Cheap Deer Blind Ideas
Deer hunting becomes an increasingly expensive hobby with every passing year. While I enjoy some premium hunting gear, I often find myself wondering if we haven’t jumped the shark. If you trust those shyster outdoor writers, you’ll find yourself trying to afford a thousand-dollar rifle (don’t forget that you should be willing to spend at least as much again on the scope), another thousand dollars worth of Goretex and Primaloft clothing, and at least another thousand dollars worth of climbing sticks, treestands, harnesses, and a pack to carry them all in. I hope your pockets aren’t empty yet, because you still need a place to actually use all of that gear! That’s where cheap deer blind ideas are beneficial.
I’ve joked for years that many people aren’t into deer hunting nearly so much as they’re into acquiring deer hunting gear. And I suppose there’s nothing wrong with that. Both hobbies are ultimately “pointless” activities that are an end in themselves. If buying gear makes you happy, go for it. But if you find money or the lack thereof interfering with your plans to shoot deer, I’m here to tell you that you actually need very little money to be a successful hunter. The price of admission is essentially just a hunting license and a gun, assuming you already have shoes on your feet, clothes on your back, and a reliable vehicle.
If you don’t have those things, what are you doing reading a hunting article?
Beyond a gun, a few items really do drastically improve your odds of success without costing much extra. A good hiding place, whether in the form of a ground blind or an elevated deer stand, tops the “nice to have” list.
In this article, we’ll discuss some cheap deer blind ideas. We’ll start with the cheapest possible option…
Going Without A Blind
Do you need a ground blind to hunt deer? No. Deer aren’t blessed with particularly sharp eyesight. They live in thick underbrush which limits visibility, and the organisms that they eat can’t really hide or run away from them. They’ve just never had the need to safeguard against threats from a distance. They do have excellent hearing and a great sense of smell, and they have a wide field of vision and good sensitivity to movement. But they’re not really equipped to spot trouble from a distance. For millennia, as long as they could hear, smell, or see a predator before it got within pouncing range, they could most likely avoid predation for long enough to pass on their genes. Especially if you’re hunting with a gun, you’re able to effectively hunt a deer beyond a distance at which it’s able to spot you. Even with a bow, the odds are in your favor if you can remain still.
I have killed better than 50 deer, most of them on pressured public land, and over half of them have been taken from the ground without a blind. Going without a blind can be a major advantage. You don’t have to carry it around, which means you can walk further searching for good hunting opportunities. You don’t have to set it up, which means you can position yourself closer to bedding without making as much motion and noise. You’re not enclosed, which means you can see and hear your surroundings better. And, perhaps most importantly, you don’t have to store the thing in your already over-crowded garage or gear closet.
The only real disadvantage of foregoing a blind is that it requires you to sit still. And most people have completely lost the ability to get comfortable and enjoy sitting still for a long time. We fidget. We scratch. We check our phones. We get bored and decide to unwrap that snack cake we brought along in case for some reason we couldn’t make it from lunch to dinner. Without a blind, all of those things will cost you a chance at a deer.
Also, even if you can sit still, sometimes movement is required at times when movement is incredibly inconvenient. The popularization of bowhunting in North America gave birth to the ground blind in the first place, since it requires you to draw the bow in close proximity to game. Drawing a bow necessitates a good deal of movement, and even if you’re an experienced hunter who knows when and how to draw a bow in the vicinity of game, a lot of getting away undetected comes down to sheer luck.
The other drawback, which isn’t as big of a deal in my mind, is that you don’t have that extra layer of protection from the elements that a ground blind offers. I personally do not hunt in howling wind or driving rain, because I hunt to have a good time and those conditions generally preclude that. Besides, I’ve never had much luck in really nasty weather. Squalls aside, modern hunting clothing generally does its job well enough that an extra layer of protection isn’t necessary most of the time.
That said, sometimes a blind is nice. I remember one hunt several years ago where I woke up at camp to steady, cold rain and really dreadful sinus issues. After a little deliberation, I decided that I could let myself be persuaded to climb into an old box blind with a heater, a jetboil, and a supply of throat lozenges and tea bags. I spent a surprisingly pleasant morning brewing hot tea, thumbing through a paperback, and listening to the rain fall on a tin roof while watching an old logging road. Around 10am, the rain broke, and while I didn’t shoot anything there was some deer movement. I’d have missed that movement if it hadn’t been for the comfort provided by that old box blind.
