
I believe tree stands are very safe if you use them correctly with the appropriate safety precautions. However, it is true that there are several thousand tree-stand accidents each year, most involving falls.
You can’t fall out of a ground blind, though. Plus, they’re simpler to use and don’t require various methods for scaling the tree. They have fewer joints and mechanical features, so they’re less likely to malfunction.
6. They Cloak Your Scent
Just like a ground prevents a game animal from seeing you, it helps prevent them from smelling you. The walls of the ground blind, especially if it’s a modern model with scent-control technology, don’t allow your scent particles to escape out into the open air, where the wind could carry them to the animal’s nose.
Of course, a ground blind isn’t vacuum-sealed. You still need to breathe, after all. Some amount of odor will always be able to escape, so you still need to take proper scent-control measures. Nevertheless, a ground blind is far better for scent control than open-air hunting methods.
7. Anyone Can Use Them
You can only use a tree stand if you are fit enough and able to climb the tree, not scared of heights, the right size to fit in the tree stand, etc. That leaves a lot of people who can’t use one:
- The elderly
- Big and tall people
- Those scared of heights
- Those with safety concerns
- The disabled
However, all these people can still use a ground blind. It’s at ground level. If you can use a tent, you can use a ground blind.
8. You Can Use Them in a Group
My favorite thing about ground blinds is that you can use them with other people. Yes, I enjoy the alone time to connect with nature in a tree stand, but sometimes I want to take advantage of hunting to bond with a friend or family member.
Depending on the size of the ground blind, you can often fit two, three, or even four or five people in one. No, you can’t talk and laugh loudly, but you can play cards, break bread, or just enjoy each other’s company while you wait for your quarry to appear.
9. They’re Easy to Move
Ground blinds are usually very lightweight. Mine only weighs around five pounds with all the fabric, stakes, and ropes, much lighter than the most compact of tree stands.
Plus, a ground blind folds down, so you can easily store it with your kit and carry it around to new locations. A tree stand, even if it’s lightweight, is quite bulky, which can mean banging and rustling around as you carry it to your hunting location, not to mention the hassle.
10. They’re Relatively Inexpensive
Ground blinds are cheaper than tree stands on average. That doesn’t mean there aren’t ground blinds out there over $1,000 or tree stands for under $100, but I’d say that you can still get a quality ground blind for around $100 while a tree stand of commensurate quality is going to run you about $300.
If you’re on a budget, I recommend starting with a ground blind.
After years of stand hunting, I’ve come to appreciate the versatility and effectiveness of ground blinds in bowhunting.
This table provides a concise overview of the benefits and features of using ground blinds:
|Concealment||Ground blinds offer complete visual concealment from all sides, including the top.|
|Comfort and Space||Spacious enough for sitting in a chair and stretching out, suitable for longer hunts and more gear.|
|Protection from Elements||Act as a shield against rain and wind, making hunting in adverse weather more comfortable.|
|Versatility||Can be set up in various terrains, including areas without suitable trees for stands.|
|Safety||Reduced risk of accidents compared to tree stands; no risk of falling.|
|Scent Control||Helps contain human scent, although not completely scent-proof.|
|Accessibility||Suitable for hunters of all physical abilities, including those who cannot climb into tree stands.|
|Group Use||Large enough to accommodate groups, enhancing the communal aspect of hunting.|
|Portability||Lightweight and easy to transport and relocate, offering flexibility in choosing hunting spots.|
|Cost||Generally more affordable than tree stands, making them a budget-friendly option for many hunters.|
Whether it’s the complete concealment they offer, the comfort and spaciousness for extended hunts, or their protection from harsh weather, ground blinds have proven to be an invaluable asset in my hunting toolkit. Their ability to be set up almost anywhere, coupled with their safety and scent-cloaking features, makes them a practical choice for hunters of all skill levels and physical abilities.
Moreover, they foster a communal hunting experience, allowing you to share the thrill with friends or family.
While they may not replace tree stands for everyone, ground blinds certainly offer a compelling alternative, especially for those seeking a safe, affordable, and flexible hunting method. As with any hunting technique, understanding and adapting to your environment and quarry is key, but in my experience, a well-placed ground blind can significantly elevate your hunting game.
Main photo courtesy of Tina Shaw/USFWS
Christian grew up in the Ozarks where he spent much of his childhood on his grandparents’ homestead learning about guns, hunting, and the great outdoors.
An avid traditional bowhunter, much of his writing covers this and other similar topics, but he also covers just about everything from history and economics to motorcycles.
See more of his work at ChristianMonson.com.