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The proverbial blind thread

Old 11-08-2010, 06:44 PM
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Default The proverbial blind thread

I've read a lot of theories on how early to set up blinds (so deer get used to them)--everything from weeks ahead of time to the same day and everything in between.

I had some interesting experiences this fall that I'd like to share.

First, I hunted on some private land using a permanent ground blind that had been there for years (crossbow hunting). This blind was set up in the woods in decent cover and not in a field. For two nights in a row, I had deer come in and the first thing--first thing they all did--was eyeball that blind. They did this regardless of the wind being favorable, unfavorable, whatever. I've had similar experiences during rifle season in other permanent blinds. In other words, "used to it" or not, deer immediately zero in on the blind and have their guard up about it.

I also hunted later on public land (same type of woods setup as the first example) with a popup blind I set up the same afternoon of the hunt. Again, a doe came out and worked her way in and eyeballed that blind the entire time (she eventually got within 15 yards and I harvested her).

I didn't find the doe in the latter situation to be any more or less on guard than the deer encountering the permanent blind. Both groups of deer were equally aware and on guard of the blind. Both groups of deer--despite being on guard and watching the blinds carefully--eventually worked in close enough to present a shot.

So my question: does it really matter if you set up a blind early? My cautious answer would have to be no after these experiences. It's especially difficult to set up a blind ahead of time on state land (without it being possibly stolen).

Thoughts?
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Old 11-08-2010, 07:00 PM
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My father in law has had two experiences that he told me about that are similar.

The first of which, he had a pop up blind set up with camo mesh netting over the holes, and every time this one doe would come out she would come out, and eyeball the blind... although the camo netting was there, it could apparently see if the flap on the back side was down or not and wouldn't come out if the window was open.

The other was he was hunting some private land with a climber on it, well he was told there was a doe that would not come out if the climber wasn't there. She would come out the same trail every time they were there, stick her head out far enough to see, look at the tree, look up the tree, then retreat if the stand was in use.... well he had an idea to grab another climber and leave the initial one at the bottom.. needless to say she came out, looked for the climber, saw it at the bottom of the tree.. and continued out.. you can guess how that ended.
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Old 11-08-2010, 08:02 PM
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If I use a pop up blind that I throw up that morning/afternoon, at least half the deer see the blind and give it a good stare down. It doesn't seem to spook them unless they see me moving, but they definitely have their guard up.

On the other hand, last year on opening morning I hunted out of a permanent blind that had been there for at least three years. I saw multiple deer and none of them even thought twice about the blind. I even had a 9-pointer walk close enough that I could have reached out and poked him with my gun (when I saw him taking the trail towards me, I ducked down inside the blind because it was a see-through material.) No joke, the deer was within two yards of me and had no clue I was there. However, no deer had been shot out of the blind for a few years, and it had only been hunted a handful of times. Maybe that's why they didn't think twice about it.
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Old 11-08-2010, 08:47 PM
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I think the facts are skewed due to not all the info not being there.

Although that blind were there "for years", I HIGHLY suspect the reason the deer were keen on that position was because of the smell of human scent from other hunters in that 2 years. The reason could be because they were high strung around that blind was because it was connnected to humans... as so far as what the deer thought or smelled.

What do you think? I mean, I don't think in that two years the blind sat without any hunters in it.

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Old 11-09-2010, 03:57 AM
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I used a pop up blind last season for the first time. I set it up in a field next to another, larger bush. I had deer from 20 to 80 yards and not one of them paid any attention to the blind. Except the one that heard me pull the hammer back on my pistol.

