Winter is here. This is a time of year when the temperature gets cold and weather conditions often turn nasty. It’s also the season when many hunters venture out into the elements in pursuit of a variety of wildlife.
Hunting is both fun and challenging. A successful hunting season requires planning and preparation. That means getting your gear ready and getting in shape.
Hunting can also be an expensive pastime, causing many hunters to look for ways of saving money by any means necessary. This article takes a look at how to build a deer blind rather than spending big bucks at your local sporting goods retailer.
Keep reading to discover tips that will help you construct the ultimate deer stand on a budget.
What is Ground Blind ?
Gaining in popularity, hunting blinds or ground blinds as they are commonly called are easy to pack into the woods and they set up quickly and quietly. The nicest feature of any hunting blind is that it provides total concealment for the hunter. Hunting blinds allow you to hide in non-traditional hunting areas like hayfields, without being spotted by game.
Turkeyhunters have been utilizing makeshift hunting blinds for years. Concealing themselves in a blow down or pile of tree branches with their back against a tree provided the best concealment from the sharp eyes of a turkey. When you apply the strategy to deer hunting it means building a hunting blind from natural materials in the vicinity of deer travel routes. The answer fo course was a hunting blind that could be set up quickly and quietly and allow a hunter to move locations just as easily.
Today, many manufacturers make hunting blinds suited specifically for bowhunters. Some features to watch for include generous ceiling and window height, windows around the entire perimeter, quiet material and design, and a good camouflage pattern. I’ll go over each of these items in more detail below.
Ceiling and window height.
Many bowhunters that have never used a hunting blind immediately find they feel quite cramped. When the moment of truth arrives and they have to draw their bow, it becomes obvious that the heavy draw weight they liked on the practice range makes it nearly impossible to draw the bow straight back in the blind. A generous ceiling height allows that slightly elongated upward drawing motion so many archers need to get to full draw. If the ceiling is too low, the bow will strike the ceiling of the hunting blind and create movement and noise – probably spooking deer. The height of the windows is also very important. You will likely need a chair fo soem sort to be able to sit and clearly see from the windows. They are generally positioned too high up on the hunting blind. Check out a number of different makes as they are not always too high – or they offer a zipper that allows you to zip the window down lower if needed. If these options aren’t available be sure to practice shooting your bow from a chair. Another note on windows, be sure to leave yourself a backdrop inside the blind or deer will pick up your movement very easily. Unzip a window almost fully for the direction you think a shot will come, but leave the ones on the sides and in the rear almost completely closed to provide shading and a backdrop to your form moving inside.
You need to be able to see out of your hunting blind. Blinds made especially for archers will often have a shoot through type of window covering that allows an arrow to penetrate with no ill effects on the blind or arrow flight. If your blind simply has zip down windows, make sure they are very adjustable and positioned around the entire hunting blind. You will also want to make sure you have them adjusted so that at full draw you can shoot through the center of the window and not have to move your body up or down to get the arrow out the window on release – this will result in bad form and a botched shot.
Quiet material and design.
Many blinds today are made from a nylon material of some sort – more like the tents from 20 years ago than a state-of-the-art hunting blind. You can usually do a pretty good job of keeping your gear from dragging across the fabric and making noise, so it’s not a huge issue. However, if there is a floor in your blind or even a partial floor, be sure it is a quiet material or that it can be cut out with scissors, as your feet will almost certainly hit it at some time. The other noise maker on hunting blinds is the zippers and velcro fastenres used for the door and windows. I prefer velcro fasteners for one reason – you can cut the velcro off and use either shoelaces for ties, magnets or saftey pins or other quieter fasteners to hold things in place. Velcro and zippers are very noisy. I have seen some manufacturers begin to use magnetic closures which is a huge step forward, but it is not yet commonplace. Don’t be afraid to do some light reworking of your hunting blind to keep in quiet and useful in the deer woods.