With all of that kept in mind, if you’re on a budget you should definitely give hunting without a blind a shot. I have found that with firearms or a crossbow, a blind is more of a hindrance than a help in many situations.
Building A Ground Blind
If you simply can’t hunt without some form of concealment, many times it’s cheaper to build a blind than to buy one, particularly if the blind will be in a stationary location. Once upon a time I constructed a lot of makeshift ground blinds in areas that I knew were good locations, and I still occasionally will put one together.
Building A Ground Blind With Natural Brush
If you’ve got the tools and the time, and if it’s allowed on the property where you’re hunting, a natural ground blind is hard to beat among cheap deer blind ideas . If you go this route, here are some tips.
First, go big. Make the blind bigger than you think it needs to be, and use the biggest materials possible to build it. For a one-man blind, I like to scratch out a 6 ft circle on the ground. This allows me to sit in the center and have 3 ft of space for my legs or to draw my bow wherever I face. Don’t stick a few branches in the ground and call it a blind. Take off your jacket, spit on your hands, and drag deadfalls from the area to construct the blind. They’ll last longer and do a better job hiding you.
Use preexisting cover as a base to build on. I like to use a large tree, rootball, deadfall, or some other large structure as back cover. This reduces the amount of work required.
Also, consider building the blind via subtraction vs addition. IE, find thick cover and carve out a hole in it instead of piling up structure. I’ve killed several deer by hiding inside a cedar tree or other densely vegetated tree that I had snipped a few limbs from to create a hole that I could back up in.
If you’re building a brush blind, a cheap roll of burlap and some paracord can be your best friend. Permanent construction it isn’t, but burlap can be used to quickly and cheaply provide a layer of concealment from a whitetail’s eyes. You can pay extra for the stuff with the camouflage print on it, but it isn’t necessary. You’re going to be brushing it in anyway.
While a brush blind is cheap, it’s labor intensive to make a good one and they don’t provide any real protection from the elements. If you want something to protect you from the wind and rain, you’ll need to construct something more substantial.
Using Old Pallets Or Lumber To Build A Deer Blind
I’ve built a lot of blinds from pallets, old fences, remodeled decks, and other scrap materials. If you’ve got a truck or trailer and some basic tools and carpentry knowledge, you can build a nice blind with a minimum cash investment.
You can find materials in construction dumpsters, on the side of the road, or on internet classifieds ads. Pallets are perhaps the easiest material to work with since they’re already in a panel type format, but increasingly they’re hard to source. If you want plans on how to build your own pallet blind, we wrote an article about that here. The outdoor store I worked at initially threw them out, but now they generally send them back to the warehouse for reuse. Awesome for the environment, I suppose, but tough luck for frugal hunters.
If you build your own blind, keep in mind that it will last longer if you account for moisture. Scrap lumber is often not treated for use outside. If possible, keep the wood off of the ground or use treated wood for at least the bottom couple of feet. Building out your roof so that it overhangs a couple of feet will also make your structure last longer. Scrap tin or shingles on the roof are better than paint or sealant, and paint or sealant is better than bare wood. Finally, a bit of tyvek or builder’s tarp can help protect the wood and block wind on a cold day.
Screws will also do a far better job holding your blind together than nails will. If you’re lucky and patient, hardware will be your only real cost, so don’t scrimp on it.
Upcycling Existing Structures
Upcycling an existing structure is another one of the best cheap deer blind ideas. One lease my dad and I were in made excellent use of (well cleaned) portable toilets. All that was required was a sawzall to cut a few shooting windows and an old metal folding chair to sit on, and you had a surprisingly warm and functional deer blind.
I’ve also seen blinds made from stacks of tractor tires, shipping containers, old chicken coops, small storage sheds, and even kid’s play houses! I also hunted one “stand” that was simply a large table stood up on its side against a barbed wire fence. The owner had hit it with a little spray paint, but I really wonder if that was necessary. If you think broadly enough, almost anything can be pressed into service as a deer blind.
Pop Up Deer Blinds
The trouble with building your own ground blind is that they are permanent affairs. For some spots, this is fine. If you have a good funnel that goes through your property that doesn’t change from year to year, a permanent blind is great. But deer movement can be dynamic, and sometimes you just have to move around a bit on a piece of property to find where the hot spots are. When you’re on a budget and trying to be mobile, nothing beats a good pop up ground blind. These models are smaller, lighter, and cheaper than the nicer hub-style blinds you usually see.
