Pop-up camouflage blinds work great to hide you, and especially to cover your moves as you draw your bow. But more times than not, no matter how well you hide the tent and brush it in with sticks and vegetation, deer will see it and shy from it. This is especially true if you try to pop up a blind a week or 2 before you plan to hunt a spot.

Does seem to be more blind-shy than bucks. But when an old doe sees you blind, smells a rat, and starts stamping and blowing before flagging off, any bucks nearby become wired and alerted to something in the area just ain’t right. They’ll vacate the area or at least skirt it, dooming your strategy.

That’s why I often to leave the tent blind at home and take my chances bowhunting from a natural brush blind. Killing a mature whitetail buck with a bow from a ground hide is the ultimate challenge, and the ultimate accomplishment if you can pull it off. Here’s how.

  • Set up downwind or crosswind of where you expect to see deer.
  • Do not set up where deer will walk straight toward you through the woods. If an old doe looks up and catches you move or sees you as a strange blob that wasn’t there yesterday, she’ll either spook outright and blow up, or back off and skirt you. Any buck behind her will do the same.
  • Rather, set up near a trail or in a funnel where deer will walk perpendicular to your blind, or quartering slightly away from it. Less chance an animal will bust you, and you’ll have a better broadside shot.
  • Keep your blond small and tight, about 50 inches high and 30 inches wide. You can sit in it on a small stool, or stand with just enough cover.
  • Use what natural cover you have to build it: sticks, pine boughs, cedars in CRP, corn stalks, switch-grass around fields…It’s all about looking small and blending in.

  • Sometimes I just stand behind a tree about 20 inches wide. I put another wide tree or, better, a copse of several trees 3 or 4 feet behind me for background cover. Regardless of where you set up, good back cover to break your silhouette is a must.
  • Build a small screen of sticks and brush to the sides of your body, but again keep it tight and small.
  • I like to pack in and sit on a small tripod stool. It gives me a couple feet of elevation to see deer walking through the woods, and that’s huge. You need that extra height and visibility, and it’s easy to draw and shoot from the stool.
  • I sit to take a load off until the deer start to move. Then I often stand and remain standing the first or last hour of shooting light. I screw a utility hook or arm-type bow holder in a tree or log close. When I see a buck I lift my bow off the hook with little noise and movement, 2 big keys to success when you’re trying to whack a big deer from ground zero.