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Take a Stand for Success

“Shooting houses” were born in the South where hunters waited in a small enclosed blind that helped deal with bugs and bad weather.  Primarily a rifle hunting strategy, hunters could sit with greater comfort and avoid creepy crawling things that made hunting unsavory.  Today, that concept has been elevated, literally, and many hunters now hunt from an enclosed structure from five to ten feet above the ground.  If youngsters or senior citizens are among your hunting group, box blinds are particularly suited to them.

Benefits of Box Blinds

Box blinds come in many configurations, but most have a roof, a door, and many are enclosed.  A blind with a door and windows has great insulating power and is ideal for hunting in windy or cold weather.  A small portable heater will allow you to hunt in relative comfort and spend the entire day if needed.  Most hunters embrace the comfort of a box blind which includes a chair with pads and a small table for coffee cups and sandwiches.  If you hunt with a youngster or two, the hunt quickly morphs into a picnic.  Tinted windows are a popular option so that you can see deer but they cannot see you.  Enclosed blinds are also more scent-containing than an open tree stand.


Box Blind Downsides

A square or circular structure on stilts will spook deer for a week or two, however, deer soon become accustomed to them and even roaming bucks will not be alarmed as they see does and fawns near the stand acting normally.  The cost will be a factor since purchasing a commercial blind or building one will cost between $1,000 and $3,000.  That may seem like a huge sum, but the blind should last at least 10 years and you can get great enjoyment from one.  Finally, some box blinds are stationary while others can be taken down and erected in a new location.  I had a porch built on my blind so that I had the option of sitting inside or in the open.

Ideal for Families

My daughter has three sons who love to hunt and my box blind is the perfect “school house” to help them become proficient hunters.  One has serious pulmonary issues and sitting in an open stand during the rut is a major health concern.  The enclosure helps keeps temperatures in the moderate range.  Also, youngsters need a lot of coaching in the early years about safety, deer behaviors, and especially guidance at the moment of truth.  The youngest grandson hops out of bed but only lasts an hour in the stand until he curls up for a nap.  All good.  An enclosed blind allows kids to be kids and keeps the fun front and center.

Ladder Stands- A Huge Step in Safety.

I grew up in the era of the Baker Tree Stand, a near postage stamp size platform that attached to one’s feet and progressed up the tree as the hunter hugged the trunk for support and raised his legs.  We were all crazy to hunt this way and many hunters fell and some were killed.  Today, I’m a great proponent of ladder stands that allow a hunter to sit in relative comfort with a full view of the deer woods.  Since shooting from the sitting position adds stability, they are ideal for crossbow hunters and allow a steady shot with little movement.


How High is High Enough-

Where you position your stand has much to do with its “detectability.”  My box blind is built on the crest of a steep slope so that I’m well above any deer moving below me.  On the high side, the 10-foot elevation places the blind above the browse line so that it’s unnoticeable even by human eyes during the approach.  I have two ladder stands for my grandchildren and each is only 10 feet high.  Both stands came with three ladder segments, but I only used two.  The height of the stand isn’t as important as the background concealment.  The stand shown above is placed in the fork of a mature oak tree atop an open ridge.  Despite the relatively low height, I’m all but invisible and even my squirmy youngsters have taken two deer from it.

To Cock or Not to Cock?

Most morning deer hunts begin in the dark which prompts the question, “Should I cock my bow in the stand or prior to climbing?”  This is a matter of personal choice, but I prefer to cock my bow wherever I have good light so that I know the bow is properly cocked.  If you cock it before climbing, make sure the bow is on safe, use a pull-up rope, and raise and lower the bow with the stock facing you.  Also, maintain a consistent cocking procedure.  If you usually cock your bow while standing, do so.  Once you are safely in your stand with your safety harness attached, pull up the bow, and load an arrow.  Believe it or not, deer season is less than a month away in many states.  Now is the time to make tree-stand decisions so that deer become acclimated to a stand’s sudden appearance.  Be safe and good luck.


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