How To Utilize A Turkey Hunting Blind
One of the major factors to terminate a turkey hunt quickly is movement by the hunter. Movement of a hand, tilt of head or shifting of feet can easily be seen by a keen-eyed turkey. This movement can alert the gobbler of some type of danger sending him in the opposite direction. New innovations in turkey hunting blinds have made it easy for turkey hunters to sit longer and be more comfortable in pursuit of wary gobblers.
Turkey ground blinds can help hide movements and allow turkey callers to move around inside the blind and call without fear of spooking turkeys. With blinds hunters can be more confident in their calling and sit longer while waiting on gobblers to make their final approach.
While some turkey hunters may shy away from blinds, pop up blinds are easy to carry in and can be set up in just a few minutes. For some turkey hunters blinds are as important as their shotgun, shells and turkey calls. Many hunters have discovered pop up blinds an important part in bagging a gobbler.
Selecting a Pop-Up Blind
There are several companies that make quality pop-up blinds for turkey hunting.
When selecting a blind look for a hub style blind. These style blinds are easy to pop out and allow more elbow and seating room.
“Pop-up blinds are great for taking along kids and new hunters”, mentions Johnny Ponder longtime turkey hunter and co-owner of Camp Callers, of Munford, Ala. “Blinds will allow youth hunters to move around some without fear of spooking the turkey.”
Lincoln Ala. turkey hunter, Bob Phillips agrees blinds are an excellent addition for helping youth hunters getting involved in turkey hunting. According to Phillips, turkeys don’t seem to pay any attention to the blind. He’s often had turkeys walk right past the blind without spooking or even notice the blind. Some hunters may brush-in the blind, but he has found it is not always necessary in most hunting situations.
When selecting the best ground blind for turkey to purchase, look for blinds that are waterproof, durable and can accommodate at least two to three people. A good starting size is a 60-inch square footprint with a 66-inch center height. This gives plenty of room for hunters with chairs and other gear and allows tall hunters to stand up and stretch.
Advantages of pop-up turkey hunting blinds are that they are lightweight to carry and are simple to set up. Along with concealment of movement they also provide protection from the elements be it sun, wind or rain during a hunt. On cold days a portable heater can be taken along in order to knock off the chill inside the blind.
Hunters should clear out brush, limbs, dry leaves or other objects that could make noise while moving feet inside the blind. Also hunters should wear dark camo or black jackets to help eliminate their silhouette inside the blind. Keep windows open a small amount to minimize the light entering the blind because turkeys may be able to detect movement inside the bind with extra light entering.
When approaching the blind in the pre-dawn darkness it is wise to carry a small flashlight or headlamp to assist in getting into position inside the blind. Since most windows use Velcro, open windows and adjust opening prior to beginning the turkey calling sequence.
Select a comfortable chair with arms like a directors’ chair. The arms give more comfort and a rigid shooting position.
Setting Up A Turkey Blind
“Using binoculars, I’ll scout fields or open areas ahead of turkey season to determine where turkeys are entering the field”, Phillips advised. “This will give me an idea of where to set up my blind.”
Some locations Phillips chooses for blind set-up are back corners of fields where hedgerows and wood-lines intersect. Also, areas where pines and hardwoods join can be productive. Blinds can be tucked back into the wood-line at the very edge of the opening or in a food plot.
Pop-up blinds can be set up almost anywhere turkeys can travel. Some hunters have set up in old logging roads and remote roads on hunting clubs where gobblers may frequent. Turkey hunters should scout dirt access roads for tracks and wing strutting marks. This can help determine where to setup a turkey blind.
When setting up pop-up turkey hunting blinds make certain windows in the blind are positioned in the direction turkeys are most likely to approach. Most blinds have several windows and blinds can be pivoted in order for windows to be in an optimal shooting position.
Once blind is in position always make sure to stake down corners and center portion of blinds to secure the blind. This allows for easier opening of doors and windows. This is added security to avoid flopping of fabric in wind or rain that could spook a turkey.
Calling from a Blind
The soft sides of the pop-up blinds do not affect the calling notes from turkey calls. Call as you normally would in open woods or fields.
“Because of the comfort and concealment turkey hunters tend to call too much in blinds” Phillips mentioned. “Only call as much as needed depending on the gobbler’s response.”
Hunters should listen and watch closely for an approaching gobbler and apply only enough calling techniques to lure in the gobbler. Even in the bind less calling is more effective.
Phillips advises once the gobbler has responded to the call, he knows your position and additional calling is not required. Allow the gobbler time to respond and to approach.
Creating Natural Blinds
Instead of using pop-up blinds hunters may choose to use limbs and brush to create a natural blind. Small brush tops, trimming bushes, broom straw or other natural objects can be used to create a blind. These can be piled or positioned in front of a large diameter tree.
Natural turkey hunting blinds can be designed to use sitting on the ground or with a small chair or stool. Natural blinds should be constructed high enough to conceal the hunter for either seated or shooting over the top. Natural blinds can be designed in a” V” shape so the hunter can be concealed on both sides.
Natural blinds are easy to construct using a pair of small limb snippers for trimming off brush and limbs. Hunters may want to construct natural blinds a couple of weeks prior to opening day. As the season progresses natural blinds may need to be spruced up or enhanced for optimum coverage.
Natural blind locations are similar to other locations turkeys may approach such as corners of green fields, hardwood pine intersections or the edge of old logging roads. Hunters should make certain natural blinds locations allow for shooting positions from any direction turkeys may approach.
Pop-up blinds and natural blinds are a tool to enhance a hunter’s experience and to complete your gobbler tags for the spring season. They are not a magical potion. Calling techniques and woodsmanship are still required to get your turkey into range.
This article first appeared in the March 2020 print issue of Great Days Outdoors Magazine. For more great hunting and fishing content for the deep South, subscribe to Great Days Outdoors print and digital editions or click the image to download this issue.