If you’re a bowhunter, you’ve probably logged most of your hours 20 feet off the ground in a treestand. I know I have.
Although I gun hunted from the ground for years, it wasn’t until much later in life that I started bowhunting from the ground. And honestly, I wish I had done it sooner.
There are both pros and cons when it comes to being on the same level as the deer, but here are a few things I have learned over the past years.
1. There are multiple ways to hunt from the ground, the most popular being a pop-up blind. You’ll want to make sure you can come to full draw without bumping limb tips, and that your broadhead clears the window opening. I prefer a shorter AMO because of this, but really that’s a personal opinion. Although you won’t have a 360° view, you’ll have the ability to move around more without being seen. Pop up blinds are also great for cold weather when you want an extra blanket…and heater.
The option I prefer on public land is to build a natural blind out of whatever brush/dead trees I can find, OR simply take advantage of natural cover. I’ve shot several deer simply kneeling behind a big tree, one being my very first traditional deer. The rush is like no other.
This type of hunting forces you to focus. You’ll need to be constantly alert and aware of every movement you make. When you move it needs to be slow and calculated.
2. Your scent will likely be harder to mask. You’ll want to play the wind more than anything, especially if hunting natural cover.
3. Wearing a facemask or facepaint does help in those dawn/dusk moments. This is particularly crucial if you’re turkey hunting, as they’ll pick you out in a second.
4. Practice shooting from a sitting position, as well as a kneeling position. If you’re going to bring a chair, practice from that chair. I hate bringing extra gear especially on public land so I almost always kneel to shoot. Practice how you hunt!
5. Hunting from the ground is a great way to get newbies and kids involved in the hunt. I currently take my one year old daughter deer hunting with me and hunting from the ground is really our only option.
6. Be very aware of drawing your bow, especially in a natural blind where you aren’t as hidden. I’ve always tried to get ready and draw while the deer has its head down or looking away as they’re less likely to spot me. Deer can jump the string when spooked, which results in bad shots or a miss.
Ultimately, ground hunting can be more difficult than a treestand, but on certain properties it can really pay off.
By Beka Garris
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