Which is your preferred method for hunting? Do you like clinging to a tree for hours on end, or lying motionless in a hollow? Perhaps when you hunt you use a permanent blind, returning year after year to the same immobile structure?
Hunting retains many customs and rituals. If you are a traditionalist, thinking that freezing or hours of stillness or restricting yourself to the same location every season is part of the thrill, this article may not be for you.
But hunting is changing. The use of portable blinds for hunting is increasing, and the cost of a hunting blind is now within reach of most people. So, if you crave membership in the increasing numbers who fill the freezer each year or grab that trophy by using a portable blind, read on.
Why Use a Hunting Blind?
Use of a hunting blind works on a simple idea: maximum concealment with minimum interference. It always has and always will. Any useful hunting blind combines the most features hiding you from your targets with the fewest features providing clues to your presence.
This combination was previously found only in carefully designed, located, and hidden structures that could not move. But no more.
Current technology brings the mobility of foot-travel to the protection and concealment of permanent setups.
The Pros of Modern Hunting Blinds
By hunting longer and in more comfort, you increase your chances of success
- No more soaking in the rain. Waterproof or water-resistant modern materials keep the rain off.
- No more sweating or freezing in extreme temperatures. These same materials are designed with temperature control in mind.
- No more worrying about the weather in your location. The versatile insulating materials adapt to changing weather conditions
By moving efficiently from target-poor environments to target-rich positions you increase your chances of success
- No more pining over prime locations. Most modern blinds weigh less than 20lbs. They can be easily carried over distance and through tricky terrain to reach the perfect spot
- No more wishing you chose a different location. Putting up or taking down most modern blinds needs just a few seconds if you want to move
By hiding movement and scent better, you increase your chances of success
- No more wishing you could scratch your nose. Inadvertent movements or deliberate movements are hidden from your targets. Obviously, you still want to minimize movement but if you need to stretch . . . no problem!
- No more wondering if the wind will change. You take care to place your blind downwind, but the wind changes direction. Don’t worry. A few simple precautions such as not opening more than one window to create a flow of air, and your scent will remain within the blind.
- No more awkward silhouettes as the day progresses. The interior surfaces of many modern blinds are dark so, as long as you don’t have a back “window” open there are no pesky silhouettes
Considerations When Choosing a Hunting Blind
Overall, modern blinds can make your trip more comfortable, more social, and more successful. But when choosing the best hunting blind for you there are many factors to consider. Here are a few examples:
- Where do you usually hunt? The terrain has obvious implications for the camo pattern you need. Your hunting area may be wooded or grassy or perhaps you hunt in hay fields. Is the foliage predominantly green or brownish, light or dark? You need to choose a pattern that will blend in. Additionally, if the region is difficult to reach the ease with which you can carry the blind is relevant.
- Do your plans include moving from one location to another during a single trip?
- Do you hunt with a bow or a gun, and do you prefer shooting from a sitting or standing position? This makes a difference to the dimensions you need in a blind. If you prefer standing, or you use a bow, a taller product will be required to allow for this.
- Are you hunting alone or will you have a fellow hunter or photographer with you?
- How many windows does the blind have, and how are they arranged? Ideally, although you will not want all the windows opened at the same time, the arrangement should preferably allow 360 degrees of vision, and they should be at a height suitable for your preferred hunting method: archery or shooting.
- Do the windows have mesh inserts which help to regulate temperature, and if they do can arrows be shot through the mesh without affecting your aim?
- What features are included to reduce noise? Zippers and Velcro can scare off your targets, so noise reduction features are essential.
- What fabric is the exterior made from? This can play a huge part in comfort. For example, is the blind waterproof or at least water-resistant? Is it bug-proof? How well is it insulated to minimize extremes of temperature? Or is there room for a portable heater during cold weather hunting?
Top 5 Best and Most Popular Hunting Blinds
Let’s take a look at five of our favorite hunting blinds. We have separated them out by price range and after looking at each of them, we’ll let you know our personal favorite, the one we recommend for its combination of price, quality, and versatility.
#1 The Ameristep Care Taker Hunting Blind
If you are new to using ground blinds when hunting, the price may concern you until you are sure this method of hunting is for you. Or perhaps you are an experienced hunter who is just naturally frugal. In either case, the Care Taker Hub-Style Hunting Blind from Ameristep, the cheapest blind on our list, is very affordable for a 2-man blind, and is probably the one for you.
Ameristep is one of the better-known names in the hunting industry and for over 20 years have innovated and introduced many new products.
The rugged hub system provides stability of the structure combined with simple and rapid assembly or take down. When housed in its carrying bag the Care Taker measures only 6 inches by 42 inches and weighs a measly 13.5 lbs. so carrying the blind to inaccessible locations along with your other gear is easy.
