It looked as though the pine tree in front of the poplar would shield me enough to get away with hunting the spot. When I got the stand up, I was less sure. When the first buck walked out and immediately picked me off, I was a lot less sure. Prevailing November winds didn’t leave too many other options, so after pulling the stand I grabbed a blind and went to work.
The pine tree, while sparse on top, provided plenty of cover after wedging the blind beneath it. After a liberal brushing-in job, the blind was like the camo-cube version of a ghillie suit and it looked good. Or at least, it looked like the rest of the woods, which is good. Better yet, the deer looked right past it when they stepped out, which was not the case while hunting from a treestand in the exact same spot.
A well-brushed-in blind isn’t the answer to every deer hunting situation, but it certainly is a worthy tool to have in your kit. Some hotspots don’t sport quality stand trees, and sometimes you just want to be comfortable in a blind while waiting on a ground-level shot.
Here are several options for you to consider adding to your hunting arsenal.
Ameristep Caretaker Kick Out
This is my kind of blind for a few reasons. The first is that it weighs only 15 pounds but still offers a 65x65-inch footprint (66 inches tall). That’s perfect for one hunter and a bunch of gear, but can also accommodate two if you don’t mind being a little cozy. The Ameristep Caretaker is also built with brush loops (a necessity) and is designed with a unique shape that helps it disappear into the forest. At $120, this blind is cheap, too.
Barronett Ox 4
If you need a set-it-and-forget-it blind, the Ox 4 is a solid choice. At 28 pounds, it’s not the most portable in the group but it is built to last and is ideal for food plots and other season-long hotspots. The Ox 4 from Barronett features a silent and fully adjustable window system, brush holders, rear peek windows, and comes with heavy-duty ground stakes and tie-down ropes.
Browning Phantom X
If 360-degree viewing sounds appealing, then you’ll want to check out the Browning Phantom X. This is an excellent two-person option considering it measures just under 6 feet at the center height, and the overall shooting width is 74 inches (19.5 pounds). What I liked the most about it, however, was that the overall feel and design seemed like it was meant to last. Some blinds feel like those old disposable cameras, where when you pick them up you realize it’s not the real thing. Not this blind. It feels like you can leave it out for a month and not have to worry that Mother Nature will have her way with it to the point where you’ll need to go blind shopping again.
Primos Double Bull Evader
Double Bull blinds have been tough to beat for a long, long time and ever since Primos bought them up, we’ve witnessed some design innovation that makes them a clear choice for whitetail hunters. Their latest, the Evader, is an excellent choice for whitetail hunters given its hub-to-hub reach of 70 inches and its 180-degree full front view. A rarity in the blind world, Double Bull uses a zipperless door, which doesn’t seem like a big deal until you’re trying to quietly get into your blind in the dark.
Rhino Blinds Rhino-200
Covered in Mossy Oak Breakup Country camo, the Rhino-200 is an excellent choice for bowhunters looking to partner up on a hunt. This blind features shoot-through mesh windows, quiet entry, and brush loops - all while tipping the scales at just 18 pounds. The Rhino-200 is also built to last, thanks to its reinforced hubs and 300 Cordura denier fabric.
The 3-person Viper from Summit is available in a couple of camo patterns, weighs only 20 pounds, and measures a full 6 feet tall at its highest point. Through its Hush Silent Hatch doorway system and True-View Panels on the windows, you quickly realize that this blind is different than most offerings. It just feels like it was designed by hunters. This is clearly evidenced by the Snap Wrap carry system, which folds around the blind for easy transport and also doubles as an in-blind gear organizer.
The Apex blind from Xenek is as bombproof of a hub-style blind as you’re going to find anywhere. Everything about it speaks to durability, and the overall design leads you to very easily believe it was designed by actual bowhunters (which it was). At 25 pounds, it’s not the lightest option out there, but if you’ve got a spot you want to season a blind for a few weeks before sitting it, you could do way worse than the Apex. It measures 72 inches between hubs, is covered in KUIU’s Verde camo, and boasts the FLEXIBLE window system, which allows for nearly unlimited viewing and shooting options.