December Groundblind for Whitetails

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Deer Blind with Decoy

Bowhunters have to be very pleased with the December balmy temperatures as we get some very nice evenings in the stand. The good news is that we are experiencing comfortable temps but the bad news is that the deer have been very restricted in their movements because they don't have to move ! After the gun season they tend to become nocturnal anyway but the above average temps haven't forced them into their daytime movements toward food. Now is the time for the groundblind ambush ! Here is a primer on December groundblinds:

1.) Advanced Setup

Absolutely, positively get that ground blind out in the field as many days in advance as you are able. The longer that blind sits in the field the more the deer will become accustomed to it's presence. I have arrowed a few deer from a groundblind that was setup the day of the hunt but more often than not they will flare from this new item they haven't seen before. If you have any vegetation available around you make use of it. The more natural cover you can incorporate into the blind the better. Any loose branches or high grass just enhances your setup.

Deer Blind with Decoy

Also keep in mind the noise you will be making setting up. I don't care how careful and quiet you are....you are being monitored from bedded deer very close by. When deer see your blind for the very first time it is amazing how they react. They never flee but they do "lock on" to the blind and are concerned but not alarmed.

2.) Decoy is Critical

I almost always incorporate a decoy when ground blinding. This decoy serves as another distraction from the blind itself and pulls the attention off of you. I also use the decoy as a marker for distance. I like to put the decoy at l5 yards and then place branches or pieces of wood beyond that decoy so I can rangefind those distances from the inside of the blind. Once you are setup you will know the exact distances from inside your tent and won't be guessing when the "moment of truth" arrives. Now that I think of it, I have never arrowed a deer from a groundblind WITHOUT a decoy.

3.) Clean the Floor

This is absolutely essential to pull off the perfect shot. Always clear the leaves and debris off the ground inside of your blind. I have been "busted" a number of times by adjusting my feet prior to making the shot. Dried leaves can make a huge noise inside of your blind and will alarm just about any deer within 20 yards.
Taking a Whitetail, any Whitetail by using a groundblind is really the ultimate challenge. Trying to maintain your cool when they brush by the back flap of your blind and hearing the "crunch-crunch" as they approach from the rear (surprise!) can really unnerve the best of the the best. You can expect to probably have a few failures along the way because everything has to be perfect to make the correct shot. Being eye level with these incredible creatures gets my knees knocking every time out.

POSTLUDE TO THE LOST BUCK

I received an interesting E-Mail from Brainerd outdoor writer, Bill Marchel. He sent along a nice tip about searching for a lost deer. He recommends watching for ravens near the carcass and keying in on predator tracks near the area of the lost deer. I can't remember seeing any of those critters when my party went back the next morning to look for my lost buck but it makes total sense. If you have a dead deer out there those scavengers can clue you in. His point really hits home especially with snow on the ground.

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