Tree Stand or Ground Blind: Which One is Right for You?
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Long before the invention of modern climbing tree stands, hang-on tree stands and, ladder stands, hunters were using ground blinds made from the surrounding foliage to enable them to get close to their chosen quarry. However, over the intervening years, the various types of tree stands have gained a tremendous amount of popularity with avid big game hunters and thus, tree stand designs have evolved from homemade wood and steel contraptions to sophisticated, and even elaborate, models made from new aluminum alloys which have greatly decreased their overall weight while maintaining their weight capacity. But, the same thing can be said for ground blinds. For instance, today, hunters who prefer to hunt from ground level instead of from a platform perched high above the ground now have many different modern types and models of ground blinds to choose from ranging from those that are highly portable to those that are meant to be left in place year round. However, as with most types of hunting gear, both tree stands and ground blinds have both advantages and disadvantages that may cause a hunter to choose one over the other.
Tree Stands - Why Use One?
Tree stands do a better job of dispersing a hunter’s scent well above the ground where it is far less likely to be detected by a game animal. However, tree stands also provide hunters with far greater freedom of movement since there are no walls for arrows to catch on or poles for guns to clank against and, they also offer hunters a far wider field of view which, in turn, enables them to see game approaching their stand from almost any angle.
Unfortunately, they can also leave the hunter exposed to the elements, as well as leaving them vulnerable to their chosen quarry spotting their movement when they raise their rifle or draw their bow from a holder. Both scent and movement are the two main causes of hunters being spotted by their quarry. Also, tree stands often require significantly more work to set up than ground blinds do and, of course, they require trees large enough to support the weight of both the tree stand and the hunter. Plus, if a climbing stand is chosen over a hang-on stand or ladder stand, then trees with very few limbs or no limbs no limb at all below the desired hunting height are also required.
Then, there is the issue of entering and exiting an elevated stand safely since hang-on tree stands require that a hunter use either screw-in, steel, tree steps or aluminum climbing sticks fastened to the side of their chosen tree to enable them to access their stand and, ladder stands require that a hunter climb a ladder with aluminum rungs which can be somewhat dangerous; especially if the steps or rungs are wet from morning dew or rain or, are covered in frost. Plus there is the issue of safety while hunting from an extreme height since the excitement of having a trophy within shooting range can cause a hunter to forget that they have a relatively small platform to stand on which can cause a hunter to fall out of their stand accidentally; thus sometimes resulting in serious injury or even death.
Ground Blinds - Why Use One?
On the other hand, fully enclosed ground blinds obviously eliminate the possibility of being spotted by game due to their opaque walls but, they also cause a hunter’s scent to be dispersed at ground level where it is far more likely to be detected by wary game animals. But, at the same time, they protect a hunter from the elements such as wind and rain and, they enable hunters to employ far more comfortable seats or chairs which can make spending hours sitting in the woods while waiting for game to wonder by far more pleasant.
Most portable ground blinds are constructed using very lightweight, hollow, aluminum poles which are used to support very lightweight fabric walls and thus, ground blinds are often significantly lighter than tree stands and, because they are generally designed to fold or roll up, they can be easily inserted into a fabric carry bag for easy transport.
But, due to their tent-like design, ground and hay bale blinds generally require a bit more work to assemble and erect than tree stands do. But, because they do not require a tree to elevate them or to support the hunter’s weight, ground blinds can be set up almost anywhere and thus, they are by far the best choice when hunting in open terrain. Plus, because ground blinds enable a hunter to effectively conceal themselves from game while remaining safely at ground level instead of perched high above it, many hunters feel far more secure and safe when hunting from a ground blind.
Ground blinds tend to hinder a hunter’s freedom of movement due to the enclosed space and, they also drastically limit a hunters field of view to one or more small windows and thus, they can sometimes cause a hunter to miss game approaching their blind until it’s very close. This can limit the time a hunter has to choose a shooting lane, raise their rifle or draw their bow, and then get their sights on target.
Which One Will You Choose?
So, as you can see, both tree stands and ground blinds have both advantages and disadvantages that can cause a hunter to choose one over the other. Consequently, many hunters have developed a distinct preference for tree stands while others have a distinct preference for ground blinds. You should also check out the different types of tree stands and blinds available first before making your final decision.
Overall, choosing one over the other tends to be a matter of personal choice influenced by several different factors such as safety as well as foliage and terrain. But, regardless of which one you choose, the fact is that either type provides a hunter with a distinct advantage over hunters who choose to hunt without employing either a tree stand or a ground blind.