Twice now though, I have had a deer pop out at the closest point to the blind. One turned and ran as I was trying to get in position for a shot. The other one casually walked back into the woods. I think they might hear me moving or smell me though. I don't think the actual blind bothered them.
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Old 11-09-2010, 04:31 AM
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During spring Turkey hunting season this year I used a pop up blind that I set up the morning of the hunt. I had deer coming to within 15feet of the blind all three times I was out there. Once they smelled me they snorted and stomped but did not appear to know exactly where I was, just that I was close.
I plan on hitting the same spot for gun season on the 15th. Hope it goes well for deer

Last edited by dtvburns; 11-09-2010 at 05:34 AM.
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Old 11-09-2010, 05:23 AM
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Two weeks ago a hunting buddy and I went into the woods to set up a blind that is more of a wrap: it is just this long, camo thing with holes in it you are supposed to wrap around a tree or two. We were out in the woods and debating a spot when I heard a snap further up the mountain. Through the brush and trees I could see deer legs moving down the mountain. Neither of us brought our rifles because it isn't general firearm season around here yet, but we wanted to see how big the deer was and see its movements.

If there were any squirrels in the trees they got quite the laugh because the only thing my buddy and I could figure to do was throw that damn wrap over our heads like a couple of Mossy Oak ghosts. We just stood there and watched.

The deer was a nice six-pointer that didn't have any idea we were there. It came right at us. It wasn't until it got 15 to 20 yards away that it actually became aware there were two strange things standing in the middle of the woods. We didn't move or make a sound and got into a 10 minute stare down with this deer. Lordy, I wish we had some sort of weapon at that time.

Finally, the deer flicked its tail and slowly began to walk away, but it had its eye on us the whole time. It finally traveled behind some trees and up and over a ridge and was gone. Never really knew what was there although it had its doubts.

I don't know the point of this story, but it was an interesting experience with a blind. Oh, we ended up setting the blind up close to that spot in hopes he'll still be around this weekend because we'll be in the woods-- with a 30-30 this time!
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Old 11-09-2010, 05:27 AM
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Originally Posted by iSnipe View Post
I think the facts are skewed due to not all the info not being there.

Although that blind were there "for years", I HIGHLY suspect the reason the deer were keen on that position was because of the smell of human scent from other hunters in that 2 years. The reason could be because they were high strung around that blind was because it was connnected to humans... as so far as what the deer thought or smelled.

What do you think? I mean, I don't think in that two years the blind sat without any hunters in it.

iSnipe
Yes, the blind in question has had heavy use during the rifle season.

I appreciate the conversation and the input! For state-land hunts it's not always possible (or it rarely is) to leave a pop-up blind up ahead of time (or a trail cam or anything else that can get stolen).

I do agree that it needs to literally pass the smell test. But my experience with permanent blinds has been that deer are still cautious around them...but I'm very interested to hear others' experiences.

I love the stories you guys are sharing. Good stuff! Very interesting.

Last edited by Michlw39; 11-09-2010 at 05:29 AM.
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Old 11-09-2010, 07:47 AM
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I agree that the blind should be put up for the deer to get "used" to it. But when I was in high school a friend and I left right after school on Fri. to go get ready to hunt on Sat., I know very late but we were young. We thought it would take the rest of the day light hours to set up to two spots to hunt from but when we were finished we still had hour and a half of shooting light. So we took all of the tools and left overs back to the truck and got dressed and hunted until dark. That night I saw more deer then any other day that season. Just my .02
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Old 11-09-2010, 08:08 AM
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I'm in a pop-up blind this year, and I've noticed the does really picked up that I was there. I heard them just as they were coming in behind me, walked about 15 yds away from me, and snorted right away, and took off. Ran about 15 yds, turned and snorted some more, and took off over the hill. Then, out in front of me, two more came out from farther down, ran right to the last spot where the others stopped and snorted, looked around for a minute, looked right at the tent, snorted and took off. I thought "Christ, what did I put on this morning, eau de smelly human or something or what?". Then about a half hour later, a three pointer walks right up from behind me, takes the same path, as the first two does, and couldn't care if I was there or not. Walked all around the area, right in front, bout 10 yds, and casually walked off. About an hour later a small six comes out of the hole in front, walks into the area, and casually walks right where the does snorted, and carried on, and couldn't care less, but walked on a higher route where I couldn't get a shot.

I think the older bucks and does will recognize something out of place and be wary. But, it all depends on the rut. If your in the middle of the rut, and the bucks are moving, they're not paying attention at all.
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