By Josh Boyd
The use of a blind for turkey hunting offers a significant number of advantages to today’s hunter. From keeping dry in a downpour, to concealing less than stealthy youth hunters on their first outing to the spring turkey woods, the use of ground blinds has opened up opportunities to many hunters that would have otherwise gone unseized upon.
The role that ground blinds play within the repertoire of the avid turkey hunter varies from one individual to the next. However, it is safe to say that the vast majority of today’s turkey hunters own at least one.
Unfortunately, selecting a ground blind is not always a one size fits all type of endeavor. This might not be in a literal sense, such as it would when purchasing clothing. But, different circumstances warrant different measures when chasing springtime gobblers, and the use of a blind for the situation at hand is no exception.
With that being the case, what criteria should a turkey hunter consider before purchasing a ground blind, or even before choosing which of their blinds to load in the truck for a weekend of chasing longbeards?
Your Weapon of Choice Makes A Difference
When selecting a ground blind, much of the matter comes down to the necessity for space or a lack of a need thereof. This is especially true when bowhunting for turkey. If you prefer to chase tough toms with a stick and string, you must weigh the need for ample space when drawing your bow, into the ground blind selection equation.
There are far fewer ways to miss a gobbler with a bow, than to be forced to draw, anchor, aim, and release within cramped confines. This is further exacerbated when hunting out of a blind that features small window openings with little vertical clearance.
When bowhunting for turkey, it is highly advisable to locate a blind that is suited to your archery needs. This often comes in the form of a spacious blind, with generous window offerings that present variable adjustability in their openings.
On the other hand, if hunting toms with the use of a trusty shotgun is more your style, the need for excessive space might not be as pronounced in your specific case, making blind selection less tedious.
It is also of benefit to have an idea of how many hunters will be occupying your blind at any given time. If you will be hunting by yourself, then a blind’s size constraints are seldom an issue. However, if you prefer to head to the woods with a hunting buddy in tow, then this is worth taking into consideration.
It is quite easy to become cramped when two adult hunters are sitting elbow to elbow in a blind for a lengthy period, while attempting to remain hidden. Add two shotguns, a couple of bags of calls, various other gear, and the space taken up by the chairs in which both individuals sit, and you have the recipe for claustrophobia.
If you have prior knowledge that you will be sharing your blind with another hunter this turkey season, it is never a bad idea to spend a few extra dollars to opt for a slightly more spacious blind. When you are both seated comfortably within, you will surely consider it money well spent.
Taking the Next Generation
There is likely no greater joy in the spring turkey woods than taking a youth hunter on one of their earliest outings. The smile on their faces and the pure excitement over every aspect of nature that they exude, are sure to bring about fond recollections of your early hunting career.
However, it doesn’t take long to figure out that the words “sit still” or “don’t move” have little meaning in a child’s vocabulary. Their pent up excitement at a new experience such as turkey hunting seldom allows for a stealthy hunt.
Because of this, the most difficult to overcome challenge that you must face when mentoring a youth turkey hunter is often concealment. This is precisely where owning a sizable blind pays dividends.
Small blinds typically provide little depth for allowing hunters to sit back away from window openings. This results in a greater chance of turkeys being able to pick up on wayward movement, much of which is to be expected when mentoring a youth hunter.
A larger diameter blind allows a hunter, or hunters, to sit tucked away at a further distance from the blind’s window openings. This lets the shade that is cast within the blind conceal a significant amount of movement, allowing a child to move about from time to time, with little worry of being picked off by wary toms.
A Case Where Bigger Isn’t Always Better
Though up to this point, we have discussed the value of larger blinds as a whole when turkey hunting, this is not a standard rule of thumb, nor does it stifle the value of a small single man blind within the spring turkey woods.
In fact, there are occasions when less is more. At times, turkeys do not always follow the playbook. They suddenly deviate from the patterns of which they have held for weeks leading up to season, leaving us to scratch our heads in confusion.
When this occurs, we are often left with a misplaced blind that does us little good as it sits. Our only viable choice becomes to refocus our efforts elsewhere, whether that is 300 yards or a mile away. In this case, a small single man blind is the perfect companion, as it can be packed up, stowed in its carrying bag, and moved to a new location in a matter of minutes, all without the excess heft of larger models.
For this reason, if you typically hunt solo and favor more of a run and gun type approach, there is likely not any added value in purchasing a blind of more sizable dimensions than what is necessary. In going with a smaller, single man blind, you minimize the costs associated with your purchase and maximize mobility.
A Matter Of Preference
Selecting a blind for turkey hunting is much like selecting any other piece of gear that you will be taking to the woods with you. You must be aware of the circumstances at hand, and choose the blind that best fits your preferences. By doing so, you are sure to come away with a blind that will be a constant companion on hunts for years to come.