Take Size Into Consideration
When you’re wanting to build blind on limited funds, the first thing you’ll need to think about is size. After all, the bigger the structure, the more materials you’re going to need.
Keep in mind that bigger won’t necessarily serve your needs any better than a smaller structure. It might simply cost more to build. This is why you need to sit down and really plan the project before heading to the garage to swing a hammer.
Think about the area where you’ll be hunting. Go out there and walk around. What does the terrain look like? Will you be in trees, tall grass, or out in a meadow? Answering these questions is very important in deciding what size blind will work best.
Sketch out your blind with a pencil and paper, and be smart in how you approach your design so that you won’t end up needing any more building materials than necessary.
Be Smart About Frame Design
While size is definitely a major factor in determining cost, it’s not the only detail that matters. Your approach to designing the frame will actually dictate the materials required for construction.
The key is to design a frame that will be solid and stable with minimal materials. This is true of construction projects in general, but especially when working with a small budget where every dollar matters.
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With all of the patterns available on the market today there is no excuse for a hunting blind that doesn’t match its surroundings. It is critical to your success as hunting blinds are most often used in trasition areas or where there is not enough cover to hide otherwise. Good camouflage is mandatory. In many instances I will “brush in” my blind adding to the camouflage of the fabric. Branches and other natural material from the area will really help you break up the outline of the blind and help you get more opportunities.
Recycle Materials You Already Have
Your deer blind doesn’t need to be fancy or be constructed of the latest and greatest materials. It’s going to be stuck in the woods and used for a few weeks out of the year at most.
This means you shouldn’t invest any more than necessary in new materials.
Once you have a building plan sketched on paper, take a look around the house and inventory the materials that you already have on hand. Look for two-by-fours and plywood, and gather everything you can find in the garage. You might be surprised at how much you have lying around.
It’s a good idea to make a list of needed materials on your building plan. This will give you a guide to follow as you collect materials, enabling you to cross off items when found.
Recycling materials you already have will both save money and help reduce waste, which is good for the environment.
Buy Damaged Materials
There might be building materials that you don’t have on hand. Ask around with family and friends to see if anyone can help you out with items they have but no longer want. They will likely be happy to get rid of junk materials that are simply cluttering the garage.
Once you’ve exhausted all recycled materials, there might be a few things you still need to purchase. Most hardware stores have building materials that are flawed, such as warped lumber or rusted nails and screws.
Ask what they have on hand and don’t be afraid to negotiate. Buying damaged materials at a steep discount will save you money while also helping them reduce unwanted inventory.
Recycle Nails & Screws
Speaking of nails and screws, take a look at abandoned projects you have lying around your garage or workshop. Pull nails and screws from lumber, salvaging whatever you can. This will provide extra materials for use on the blind, as well as a few extra nails and screws that you won’t have to purchase.
This might seem like unneeded work, but remember that every penny you can save adds up.
Use Natural Materials for Camouflage
Don’t waste money on artificial camouflage netting. After all, natural is full of the real thing at absolutely no charge. Use branches, leaves, tall grass, and anything else from the terrain where you’ll be hunting.
These natural materials will perfectly camouflage your blind without having to spend a dime.
Use Windows to Minimize Materials
Design the frame with a window in each wall. This will provide a way to keep an eye on your surroundings while also reducing the amount of lumber needed for construction.
Don’t Waste Money Building Seats
You might be tempted to build a bench seat inside your blind. This really just a waste of time and resources. After all, a seat made of lumber will be made uncomfortable and will limit your movements.
You’d be better off using inexpensive stadium chairs that you probably already have at home.
Keep It Simple
And finally, the simple design is typically the best design. There’s no reason to get fancy given the fact that your blind will likely be left in the woods through most of the year and exposed to the elements.
Tips for How to Build a Deer Blind On a Budget
Deer hunting is one of the great joys of life. Fortunately, these tips for how to build a deer blind on a budget can help maximize your hunting experience without going broke.
Keep scrolling to see more great hunting tips and advice.