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How Long Does it Take Deer to Get Used to a Ground Blind?

Pop-Up-Ground-Blind-Tent and Tree Stand Montage

Imagine you open your front door one day and find a tent parked on your front lawn. It would probably freak you out. Well, I hate to break it to you, but no matter how cool the camo is on your ground blind, it will affect deer the same way. However, the good news is they’ll quickly get used to it.

It usually takes deer between two and six weeks to get used to a ground blind. Before that, they’ll avoid the area. It’s important to understand, though, that it’s a gradual process. Deer will slowly return to the area over this timeframe until they fully approach the blind with no apprehension.

Since I know hunters are always looking for the next trick to give them the edge, I can give you some tips to estimate better how long it will take in your particular situation. I’ll also fill you in on how to get them used to your blind faster. 

Why Deer Might Get Used to a Ground Blind Slower or Faster

Camo tent or hunting blind between the trees

Faster

Deer may take less than two weeks to get used to a ground blind in the following circumstances:

  • Heavily developed area: If you’re hunting near a dense human settlement with many man-made objects, mainly changing man-made objects and new construction, deer are less likely to pay any attention to a new ground blind. Think about how they spent the off-season. Did they see other human structures popping up?
  • Woods versus fields: Ground blinds are more conspicuous in fields. If you set one up in the woods, it won’t surprise the deer as much, especially if it’s well camouflaged.
  • Food sources: Deer will shrug off their fear faster if the ground blind is near an appealing food source such as corn or fruit. This is especially true in the late season when food is getting scarce.
  • Herd age: Young deer are more curious and impulsive and have less experience with hunters. If the ratio of your herd skews more towards young deer, a ground blind may change their behavior less.

Slower

On the other hand, certain factors may increase the time for the deer to get used to the ground blind considerably:

  • Strong odor: If your blind is new and smells heavily of manufacturing chemicals, this will startle the deer quite a bit. It will keep them away for a while, certainly until the scent dissipates.
  • Hunting pressure: Deer learn quickly if you share the area with many other hunters. As the season progresses, they’ll increasingly avoid anything remotely human, including a ground blind.

How to Get Deer Used to Your Ground Blind Faster

  • Eliminate the scent: Don’t set up a ground blind if it still smells like plastic or other unnatural materials. If your blind is new, air it out in your yard for several days before setting it up in the woods. If it’s collapsible, consider rubbing it down with dirt and fallen leaves or stuffing it in a box with brush and pine needles.
  • Visit your blind regularly: This might seem counterintuitive, but if you visit your blind daily for a week or so before your hunt without hunting, deer may get more used to it, especially if they come across humans regularly. 
  • Set up before the season: This strategy only works if you plan to bowhunt the early season. Set the blind up before the season officially starts, and the deer may think nothing of it since they’ve had a whole hunting-free summer. This is especially true for young deer.