Imagine relaxing into your sofa after a hard week. You have a drink in the cup holder, and you’re nice and warm. You get out a book you’ve been meaning to finish or catch up on college football since you couldn’t watch the games last Saturday.
Now imagine you get to be hunting at the same time. That’s the benefit ground blinds bring to the table. They’re comfortable and roomy. You can really kick back and enjoy the hunt.
Not all ground blinds are made the same, though. For us there are four that really stand apart. First, take some time and review the various features of ground blinds, what makes them special and what you can do with them. Then you can look at our reviews of our top four and decide for yourself.
Our Top Blind Picks
Ground blinds vs tree stands
Despite what the majority of hunters would probably say, neither blinds nor stands are necessarily better than the other. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages for different situations and strategies.
Stands normally offer more visibility than blinds. Excepting ladder stands, they’re also more versatile. Both of those make stands better for someone trying out new spots, or maybe a new hunter who can’t predict where deer will be coming from.
Blinds, on the other hand, offer a lot more room and comfort. If you pick the right blind, you should be able to stand up and spread out much better than in a stand. This isn’t just comfortable. For a bowhunter, it means a better, more accurate shot. Some hunters even drag couches into their blinds, though, so the comfort factor is a big deal as well. If you’ve got a great spot you plan to use over and over, or if you plan to spend long days hunting, consider a blind.
What to look for
You need it roomy
Like we just mentioned, one of the biggest advantages of a ground blind is its extra space. So, if you’re looking for one make sure it has enough extra space. A bowhunter’s stance requires a lot of room, and drawing the bow takes up even more. The blind should be tall and wide enough that you can comfortably draw a bow. The windows should also be at the right height so that you can make an accurate standing shot.
Lots of QUIET openings are essential
Maybe the biggest disadvantage of ground blinds is the lack of visibility. A good blind minimizes this by putting plenty of windows all around the blind.
You can’t have these windows open all the time, however, or else the deer will see you. You open them when your quarry’s in range. If the window opens with loud, tearing velcro, though, they defeat the purpose. The deer will hear you and run off. Make sure whatever blind you pick has a lot of windows that give you a good view, but that are also quiet to open.
What type of camo?
Ground blinds come in a wide range of camouflage patterns, and you can usually even order the same blind in different designs. The main strategy behind a blind is to mask your existence to the deer eye, so the right camo is pretty important.
Select a blind that comes in the right camo for your area. Dynamic fall colors like reds and yellows will stick out in the Mountain West any time of the year but especially if there’s snow on the ground. A green stand is conspicuous if all the leaves have fallen. Know the colors where you’ll be hunting and choose accordingly.
Easy to setup, take down and lug around
Ground blinds are a lot like tents, and we all know the range of convenience in tent setup: from piece of cake to infuriating. Ground blinds are similar, but there are more detrimental consequences of an inconvenient setup. A ground blind that’s difficult to set up means more time doing it. This means more time to make noise and be detected. You’ll most likely be setting up your blind in twilight or even dark, so it could also mean losing pieces or setting it up incorrectly.
The portability matters too. Since they’re roomier, ground blinds allow you to bring more gear. If the blind itself is bulky and heavy, though, it kind of ruins that. Make sure whatever blind you choose isn’t going to keep you from bringing other equipment you need.
Accessories–Bow holders and chairs
Ground blinds come in stripped down and basic, full of fancy features, and everything in between. If there’s an accessory you’d feel were necessary in your tree stand, you might also want to find a blind that has it. Some ground blinds come with comfortable chairs to set up inside. There are also things like bow holders–even cup holders.
Building a natural ground blind
If you’re strapped for cash and have a little bit of extra time on your hands, building a natural ground blind is always a great option.
Before anything else, figure out your dimensions. You want a blind that will be tall and wide enough to be comfortable, not just for sitting but for taking an accurate shot as well.
Then, you need to cut the supports. Use saplings that are a couple inches thick, and cut them in your desired dimensions. Cut six or seven saplings at your desired height and eight to ten at your desired width.
Now you’re ready to build the walls. The first wall must be the most sturdy because it will brace the other walls. Basically, build a rectangle with two of your vertical saplings and two of your horizontal saplings. Then, use two more saplings as diagonal supports to prop it up. Use strong twine or some kind of biodegradable wire to lash the saplings together.
Build the back wall next. This is more or less the same, but add another vertical sapling to serve as a door frame. Attach the back wall to the front wall with your horizontal saplings. Lash them together well.
Once the walls are up, cover the blind. Find small leafy branches and weave them through the frame you’ve made until the stand completely masks you to any animal outside. Make sure you cut anything protruding into the stand. You might accidentally brush against it and make noise.
You’re finally ready to set up your chair and begin your hunt. Consider waiting a couple of days, though, to give the animals time to get used to your blind’s presence.
Some tips from the experts
Ground blinds make great backups
Ground blinds are super portable. They’re light, break down compactly and fit in small bags. This means that even if you’re planning to hunt from a stand, you can carry your blind along as a plan B. Many times something might make your stand hunt impossible: weather, wind, a fallen tree, whatever. If you’ve brought you’re blind, you don’t have to just pack it up and go home.
Blind your blind
Don’t just pop your blind up in the middle of a field. It might be camo patterned, but deer still notice giant cubes that come out of nowhere. Mask your blind with foliage. Put its back in some shrubs or use branches from an above tree to obscure its shape.
