Getting On The Ground To Hunt

There are times when you need more than camouflage clothing to disappear in the woods or fields. Here's what's new in ground blinds for this year.

Regardless of your quarry, hunting from the ground can be advantageous or just preferred for a number of reasons. First of all, it's hard to fall out of a ground blind! Lightweight models can be more portable than a tree stand and placed where trees aren't readily available.

A ground blind provides more warmth when hunting in winter. With that added comfort, being able to stay out longer may mean the difference between coming home with game or empty-handed.

Using a blind is one of the best ways to conceal your movements. With a blind large enough, you can even have a hunting buddy or youngster along and fidgeting is much less likely to be noticed by the sharp eyes of your prey.

When taking pictures or videotaping a hunt, blinds are great for concealing tripods and camera equipment and any movement involved with adjusting that equipment.

Depending on your particular needs, there are ground blinds that meet virtually any job requirements. Here is a sampling of what manufacturers have to offer this year.

AMERISTEP
Dream Season
Ameristep recently introduced the new Dream Season model, which offers a variety of shooting options with its vertical window design. Magnetic zippers allow for multiple window variations of up to 21 different options. The window configuration is an ideal match for bowhunters.

The Dream Season Blind is offered in the new Mossy Oak Treestand camo and is constructed of high-quality Durashell PLUS fabric that eliminates excess noise with quiet, weatherproof and wear-resistant characteristics. The hub-style construction is extremely rugged and durable, providing excellent stability and easy setup. The blind comes in a Scent Blocker carbon-lined backpack/gear bag that prevents scent contamination during travel and storage.

The Dream Season blind has a removable floor. It is 67 inches high and 60 inches square, but bows out to measure 74 inches hub to hub. When packed, it is a compact 8 inches wide by 43 inches long. The blind weighs in at 20 pounds, with a suggested retail price of $399.99. www.ameristep.com.



PRIMOS
Dark Horse
Primos introduces the Dark Horse blind that allows a full 180-degree shooting window, spanning the entire front of the blind. The opening features Primos Double Bull's Silent Slide window adjustment system. The window can be opened or covered with shoot-through netting and adjusts vertically from 1 to 20 inches.

The back of the blind has a black interior to eliminate "profiling" and also features four shooting ports and two viewing ports to allow shooting from the rear of the blind without compromising concealment.

The Dark Horse blind is constructed of a cotton/poly fabric that is weather resistant, quiet and won't shine. The Ground Swat camouflage pattern is designed specifically for use on ground blinds. There is also a 5-inch flap that forms a seal along the ground helping to prevent scent and light leaks. The Dark Horse boasts a 7-second setup time!

The center height of the blind is 67 inches and the floor space is 5 feet by 5 feet. The shooting diameter is a generous 78 inches. The suggested retail price is $399.99. www.primos.com.

EASTMAN OUTFITTERS
Smart Air
The Smart Air blind by Eastman Outfitters is designed for you to see out, without the game seeing in. Realistic 3-D leaves made of quiet, no-shine fabric conceal the entire blind, while allowing hunters 360-degree vision without relying on open windows. Four spy windows allow you to detect game when scent containment is key. The Smart Air has 11 windows with silent hooks and loops, allowing for changes of shooting ports without spooking the quarry.

The adjustable ShadowBlocker blocks out sunlight from within, concealing movement and silhouettes.

New features for 2008 include a removable floor system and an 8-inch ground skirt for scent containment. A gear storage cargo net and cargo pocket are included and all fit in an improved backpack-carrying bag.

The blind height is 72 inches and the maximum width is 84 inches by 84 inches. The base dimension is 64 inches square, with sides expanding to 84 inches square.

The Smart Air ground blind weighs 24 pounds and is available in Mossy Oak Treestand or Mossy Oak Brush camouflage. The blind has loops for attaching real brush for maximum concealment. The Smart Air blind retails for $279.99. www.eastmanoutfitters.com



CABELA'S
Predator Den
The Predator Den is a hub-style blind covered with Predator Deception camo that disappears in just about any terrain. Brush holders line the roof for added concealment.

The material is a tough, weather-resistant 600-denier fabric. The interior is black to diminish shadows and silhouettes.

Hunters can see game approach from any angle through 12 la

rge zippered windows. Two gear pockets are inside for storing essential items and a hanger supplies a place to hold your bow while watching. The carrying case is outfitted with a backpack-style system. The blind weighs 17 pounds.

The Predator Den is 66 inches tall at the center. Its base is 70 inches by 77 inches. The suggested price is $129.99. www.cabelas.com



SUMMIT
Run-N-Gun
Summit, best known for tree stands, has now entered the ground blind market with the Run-N-Gun. This hunting blind features a super-sturdy construction with easy setup using a unique inverted high-tension adjustable framework. The blind is designed for the ultimate in quickness for setup and take down. A single strap cinches around the closed blind for quiet changes of location.

The blind porovides a 72-inch-plus shooting diameter with a camouflage design that is scaled to the ground. The exterior is a cotton/poly backed, weatherproof, water-resistant fabric. Multiple brush loops are placed in strategic locations for easy attachment of branches or foliage. The interior is black for maximum concealment. The windows have removable mesh and silent cam buckle straps that are adjustable to various configurations for multiple shooting positions.

The Run-N-Gun is 68 inches tall and has a 72-inch-square footprint. It weighs 20 pounds and retails for $279. www.summitstands.com



HUNTER'S SPECIALTIES
Backpacker
Hunter's Specialties offers a full line of ground blinds, but for extreme portable concealment, the new Backpacker is a good option.

The Backpacker features a sturdy aluminum frame covered with a dimensional die-cut leaf design fabric to maximize the camouflage effect. When set up, the blind stands 54 inches tall and extends 12 feet in length. This provides enough room for more than one hunter.

The blind can be set up or taken down in seconds and comes with a handy carrying case.

The Backpacker is available in Realtree AP and Advantage Max HD camo patterns. The suggested retail price is $49.99. www.hunterspec.com.



BANKS OUTDOORS
Stump 4-Man Pit Blind
This blind is designed to take all that Mother Nature has to dish out. The hard shell is made from Roto Molded heavy-duty polyethylene that is rigid enough to be left out all year long. It can handle the heavy weight load of snow and branches. It becomes a part of the terrain, allowing game to move in close.

The Stump Pit Blind is 76 inches in diameter, providing plenty of room for bowhunting. It is an ideal blind for introducing young hunters to the sport, providing warmth, comfort and concealment. The structure also can be used for storage in the off-season.

The Stump 4-Man Pit Blind retails for $1,550. The sturdy blind weighs 300 pounds and breaks down for shipment. www.banksoutdoors.com.

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