Manufactured “Cheap” Deer Blinds
Cheap is a relative term. What may be cheap to you isn’t necessarily cheap to me. For the purposes of picking some manufactured deer blinds, the definition of cheap for this article is under $1,000. I know that is still a lot of money, but in the world of manufactured deer blinds, it’s on the lower tier. When you factor in your time acquiring or buying building materials, building the blind, maintaining the blind, and repairing the blind (because it’s cheap!) you may find that the picks below are a bargain.
Ameristep Doghouse Lightweight Ground Blind
- Patented 3D Edge ReLeaf trim breaks up hard edges for a fully brushed-in look
- ShadowGuard™ coating eliminates shadows and silhouettes
- Shoot-through mesh porthole covers included
- Durashell™ Plus fabric shell with matte finish
- Includes convenient backpack carrying case
- Easy setup and takedown
- 8 window openings
Sun Dolphin 5 Wall Hunting Blind
- Used by hunters year around
- Fast and easy set-up
- Transport by pickup truck or assemble onsite
- Provides superior 360 visibility
- Window awnings protect against rain and snow
- Maintenance-free, durable, UV-protected High-Density Polyethylene construction keeps you warm and dry
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
Millennium Treestands Buck Hut Box Blind with Tower Platform
- Blind is constructed of heavy duty water-resistant soft shell
- Black windows and black interior for ultimate concealment
- Roomy interior with up to 7 foot height for standing shots
- Configured to allow for (1) or (2) 360 Revolution seats to be added
- Multi-configuration windows for rifle, crossbow or vertical bow hunting
- Each window has adjustable height shooting rest
- Tower has two adjustable legs for leveling on uneven ground
- Heavy duty powder coat steel construction
- Comes with removable platform pad
- Includes stabilizing anchoring kit
Maverick Blinds 4-Panel Gunner Blind
- 4 plexiglass windows
- 360° visibility
- Durable plastic cover
- Year-round performance
- UV-resistant finish
Booner 5-Panel Dagger HW Hunting Blind
- Five 22″L x 10″W plexiglass windows
- 3/16″ HD polyethylene construction
- UV-resistant finish
Maverick Blinds 6-Shooter Blind
- Can be easily set up and taken down
- Five windows allow for open view
- Heavy-duty, UV-protected HD polyethylene construction
Deer Blind FAQs
Do ground blinds help with scent control?
Yes! No! Maybe…
Scent control is second only to politics as a topic guaranteed to raise the temperature of a hunting lodge. Some hunters will maintain that the only way a ground blind could contain human scent would be for it to be completely airtight. Others will insist that while it may be impossible to completely contain your scent, a blind helps keep some of those odor-causing molecules floating towards a deer. I think it’s safe to say that a ground blind definitely can’t hurt if you’re worried about scent control. If you’re really concerned about scent control, consider an ozone generator.
How to brush in a ground blind?
Thoroughly! If you’re brushing in a blind, more is better. It’s also better to tuck a blind into existing brush than to try and build up brush around the blind. Consider cutting a hole in a thicket and erecting a blind in that hole. This way, brush will continue to grow up around the blind year after year. You can trim it back as it starts to block shooting lanes. This provides much better concealment than sticking a few limbs in the ground around a blind.
What is the best ground blind chair?
Personally, I don’t think there’s ever been a better hunting chair than a Waldrop Pac Seat, whether you’re in a blind or not. The Waldrop Pac Seat comes with shoulder, chest, and waist straps; you can adjust the lean angle for more comfort; and it can be used to pack out deer quarters. It’s a phenomenal piece of equipment and I use mine regularly for hunting large and small game as well as for a camping and fishing chair.
The only downside of the Pac Seat is it doesn’t swivel. If you want a swivel chair so that you can easily and quietly hunt 365 degrees around you, the Millennium Blind Chair is the best in the industry. I’ve spent thousands of comfortable hours in millennium treestands and boat seats, and this chair has that trademark comfort and a silent swivel mechanism. It’s also rated to 400 lbs, making it perfect for larger hunters or ones who frequently end up with a kid on their lap. Finally, it’s adjustable in height so that you’re never left looking over or under your deer blind windows.
Final Thoughts On Cheap Deer Blind Ideas
You can spend as much money on a deer blind as you’d like. We’ve done write-ups in the past on blinds that cost more than my first truck! Blinds like that (and the heaters, cook stoves, and ball game radios I’ve seen hunters furnish them with) are awesome, but you don’t need them to have a great weekend at camp. A budget or DIY deer blind will keep you comfortable and concealed for long enough to kill a deer, so hurry up and consider our cheap deer blind ideas before the season starts!
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