Keep it dark
Aside from not using your cell phone too much, this means closing most of windows at any given time so minimal light enters the blind. It’s often a good idea to only leave windows open on one side so you don’t totally fill the blind with light. Work on using your hearing to know when animals are close.
Set your blind up early
Animals notice things that change in their environment. Even if your blind is well camouflaged, they might avoid that area for a little while just because it’s different. If you set your blind up early, maybe even before the season, the wildlife has time to get used to the blind and continue their habits in that place.
Our Top Picks In Detail
Herter’s XL Ground Blind
Herter’s XL ground blind made our list first and foremost for its incredible value. It’s a great quality stand that still manages to find itself in one of the lower price ranges on the market.
Another thing that makes this stand impressive is just how easy it is to assemble. It features a five-hub system with attached poles. This isn’t just great because you can literally put it together in a couple of minutes, but you also won’t lose any of the poles in the woods taking it down after dark.
Herter’s XL ground blind also lives up to its name when it comes to space. This stand can fit two people if you want it to, so if you’re hunting alone it’ll be extra spacious. For one, this is simply more comfortable. But for a bowhunter this can also mean a more successful hunt. More room lets you get in a better stance to take a more accurate shot, and you’ll be less likely to make any noise standing up.
Speaking of noise, this blind has some great innovations that make it really quiet. The sliding window panels are really cool. There’s no velcro or zippers, so there’s no noise to open the windows. Deer can be spooked by even the smallest sound, so this is a game changer. The windows give you a 360-degree view as well.
Now, it’s possible that Herter’s managed to get the price of this model down by skimping on accessories. The carrying bag is small and only has one strap. The blind itself folds down nicely, though, and on the whole, this blind is portable. It’s hard to find something better for the price.
- Easy assembly
- Quiet sliding window panels
- 360-degree view
- Spacious interior
- Carrying bag
The Zonz Specialist
The Zonz Specialist is a high-performance ground blind made by Cabela’s. That means it’s a store brand, but don’t let that fool you. Cabela’s took the time to make an effective product that rivals any other on the market.
The Zonz Specialist is a breeze to put together. Unfortunately, the instructions aren’t that informative. The assembly is so easy, though, that it doesn’t matter. The blind features a five-hub system and poles that fit together so naturally, you can do it in a few minutes.
The design is a multi-colored camo that blends in a wide variety of woodlands. It’s especially good for the early season when there are still leaves on the trees. The material is also waterproof and stitched to be durable.
At 74” tall the stand will let you straighten up to get your perfect stance and perfect shot. It’s got wide mesh windows as well, which also let you shoot accurately. It has eight windows in total, two on each side for a 360-degree view. Two of the windows are extra large and feature silent sliding panels, so you don’t have to worry about scaring the deer away with noise.
The Zonz Specialist even maximizes convenience. The triangular outer doors are easy to get in and out of. You won’t have to worry about messing with your stand, so you can focus more on the hunt. This is even more important for bowhunters because they will changing positions and strategies more throughout their longer seasons.
- Easy assembly
- 360-degree view
Primos Double Bull Bullpen
Primos is a brand that’s well known in the hunting community for making expert calls. With their Double Bull Bullpen Ground Blind, they’ve taken to tackling another deer defense: their sight. It’s a blind that keeps you covered comfortably to give you the best chance on the hunt.
The Mossy Oak Obsession camo pattern available on this stand is really cool. It looks stylish, yeah, but more importantly, it’s a dynamic pattern that dissolves into the background. Plus, the Double Bull Bullpen is made of a cotton/polyester blend that’s particularly tough and resistant to the elements. The fabric is also lightweight, and you can fold it compactly. The blind is incredibly portable.
This blind has wide windows that provide a good shot, but be careful. The windows only provide a 180-degree view. If you know where to put your blind and where your deer will be coming from, this isn’t a problem. For someone who’s expected game to come from all directions, though, this can really hinder your hunt.
Primos knows sound, and they made sure their blind was quiet as well as invisible. The windows have sliding panels, so they don’t make a sound. The setup is easy and quick, so you don’t rustle around too much in the dark. The poles are not only simple to snap together, but they’re tough. This stand can last you season after season.
- Effective camo patterns
- Lightweight and portable
- Easy assembly
- 180-degree view only
Ameristep Silent Brickhouse
The Ameristep Silent Brickhouse is one of the more innovative blinds on our list. They’ve added a lot of features to this blind that make it ideal for a bowhunter.
The first of these features is the carbon-enhanced Shadowguard. This invention keeps your movements inside the blind concealed. More than anything else, the deer eye is sensitive to movement, so even your shadow standing up can spook them. This blind makes sure that doesn’t happen.
The doors and windows on the Silent Brickhouse give rise to its name. They’re quiet as you can get. This is while you’re using it, though. The assembly is a little more complicated than other stands, and if you’re setting it up in the dark, you might accidentally make some noise.
There are ten windows in total, so you get a great view. The blind is also lightweight. You won’t have trouble carrying it in and out of the woods. The Silent Brickhouse can be a great option for bowhunters to want to try new spots this season and need maximum stealth.
- Lightweight and portable
- Ten windows
- Complicated assembly