If you’re an avid bowhunter, then you know that half of the job is keeping a low profile while you’re lining up your shot. This can be tough when you’re competing with things like the wind, rain, and sunlight, and one of the best solutions to all of these problems is to have a high-quality ground blind that functions as both shelter and camouflage. There are loads of ground blinds to choose from though, so we thought we’d walk you through exactly what ground blind is, how it works, what you should look for in one, and give you some suggestions as to what type of ground blind best suits your specific hunting application.
What Is a Ground Blind?
Even if you have never been hunting before, you’ve probably heard the word “blind” in passing whether it be from a TV show or something you overheard in a sporting goods store. Blinds aren’t complicated. Put simply, a blind is a temporary structure designed to conceal you in a given environment from potential prey.
They are usually colored in jungle camouflage or desert camouflage depending on where you find yourself hunting. They are typically collapsible and easy to transport, unlike elevated blinds that are basically the same thing only made out of wood and up on stilts. Is a ground blind better than an elevated blind? Not really, it all depends on the environment and the type of game you’re trying to hunt.
Back in the day, blinds had to be constructed and taken down every hunting season (unless they were deemed a permanent installation by gaming authorities). These days blinds resemble camping tents in their structure and form, allowing you to move your ground blind from one area to the next during your excursion.
Ground blinds these days even provide a one-way viewing experience, meaning that you can peer out at your surroundings but anyone (or anything) outside can’t see in. What’s more is that most decent quality ground blinds on the market are insulated too, so you won’t have to worry about shivering while you’re out looking for game.
Ground blinds are also available in different shapes and sizes depending on what you need. If you’re out on a family hunting trip you can purchase a blind designed for a party of 6, or if it’s just you and a good friend hunting you could opt for a more modestly sized one. If you’re worried about spooking your game, good-quality blinds have excellent sound insulation too!
Now you might be asking yourself how you get out of your blind without startling your game if they’re like tents. After all, tents have zips, and rips make a lot of noise, right? Well, most newer blinds have a zipless entry that tends to be super quiet, so you can slip in and out without your game or anyone around you noticing.
Different Types of Ground Blinds
Now you might be thinking that all blinds are the same, but the reality is that there are various types of blinds to choose from. All of them have been designed for specific applications and they all have their respective strengths and weaknesses. This being said, let’s have a look at a few of the blind types available to you.
If you’re not in the mood to hunt from a single spot you should consider getting yourself a portable blind. These are designed to move with you and be easy to set up when you find a good spot to line up your shot. They aren’t as sturdy as other blind types but they’re a great compromise if you don’t want to set up in one spot for the day and you aren’t particularly concerned with comfort.
Pop-up blinds are pretty much the same thing as portable blinds in their application, but they have the added advantage of being able to pop up and retract at a moment’s notice. This is especially useful if you’re tracking a small herd of prey and want to deploy your blind to set up your shots. This being said, they don’t provide as much protection as conventional portable blinds.
If you’ve ever seen a blind in a movie, then it’s likely been a duck blind. These blinds can be both permanent and portable, plus they look pretty cool. Duck blinds resemble little bunkers, so they typically have you squatting or sitting when you’re inside them. As the name suggests, these are usually used to hunt birds like geese, turkey, quale, chickens, and even doves!
Deer blinds aren’t a specific type of blind, even though you may find loads of them advertised as such. Theoretically, a deer blind should be medium to large in size and consist of conventional camouflage. They can be portable, permanent, tripod-based, boxed-based, and can even be found on stilts in larger forested areas.
You could hunt geese from a duck blind, but that’s not their intended purpose. Goose blinds look a lot like the sleeping bags you would use for camping, and are intended to allow you to get up close and personal with your prey. Geese are also typically airborne, which means that you have optimum stability (on your elbows) when shooting upward.
All of the blinds we mentioned so far can be purchased in-store or online. You could build your hunting blind on your own, with little materials too. All that you need is some netting, wooden board, string, scissors, and a few old sacks and you’re on your way! You can make anything from a pop-up blind to a box blind if you have some time, the tools, and some imagination.
The Best Ground Blinds for Bow Hunting
As we mentioned previously there are different types of blinds to choose from, but there are also various brands that you can choose from first. Since the most commonly purchased blind type is a ground blind, we’ll be looking at some of the best ground blinds money can buy and what makes them the best choice for all of your hunting needs.
Best Overall: RHINO Blinds 3-Person Hunting Ground Blind
If you’re looking for a blind that’s sure to see you through plenty of hunting seasons then we highly recommend trying out this three-person blind from the Rhino team. This blind has pretty much anything you could ask for from a blind of its size, ensuring that you have ample space and an unimpaired range of motion throughout the structure.