Despite the small size when packed, set up the Care Taker—a task needing less than a minute—and you find the roomy width comfortably houses two adult hunters or a hunter and a photographer.
The blind has a 55 inch by 55-inch footprint and is 66 inches tall, so nobody is going to be standing straight up. Fortunately, there is enough room for a chair for each of the two occupants.
The wraparound positioning of the 9 window-openings offers 360 degrees of viewing if needed, and each opening has shoot-through mesh (removable) for the archers and ports for the gun hunters. Added to this is the system of toggles and loops that allow silent opening and closing of the windows. So no more noisy zippers or Velcro to startle the animals.
Everything about this blind is designed for comfort and to minimize giveaways that might spook game. The interior of the blind is black to hide your movements. The exterior Realtree Xtra camo pattern, a trademarked tree-like pattern, decreases visibility even close up and is also incorporated into the window mesh. The DuraShell Plus fabric, a proprietary composition of lightweight material, resists water, weather, wear and insects while eliminating excess noises. And not only is the interior of the blind carbon-lined to absorb and reduce human scent, but the interior of the backpack-style carrying case is also similarly lined and prevents the transfer of scents that would announce your presence to your prey.
Some reviews of the product note poor quality of workmanship, mainly in the form of pinholes where the stitching is, but at least as many, if not more, praise the workmanship and the water-resistance when the price is taken into consideration.
Overall, this is a great compromise between cost and quality for anyone who is on a restricted budget.
#2 The Ameristep Deluxe 2 Person Tent Chair Hunting Blind
Still in our inexpensive bracket, although slightly more expensive than the Care Taker from the same manufacturer, this is another 2-person blind and is also made from the proprietary DuraShell Plus fabric designed to be water, weather, wear and insect resistant and to reduce noise when rained upon. It also uses the trademarked Realtree Xtra camo pattern making it ideal for use in wooded areas.
Designed for simple and rapid set up or take down, a task of a few moments, the front and side windows, 6 in all, are zippered and offer a wide viewing range and can open quickly when the need arises.
At 61 inches wide by 52 inches deep and 20 inches high this blind may become a little intimate for two larger than average occupants, and when “nature calls” you probably want to be comfortable in your relationship with your companion. So, if you like your privacy or need your personal space you probably need to look at another option.
Otherwise, this is an excellent choice. If you consider the size of a traditional two-man blind and add the bulk of two chairs, the convenience of a compact blind with built-in seats and cup holders–everyone likes cup holders—is easy to see. The carrying case measures just 20 inches by 42 inches and when packed the weight is only 17 lbs. So, compared to other options, the ease of transport while still providing adequate concealment for two adults is a huge plus.
If you use the most standard window configuration with the large front window opened, you will need to ensure your head and upper body is well camouflaged, but you will remain warm, cozy, and well protected from the elements until ready for action with either a bow or a gun, especially when turkey hunting.
There have been some complaints about pinholes at the stitching. Despite this we regard this blind as good value for the money, and you may want to take a chance and then invest in some seam sealant to apply if necessary.
#3 The Barronett Big Cat 350 Hub Blind
We are moving up in price range here, but the Big Cat 350 is an option for those who prefer a roomier option or who like to stand during the hunt. It is a great choice for bow hunting
Another hub-style blind designed to pop up and take down quickly is notable for combining a relatively small footprint for a 3-person blind with a high design not found in many comparable products. The footprint is 70 inches by 70 inches but the interior set-up size is 90 inches by 90 inches, and the height is 80 inches allowing plenty of room for a man of average height to stand with a bow.
And, although the stats say that this blind is designed for three people, there are plenty of reports of four people comfortably sitting inside.
The degree of thought put into this blind is seen in the little touches like the gear pocket for storage and the brush ties for additional camouflage. And the Big Cat is available in two different camo patterns:
- Backwoods is suitable for wooded areas
- Blades is designed more for grassy locations.
Both of these patterns give impressive 3-D representations of foliage or brush. The framework has recently been updated and stiffened to provide more structural integrity when assembled without compromising portability. The blind still weighs only 19 lbs.
With waterproof roof and walls, comfort will be the watchword of your next hunt while 2 gun ports and zipperless, noise-free, low-profile windows with removable (and replaceable) shoot-through mesh give a variety of shooting options from sitting or standing positions.
And, as is generally the norm these days, the interior is blackened to reduce noticeable movement by the blind’s occupants.
Overall, it ‘s hard to find fault with this blind taking into account features versus cost, and it is also difficult to find negative reviews. You could do much worse than buying the Big Cat.
