Thinking about hunting birds both in and out of the box.
By: Justin Hunold
There 15 yards in front of you just outside of that window your decoys look perfect. They look so good you have to remind yourself to not shoot your strutting decoy. With the blades of last year’s dry grass and the newly greened up version moving in the wind, you see Him lock on to your imitation flock out in the field. And like a young man sowing his oats that Tom is on his way down to get some, either a fight or a romp.
This is the way of Turkey hunting from a modern pop up blind. Turkey Calls are very similar to ones from decades past, but the variety and reliability is a lot better, and yes decoys continue to look better and better with modern materials and finishes, and we even understand the spring Turkey better due to continued research, but one thing likely helps kill more birds every year than the modern pop up blind……but it saves a bunch too.
Why should you be Turkey Hunting from a pop up blind? There are a lot of reasons to hunt from a blind, they hide your movement, they give you concealment in places that are wide open, they protect you from some of the elements, Turkey’s basically don’t react to them at all and they can help you stay patient. Let’s dive in on Who’s What, When’s, Where and How’s of Hunting Turkeys from a Blind.
One main reason to hunt turkeys from a pop up blind is because turkeys dont adversely react to them. Not long ago when you saw a flock strutting in the middle of a field day after day and you couldn’t access them or if you could there was no cover to hunt them from they mine as well have been in a zoo. They were in a spot you couldn’t kill them in. The blind changed all of that.
A camo blind standing up in the middle of the field will definitely not fool a whitetail and likely you won’t see a coyote or another predator unless that blind has been there a very long time or is adequately brushed in. When it comes to beards and spurs though, you can pop that thing up and hunt from it that morning.
Toms and Hens alike seem to not give a hoot about a pop up blind suddenly appearing in a spot it wasn’t yesterday. So, field hunting turned into a big option over the past 20 years when it wasn’t really on the radar much before that. If you see a Tom puffed up in the middle of the field every day, that bird is likely killable with a pop up blind and access to that field.
Hunting in comfort is another great reason to hunt out of a blind. Rain, snow, sleet, and hail a blind can make you into a regular USPS mailman. No matter the weather you can generally hunt in relative comfort from a blind. This keeps you concentrating on the birds and not how miserable you feel. It also lends to your patience. Warm, dry and concealed tends to make a hunter stay put rather than feeling they need to be up and moving to stay warm. Sometimes staying in a spot is the key to the game. Impatient hunters save a lot of animals every year.
For the reasons listed above Blind hunting is a great way to introduce new or young hunters to the game. A kid can be free to move a bit more in a blind, they can also have a tablet or even a couple games or toys to help pass the time. Teaching kids to hunt is a big undertaking. I believe that there are times this is best done with a compromise of toughing it and making it a bit more comfortable, a blind is a great middle ground.
This is the same for newer hunters. Great teaching moments like how much you can move, what it’s like when Turkeys come in and a shot is imminent, judging distance, watching animal behavior can all be taught from a blind in a way that might not happen leaning against a tree. Plus for someone maybe not used to navigating the woods in the dark or at all a destination or home base is a great way to increase confidence.
There are a couple instances when that blind that proves deadly so many times is the bane of a hunter’s existence in moments. One story that is told over and over is causing a malfunction in the weapon of the hunter in regards to the blind. This predominantly happens with a bow, the hunter forgets how many moving parts there are and a limb hits the blind, or the sight clears the window but they don’t estimate for the inches difference in arrow height at the shelf and next thing you know they have a new broadhead hole through there camo house. It can happen to a lesser extent with a gun but be aware of your windows in a blind.
The other instance is when a bird sneaks in and won’t come around to the side a hunter prepped for a shot. This is when a hunter is generally cursing the blind and thinking that they could have had that bird if they weren’t pinned down inside but running a gunning outside. As a rule of thumb, I keep three windows open to help with this and the more dense the cover the less likely I am to be in a blind.
At the end of the day the situation that surrounds the birds are the contributing factors in deciding whether or not to use a blind. Early in the season, with colder, wetter weather and birds heading to fields to get in that ever escaping sunshine, I’ll be in a blind. Having a new hunter with me, Blind time. When birds might be pressured and quiet, I’m more patient in a blind. In my opinion there are a ton of times you shouldn’t be in a blind. But every turkey hunter should own one or two and they should have them ready to go for the situations surrounding the birds.