Just Build It

Many times I get wonderful invites to hunt a friends ranch or lease only to find out that most of the hunters are rifle hunters and there aren’t any bow blinds set up for me to hunt. Because these are sometimes short trips there isn’t time to get there early and put up a pop up blind and allow the animals to get used to it. The smell, the distraction, and the noise can easily ruin a hunt if you don’t have the time allotted. There aren’t always great trees available either to bring a tree climber or hang on especially in South Texas so you must improvise.


Building ground and brush blinds is actually one of my favorite things to do and sometimes yields the best results. The rifle blinds already give you an idea of the high traffic areas, especially if you don’t have time to scout, so finding a great brushy area nearby should do the trick. Use what is available to you and work smarter not harder with natural ground or brush blinds. The most important aspect is to first find some very thick brush for your spot. It is easier to clear out limbs and brush that to add to open areas and will look and feel more natural to the animals. Also make sure you have at least two good views of the land around you; this doesn’t mean you have to be able to shoot all around you, but being able to avoid the ‘sneak up’ by an animal will help with a successful hunt.


Once you have located your spot, start clearing out a hole in the middle just big enough for a chair, stool, or bucket to sit on. If you can lean against a tree or rock go for it, just make sure you can draw your bow from that position without too much movement. The next step is extremely important to help minimize noise. Use your feet, shovel, or whatever you have to clear any leaves, stick, rocks, roots, or anything else from the ground where you will be sitting. A completely dirt bottom under your feet will be key to keeping quiet or prevent tripping.

Next pick your shooting lane and clear out just enough space to shoot that you are comfortable with. For rookies your shooting lane might need to be bigger but as you advance smaller holes and lanes can be utilized and will conceal you better in the brush. Make sure there aren’t any hanging limbs or branches that will get in the way of your shot. This might actually require you getting out of the blind to clear a path further away; for better and faster results it is best to have a second person who can clear any obstructions for you while you are sitting in your blind.


Also, while you are in your blind make sure you can draw your bow without bumping any branches or limbs. If you can’t draw there is no point! If you have your bow draw it; if not just perform the motion and move around through your shooting lane to ensure all angles allow for full draw without obstacles. Make sure you pay attention to the height of the blind as well; it must be taller than your head because you will lift your bow and your top wheel or cam will be above your head. Hitting branches or brush with the top of your bow will not only scare off any potential animals but could cause leaves to get caught in your wheel or cam and be problematic.


Once you have the inside cleaned up and your shooting lanes established, it’s time to brush it in even more. You want to be as concealed as possible, eliminating any movement that can be seen through the brush. Cut limbs and brush from nearby trees or bushes to fill in any gaps or holes that are visible. Make sure you don’t just chop down an entire tree; take branches from various trees so you eliminate changing the landscape too much or creating new paths. Too much change and the animals will notice and avoid the area or take a different route around you.


Finally, make a small but clear path to and from your blind. This entrance and exit should not come from the main area of hunting; rather a back entrance is better to help control scent and movement. Make sure you can get in and out with all your gear as quietly as possible; clear leaves, rocks, and limbs the same as you did inside to minimize noise and branches from snagging on your gear. Although this path should be clear, it doesn’t have to be big or noticeable. If you have to crouch or step over a log, that is ok because the least amount of change and disturbance the better. The goal is to sneak into an area where animal activity is high without disturbing the habitat too much. It might also be a good idea to spray a cover scent or use a scent drag to and from these homemade brush blinds. And don’t worry if you picked the wrong spot or all of your animal activity is out of range because one of the best advantages of brush blinds is that you can easily get out and try your skill at stalking. There are no zippers or Velcro of a typical pop-up ground blind and no noisy climbs down a tree.


As I mentioned this is one of my favorite things to do and build because my very first doe bow kill was from a brush blind I built with a few cedar limbs used around the natural cactus. I had been sitting in a different area and kept seeing deer activity nearby, but out of my bow range. I knew exactly where I wanted to move to get in their path and set up a quick brush blind in the middle of the day. Luckily the heavy cedar smell was beneficial in covering my scent and that evening a mature doe walked right by me, no less than 15 yards away. She stood broadside and I was able to harvest my first doe bow kill out of an impromptu brush blind. So just build it…and they might come!

Jan 24, 2013 | Category: Blog | Comments: 3


3 comments on “Just Build It

  1. Tosh Brewer

    Well said Candace…nothing like the experience and the hands on experience!!!

  2. Such great advice! Hunting isn’t just about having skill with your method of harvest, but knowing the lay of the land and adapting to create opportunities for success.
    I would totally recommend this entry to anyone just getting into hunting, as well as those with experience but are new to a particular area.
    You don’t need to disturb an area too much as long as you have some ingenuity and good ol’fashioned elbowgrease. Not only that, but for kids going out with family and such, helping to build a blind goes a long way in teaching them the joy of being outdoors and an active part of the hunt, even if they dont harvest themselves.
    Even moreso if its not just for the harvest, you can go and just observe nature from inside the blind, take pictures and have a quiet place to get away.

    • Candace

      Spot on Tyler. I am glad you enjoyed the post. And I agree it is a fun thing to involve the youngsters with. Its not just building a blind, its a bonding and learning moment too. I try to write stuff that can be useful for the novie and the expert. We as hunters are always learning from each other!

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