#4 The Ameristep Dove and Duck Hayhouse Blind
This product from Ameristep is great if you intend hunting in hay fields. Although any game inhabiting these fields could be hunted, the design with a fully opening mesh roof definitely makes this a great dove hunting blind that would function equally well for duck hunting and goose hunting. So if any of these are your thing rather than hunting for deer or turkey, you might prefer this more specialized product.
The camo is designed to mimic the surroundings in a hay field, extends up and over the mesh windows, and works even better if the field contains round bales of hay. Brush loops are also incorporated to allow attaching extra camouflage.
At 60 inches square and 60 inches tall, two hunters can sit side by side waiting patiently until they sight their prey and then pull the rip cord that speedily drops the roof hatch open to allow a clear shot. Some reviews note that they have housed two hunters, a hunting dog, a heater, and all the gear they needed in this blind for extended periods with no reduction in comfort.
As with all the products here, the emphasis is on easy setup and take down combined with portability, but enough sturdiness to enable the blind to be left in place for extended periods. The exterior is made from the noise reducing, weather, wear, and insect resistant DuraShell Plus fabric found on many Ameristep products, and that has been mentioned earlier. But in some reviews there also seems to be similar quality control issues to those mentioned previously regarding other Ameristep products such as pinholes at the seams and around the stitching.
This is by no means a bad product, but it can be considered a specialized product. Any reservations we have are because the design and camo pattern limit the environments and the targets that it can be usefully employed for.
#5 Primos Double Bull Deluxe Ground Blind
Now we come to what is commonly called the “Cadillac of Hunting Blinds.” And this nickname refers not only to the quality of this blind but to the price.
The Double Bull achieved almost legendary status, not only because of the quality of construction and the number of features and accessories, many of which are patented but also because of the strength of feelings it causes among hunters. They either love it or hate it, and there seems to be no in-between.
The root of this controversy originates with the setup. The hub system, which has been redesigned and patented, supposedly ensures quick and easy setup and takedown but has proven harder than a doctorate level algebra exam to some. Admittedly, it can be tricky, but if you watch the manufacturer’s instructional video, and the many videos available on YouTube, and then you practice a few times, set up becomes second nature and can be performed in just a few minutes.
Now to the good stuff. The Double Bull is designed to last. The heavy duty cotton/polyester canvas and the trademarked Power Hub frame that uses materials such as high-strength magnesium guarantee stability and durability. So confident are the manufacturers of their materials and design, they offer a lifetime warranty.
When set up the footprint of this two-man blind is 60 inches by 60 inches and the measurement from hub to hub is 77 inches. With a height of 70 inches, some people may have to hunch a little for archery hunting from a standing position, but there is plenty of height if you prefer to shoot while sitting.
A system of tension straps can be used to ensure the exterior doesn’t flap around in breezy conditions, and the double-wide door is completely zipperless. A system of draw straps and buckles allow you to open the door silently and quickly, and it is easy to enter or exit without snagging your equipment on anything.
The large main window at the front of the blind also employs a system of straps and buckles for single-handed, silent opening and offers 180 degrees of viewing and shooting angle. The smaller side and rear windows and one high window could technically be used for shooting from, but seem more useful for observation. The blind also comes with easily removable and replaceable shoot-through mesh for the bow hunters among you.
The exterior Truth camo pattern is designed to blend into any terrain, the interior is blackened to reduce visible silhouettes and movement, and ground flaps keep scents in and light out.
This is certainly a versatile blind if you can get it set up (we found the difficulty regarding set up a little exaggerated if you make use of the instructional videos available) and at 27 lbs. it is easily portable. We can see why some people love it. But we should point out what in our opinion is a definite minus . . . this blind is not waterproof. It is designed to be quieter than other blinds when rain pounds it, but to achieve this, it seems actual waterproofing has been forsaken. In a lengthy rainstorm, you may not be soaking at the end, but you will be damp at the very least.
Each of these ground blinds holds advantages and disadvantages over the others. But if you were to bend our arms and force us to choose, for sheer versatility and quality combined with an excellent price, the best bang for the buck if you will, we would have to go with the Barronett Big Cat 350.
For a relatively affordable price the Big Cat offers greater roominess for larger hunters or those who prefer standing to sitting, or for larger groups of hunters.
It also provides 360-degree visibility and a choice of camo patterns. In our minds it is undoubtedly the best hunting blind on the market.
As previously stated, there are no bad products listed here, but the most expensive blinds on our list are either more specialized or have noticeable disadvantages while the less expensive products do not offer the same quality of construction.
There are hunting blinds to suit every need and every wallet out there on the market. With careful forethought, planning, and research you can discover the amazing world of hunting from ground blinds and renew your passion, or experience for the first time the thrill of returning to our origins as hunter-gatherers, without breaking the bank. Hopefully, you will find this guide helpful.