Ground Blind Great Option In Late Rut

By Ted Peck - November 1, 2013
"Don't the Girls All Get Prettier at Closing Time" kept running through my mind as I set up a PrimeTime ground blind at the edge of a food plot near several heavily used deer trails a couple of weeks ago.

I wasn't hunting out of ground blinds much back in 1976 when Mickey Gilley penned this tune as part of the soundtrack for the movie Urban Cowboy. It would have worked for a movie called "Timber Cowboy" about a young hunter sitting 20 feet up in a treestand without a safety harness.

Not many hunters used safety harnesses in treestands back then. Thousands of fatal and near fatal injuries and a proactive stance by treestand manufacturers have helped educate hunters on the need to wear a harness when hunting above ground.

The majority of whitetail does are now carrying fawns in Wisconsin. But some are still coming into estrus as we ease into the back slope of the rut. This increases competition among bucks, in a situation akin to that old Gilley tune.

A well placed ground blind can be part of an almost sure thing strategy over the next couple weeks as the paradigm of successful bowhunting tactics changes. Wind direction is a primary consideration for folks deer hunting from a stand. Deer like to work into the wind because a whitetail's keen sense of smell alerts them to danger long before noise or sudden movement from a threat even needs to be considered.

If you aren't scent free none of the other tools and toys of deer hunting matter. You're already in the end game and may not even know it. Many successful hunts start with a scent free shower and scent free clothes taken from at least two giant scent free bags, with the outer layer donned just prior to walking to the stand-after a final spritz of scent free spray.

The only time doe estrus scents will fool a wily whitetail is when does are actually in estrus. Using estrus scents outside this 7-10 day window puts monster bucks no longer lulled by rapture of the rut on full alert.

Experience teaches the best way to employ estrus scents are on a Doe-coy deer decoy while remaining scent free. Experience also teaches the importance of staying in the stand from before dawn until the close of shooting time-no easy task when perched on a 17 x 20 inch platform 20 feet up in an oak tree!

A ground blind is the optimum place to wait in ambush for a number of reasons. First and foremost ground blinds do a remarkable job of concealing both human scent and movement, two major causes of unsuccessful hunting trips.

Noise is something a hunter needs to work on. The ground blind's interior should be cleared of dry leaves, twigs and other impediments to silent operation. It's also a good idea to practice bringing the bow into a firing position without a sound long before the moment of truth arrives.

Not all noise is bad. A grunt call is a valuable tool in bringing that trophy into bow range. You might also consider a rattle bag or rattling horns. A ground blind is a great way to hide these buck sounds from real bucks.

Safety is the ultimate factor when considering a ground blind. The number of serious injuries from falling in a ground blind is on a par with the number of injuries from falling out of a recliner during a Packers game.

Looking for that perfect Christmas gift for the deer hunter in your life ? Nothing says "I love you and please stay out in the woods a little longer" more than a comfortable, portable ground blind.

Author Ted Peck
Ted Peck
Cap'n Ted Peck has over 30 yrs. guiding experience, specializing in multi-species fishing on Pool 9-10 of the Mississippi from Genoa, Wi. to Prairie du Chien. Cap'n Ted is a pro staffer for Lund, Northland Tackle, MinnKota, Bill Lewis Lures, Evinrude, Uncle Josh, HT Enterprises and Custom Jigs & Spins. When not guiding Cap'n Ted communicates the outdoors experience via newspapers, magazines, TV, radio and through seminars. This work has taken him all over the midwest, Canada and beyond... but he always returns to the upper Mississippi which he considers the most diverse fishery in North America. Click here for more info on Ted's guide service. Cap'n Ted's new book Mississippi Musings with the Old Guide is a personal account of his long career as a professional fishing guide on Old Man River.