Not only does it offer you a 180-degree view, but you won’t have to undo any pesky zips when you finally lay eyes on your game. The blind is equipped with a shoot-through mesh which means that all you have to worry about when you finally find your target is carefully lining it up and taking the shot. You don’t have to enjoy your hunting trip alone either since this ground blind sports a three-person capacity, so feel free to invite two lucky friends or family members along with you.
If you think this blind is all show and no go, you’d be mistaken. The three-person blind from the Rhino team is extremely durable, featuring a five-core design capable of taking all the abuse you can throw at it, provided that you don’t treat it like a solid blind. The corners are triple stitched, and the main surfaces have all been reinforced to ensure that you have the sturdiest blind possible regardless of weather conditions.
Best Performance: RHINO Blinds Three-Person See-Through Hunting Ground Blind
Another great entry from the Rhino blinds team is the three-person see-through blind! If you thought the previous blind was cool, this one raises the bar considerably in terms of functionality and convenience. One of the things that make most blinds challenging to use is the fact that clips need to be moved around and Velcro needs to be undone in order to really see anything.
You don’t need to unclip or undo anything to improve your view with this blind. Thanks to the Rhino team you now have a blind that allows you to see outside your while ensuring that anyone or anything outside of it is completely unaware that you’re inside! This one-way viewing feature is awesome and really does give you a feeling of omnipotence, making you the ultimate game hunter!
This is arguably the best ground blind for bowhunting as it ensures that you have all the cover you need without potentially compromising it to line up your shot. This technology isn’t as common as one might imagine, and we think that this one from the Rhino team is reasonably priced considering that it sports the same impressive structural integrity as the blind we mentioned previously.
- Fits 3 people, 66" tall, 75" x 75" hub to hub, 58" x 58" footprint
- 270 degrees of "silent slide" adjustable windows and silent oversized zipper
- All required tie down stakes, brush loops, and ropes included
Best Value: TANGKULA Three-Person Pop-Up Ground Blind
Considering all of the features of the blinds we mentioned previously, one could argue that this isn’t the best ground blind for bowhunting. However, this ground blind from the Tangkula brand offers similar features at far better value for money compared to some of the Rhino products above. What seems to be the party piece of this blind is the fact that it pops up into place, and all you need to do is pull five points to get it up and running!
This blind is capable of housing three people at a time and provides you with a 180-degree view of your surroundings through two retractable windows situated on either side of the structure. This particular unit is only available in jungle camouflage, but the textures are suitable for most moderate to dense forest environments.
This blind also offers safe and silent locking mechanisms which are sure to make you and anyone else you bring along on your next trip feel safe and in total control of your immediate hunting environment. The structure itself is quite rigid and is capable of withstanding quite a bit of punishment from things like wind and rain.
The quality of this blind doesn’t exactly jump out at you, but for a blind in its price range, you could do a lot worse for a lot more money. All surfaces are water-resistant, the stitching is pretty good, it has more than enough space on the inside, and it comes with a carry-on storage bag as standard! This gives you incredible bang for your buck, no pun intended.
What Should You Look for in a Bowhunting Ground Blind?
Having all of these options available to you might have you asking what you should be looking for in a bowhunting ground blind. This is why we have prepared a short list of ground blind characteristics that might benefit you when bow hunting, so let’s have a look and see what they are and why they’ll help you out a ton in the field.
Consider the Type of Blind
This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people purchase a blind that isn’t conducive to their hunting needs. To choose the right type of blind you should consider what your hunting style is and what position you will be spending most of your time in. Will you be tracking a herd? Will you be waiting on your prey to come to you? Is it somewhere in between?
If you’re going to be moving around a lot, you should consider where you’re going to store your blind and how efficient you will be at deploying it once you lay eyes on your target. If you’re going to be hunkered down and waiting on your game for a while, you might as well get comfortable in a structure capable of protecting you from the wind, run, sunshine, and/or snow.
This is where solid structured and more rigid blinds come into play. If you’re going to be running around and need to deploy your blind at a moment’s notice, then you should probably opt for a pop-up blind. These (as the name suggests) usually deploy by pulling on a few points which expand and stiffen the blind, then all you need to do is pop it down and get inside and/or behind it.
Does Size Matter?
Unfortunately, no matter what mental gymnastics you use to work around it, size matters. Although, just as much as size matters, size is also relative. What this means is that you should be realistic about the size of the blind you’re using in relation to the size of your hunting party, yourself, and your gear. If you’re a bigger person, don’t cheap out and buy and blind that will inevitably cause you years of back pain.
