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Should I Leave My Hunting Blind Open? | What You Should Know

Pop Up Ground Blind Tent Near a Field
Photo courtesy of Tina Shaw/USFWS

Ground blinds come in all shapes and sizes, but if you have one like mine, it’s basically a tent with a camo finish. This means it can be opened and closed, both the entryway and the shooting slits. This seemingly simple fact creates big questions for hunters who pay attention to detail. Both while hunting and not, do you leave these flaps open, or seal the blind up tight?

While hunting, you should keep the blind as closed as possible, only allowing a small opening to shoot through. If you’re leaving the blind up, I still say you should leave it as closed as possible, but this is a somewhat controversial opinion.

First, I’ll explain why you should always close the blind when hunting. Then I’ll discuss the argument over opening the blind while unoccupied.

A Closed Blind Blocks Your Scent

When talking about the senses a deer uses to detect predators, scent is by far the one that requires the most care from hunters. It’s arguably their strongest sense yet our weakest. This makes it difficult to know if you’re giving off odors that a deer can pick up.

One of the biggest benefits of a ground blind is that it contains your scent, so opening it up will ruin this advantage. You should always keep the entry flaps of your blind closed.

You have a bit more flexibility with the shooting slits. Ideally, you should leave the flaps open but the mesh closed until you see your quarry, then slowly push your rifle barrel or arrow through the mesh. 

However, depending on the design, you may not have mesh, or it may make a lot of noise or take a lot of movement to open the shooting slits. In my opinion, this is a bad blind. But if it’s all you have, you can leave them open while waiting. Just keep movement to a minimum.

Leaving the Blind Unoccupied: Open or Closed?

There is some debate in the hunting community as to whether you should leave your blind open or closed if you leave it set up while not hunting it. This is because there are benefits of both.

Leaving the blind open airs it out. The odors of the woods permeate it so that, to the deer’s nose, the blind is just another part of the landscape.

However, this creates a problem for the deer’s eyes. If passing deer see the blind with the flaps all open day after day, they’ll be suspicious if they come across it one day and it’s all closed up. Deer vision is primarily based on recognizing patterns, and disruption to patterns spooks them.

I know I spent the last section talking about how much more powerful a deer’s nose is than its eyes, but in this case, I actually consider visual consistency more important than airing out the blind. Why? If you’ve followed my advice in other articles about setting up your blind and eliminating its scent, the smell of the blind is irrelevant compared to your smell. 

In other words, on the day of the hunt, your human scent is more likely to spook the deer than any marginal residual odor you didn’t air out of the blind. Keep your blind in the same state whether you’re in it or not—ie, closed—to avoid visually spooking your quarry.