I would like to paint you this wonderful picture that I enjoy hunting December whitetails purely for the ambiance of the winter woods, but for this bowhunter, the obvious sign of beaten down winter trails gives this archer the advantage of not having to try and guess where the deer may be. Yes, any advantage to put myself into a position to fill my tags is welcome.
Many a winter evening was spent precariously perched twenty feet of the ground, shivering and somewhat miserable waiting for a deer which would ultimately end up seeing or hearing me as I tried to draw my bow.
Several years ago, in an effort to try and swing the odds in my favor, I adapted a new approach to hunting winter whitetails; hunting out of ground blinds. I know what you’re thinking, “That sure is some great insight, oh mighty outdoor writer guy, portable hunting blinds have been around for years.” While questioning any tips I suggest may be wise, at least entertain my thought here anyway. I have tried hunting out of the “traditional” style hunting blinds in the winter, but I have found concealment and fooling the wary senses of a whitetail difficult.
Most deer blinds manufactured today are constructed with dark, green or fall patterns in mind. With a backdrop, consisting of predominantly white, more deer than not noticed the blind and knew something just wasn’t right. While the blind may not have scared them into the next county, deer were certainly on edge. Thus creating a situation where only a risky shot, at best, could be attempted. I have found however, a white-camo pattern ground deer blind very effective for late-season whitetails.
These snow camo deer hunting blinds give you the opportunity to hunt out of the blind the same evening you set it up, which is difficult to do with ground blinds designed for fall use. Most of the deer I have harvested out of the blind have been the same evening I set it up. Most often, I try and tuck the blind in a brush pile – they just don’t seem to pick it up. White and snow pattern clothes are necessary in order to blend in, and you do have to be cautious of movement while deer can see through your shooting holes.
The prospect of getting out of your tree stands allows you the opportunity to hunt places you may not have been able to before, plus allows the flexibility to move in reaction to wind directions.
Ground blind hunting does much to camouflage and comfort a late-season hunter. December hunts are an unbalanced mix of many hours of enjoying well, the solitude of the winter woods, with sporadic moments of deer activity. Thus, you need to be comfortable during those inevitable times of waiting. Hidden inside the blind, gives you the opportunity to bundle up with heavy clothes that would otherwise curtail any attempt at drawing and shooting your bow, which can be a problem with more traditional deer stands. As you see deer coming, you can simply remove the gloves, and, if need be, a coat to prepare for your shot.
Keeping that winter wind off you also does much to both control body temperature and minimize scent distribution. You will certainly stay warmer hunting out of a blind, which will mean more time in the field and a better opportunity to hunt when late season hunting is at it’s best; the colder the better.
While a tree-stand may be your best bet in some late-season hunting situations, incorporating ground blinds concealed with a snow pattern may do much to improve your December bowhunting success. Come December, while many of you are perched precariously in a leafless oak tree, shivering and questioning your sanity, I’ll be on the ground in relative comfort, totally concealed, wishing I could see farther.
Dr. Judy McFarlen, is the author of DiyDeerFoodPlots. We are fortunate to have Colin Williams as a guest on Diy Deer Food Plots. Colin is an avid hunter and niche writer who uses deer habitat management with deer food plots being one of his overall strategies for the farm.
Learn about Winter-Whitetails
and Ground Blinds..