The inverse is true too, if you’re a smaller person who hunts alone, buying a huge, sturdy portable blind is overkill, and you’re likely to spend more time deploying and deconstructing it than you will actually be hunting. In this scenario, you’d be better off using a popup blind for bowhunting instead and maybe traveling lighter with a single hunting companion.
Does the Design Fit Your needs?
Just like you should consider the size of your blind you should consider the amenities it offers. The design of your blind, which refers to the shape, accessibility, and range of motion it offers you, can make or break your hunting experience. What should you consider in terms of the design of your pop-up blind for bow hunting then?
Well, one of the first things you should consider is how accessible your line of sight and fire are. Your blind’s shape and locations for firing your bow (or firearm) should be convenient and unobscured, so if you’re buying one from a store, be sure to actually get inside a show model and get a good feel for space. Also, if you’re buying a popup blind ask a store assistant if you can have a go deploying and retracting one on your own (be careful not to break them!)
You should also consider things like sound insulation, whether the blind offers a one-way viewing experience, and if the camouflage (if any) fits into your intended hunting environment. Other things like zipless entry, heat insulation, ventilation, and overall structural integrity in relation to your hunting environments are all good factors to take into account when choosing a popup blind for bowhunting.
Is the Blind Durable?
If you’re hunting in adverse conditions, then the best ground blind for bowhunting is one capable of protecting you from the elements. This doesn’t just mean insulation, but the blind’s ability to dispel things like snow, wind, rain, and even harsh sunlight. This being said, the elements can affect your ability to fire your bow, which means you could miss your game, which is probably going to make you pretty upset. This is why it’s best to check the tolerances of your blind before you hit that buy button.
Which Fabric Is Most Durable?
As you can probably imagine, ground blinds need to be made of tough stuff. Most of them are made out of variations of polyester and other synthetic materials that are capable of bending, folding, and expanding without compromising their structural integrity. These materials are used not only because they’re super tough, but because they provide many other useful properties.
Polyester and cotton duck both have decent surface friction when in contact with the earth, so if your blind has flooring material (some don’t). This ensures that it won’t slide or move suddenly if it isn’t on a surface that isn’t completely flat. These materials are also pretty good at getting rid of water and things like leaves and other debris that could end up on top of your blind.
These materials are great for insulation too, but they aren’t the only materials used to make blinds, and many manufacturers are experimenting with even more effective materials for temporary shelters. This research isn’t limited to blinds either, both tents and more permanent material structures will also benefit if the research proves fruitful.
Is Buying a Ground Blind for Bowhunting Worth It?
This is a difficult question to answer. Blinds are designed for a particular hunting style, which is basically waiting for your game to come to you, or setting up shop where your prey is likely to be such as near a food source, water source, or mating spot. Loads of people do this and have great luck implementing blinds to get their game, but it isn’t for everyone.
Endurance hunting doesn’t require a blind, or if you simply enjoy the challenge of using your environment to camouflage yourself and your gear, a blind wouldn’t be much use to you. All of this being said, a blind could or could not suit your personal preference, but there’s no denying that hunting blinds have come a long way in terms of protection, insulation, camouflage, convenience, and storage.
Now that you know what a hunting blind is, what features modern blinds offer, what some of the best ground blinds for bow hunting are, and what you should consider should you find yourself in the market for a ground blind, it’s time for you to get out there and out your newfound knowledge to the test. Remember to consider the size of your hunting party, the dimensions of your body, the type of environment you’ll be hunting in, and what your line of sight will be before making your purchase.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is a Disadvantage of Using a Ground Blind?
Ground blinds might seem like an overall good idea but there are characteristics that make them less than ideal in some instances. A good example is how your range of motion and field of view is limited, not to mention that your scent is concentrated which makes you easily identifiable to certain game.
How Effective Are Ground Blinds?
Large ground blinds allow you to move around more in a given space with a reduced probability of being detected. They also allow you to adjust your aim and vantage point without your game being alerted by every incremental movement you make.
Does a Ground Blind Help With Scent?
There are two ways to look at ground blinds when considering your scent. The first is to consider that the wind doesn’t have complete access to the area inside your blind, which reduces its ability to spread your scent in the direction of your prey. The other is that this concentrated scent can be spread and identified pretty easily by your prey if your blind is in the direct path of the wind blowing in that direction.
What Is the Best Bowhunting Ground Blind?
Unlike hunting with a firearm, bowhunting requires a lot more calibration and preparation when lining up a shot. Some blinds can restrict your mobility and field of view as they are designed with rifle hunting in mind, so what is the best bowhunting ground blind? Well, arguably the best type of blind for bowhunting is an open top popup blind for bowhunting. Using this type of popup blind for bowhunting ensures that the upper tip of your bow won’t knock against a blind “roof” and it can be deployed and retracted both quickly and easily.