Ground blinds provide probably the most effective and convenient way to hunt with a crossbow. You can reliably hide in them, without the need to restrict your movement too much and wait for deer or other game to come within shooting distance.
The main function of a blind is to provide shade for the hunter and make them harder to spot by animals. Since very little light enters the interior, movement is also more forgivable and harder to detect. This allows for closer encounters with the wildlife.
You are even harder to smell while in a ground blind as it cuts the airflow and reduces the role of wind and its direction.
Why you should hunt from a ground blind?
There are way too many benefits to blinds which explains their boom in popularity in recent years.
Lack of trees
Let’s be real – not all properties have trees in them so you cannot go up and shoot from a tree stand. But you can place a ground blind virtually everywhere. And easily move it when you decide to change the spot.
Fear of heights
Okay, there are trees. But many people don’t enjoy or outright fear climbing several feet up in the air. If just the thought of it makes you feel uncomfortable, then a tree stand is probably undesirable or even out of the question.
And let’s not forget that many people have disabilities that make climbing a tree impossible or just not advisable.
You don’t need to be Spiderman in order to hunt with a crossbow.
When hunting with a crossbow, accuracy is the most important factor for your success. And a blind at ground level allows you to line that perfect broadside shot. Which is often not possible if hanging high in a tree stand.
Accuracy is directly affected by the range to the target. And when animals are not aware of your presence, they come closer – simple as that!
You may think about it as a way to ensure faster and more humane kills. In addition to the increased chance to recover the animal, of course.
A responsible hunter wouldn’t attempt shots at live targets if they are more than 40 yards away. You are free to try long-range shooting when practicing as much as you want, but you wouldn’t want the increased risk of hurting or causing slow and painful death to an animal, would you?
Most manufactured blinds would protect at least to some extent the hunter from elements like rain, snow, and wind. Compare that to sitting high on a tree stand while the wind is blowing at 50 mph and it’s 15 below zero… So this is a very nice and useful secondary benefit that shouldn’t be ignored.
You can take your kids with you
Young children have a really hard time sitting still and being quiet. Now you can negate some of it by having them sit next to you in a ground blind. They can still move and remain undetected.
Easy to transport and set
Commercially-produced ground blinds come in a convenient package and rarely weigh much more than 20 pounds so you can carry one around with relative ease.
If your ground blind is new, you should air it out so it doesn’t smell weird and artificial. Simply open and set it up in your backyard or anywhere outdoors and leave it there for a few weeks.
Ground blinds should be set at the chosen hunting spot at least a couple of days before the hunt, so the animals in the area have enough time to get used to this new element of the landscape. A couple of weeks or more in advance is preferable.
Choosing a spot
You should position the blind strategically (no way, Sherlock!). Near a feeder plot or water source, for example.
Ideally, you would spend some time and get to know the area. Look around for tracks, note the usual wind direction. Place some trail cameras months in advance and regularly check the footage.
If possible, place the ground blind downwind of where you expect the animals would appear. In other words – you want the wind blowing in your face.
After you’ve found a spot you like, make sure to clear the ground floor of any sticks, dry leaves, and other debris before placing the blind. Otherwise, even small movement and stepping on those while inside and getting ready for a shot would cause noise and spook the nearby animals.
Also, you’d need to cut down any tall grass and remove anything your arrow may come in contact with while flying towards its target. Even a tiny and practically invisible obstacle can stave off the arrow and make it miss the target.
Pick a chair
When choosing a chair to put inside the blind, make sure it is the ideal height for shooting from sitting position. Want to use a shooting rest? Plan it ahead. Try a few shots if needed. Make sure there are no obstructions in front of the arrow.
And make sure the chair doesn’t squeak or make any other weird sound.
You would want to close the blind windows you don’t plan to use. Yes, the ability to shoot in any direction is nice, but if you leave all open, it won’t be dark inside at all, and deer would see your silhouette without a problem.
There are different opinions about whether you should use the see-through-shoot-through mesh or not. Some hunters don’t think it’s a good idea to shoot with a crossbow (or a bow) through it as it would affect the arrow accuracy.
Also, there are reports about mechanical broadheads catching on the mesh and deploying prematurely.
Wear black in a ground blind, not camo.
It’s simple – you are hiding in the dark so, naturally, in order to blend with the surrounding, you should wear black or very dark-colored clothing. Hood, gloves, shirt – everything should be black so you can disappear in the shadows!
You shouldn’t be sitting close to the window that is left open as you would be quite visible. Move way back inside where there is little to no light.
Another reason to leave plenty of space between you and the blind wall is to take the crossbow length account into account – when you raise it, you wouldn’t want it to poke out. And if you shoot while being too close, the limbs might smash against the material.
When to cock the crossbow?
The most practical and safe habit is to cock it just before entering the blind after all other preparations are done! Once inside and sat, you can place an arrow on the rail.
Know the distance
While sitting inside the blind, you might get bored at some point. Why not take that rangefinder out and start measuring the distance to the trees and rocks that are near the area where you expect your quarry? This way you would be able to quickly judge the distance to the real target when it appears.
Now you are ready to hunt.