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Prepared for a Long Sit

Portable blinds can be set up close to feed piles or high traffic areas. • Credit: James Smedley
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Prepared for a Long Sit

Waiting for deer is a tried and true tactic for hunters

Tom Armstrong points to an elevated clearing at the base of a steep-sided, flat-topped mountain, typical of the dramatic landforms erupting from the rolling farmland west of Thunder Bay. He says it’s a high traffic area, with does stopping at feed piles along the bush line and bucks typically cruising through. It’s just before first light of a snowy November morning when I step out of the truck and start up the rise.

“Watch for deer going in. I’ve bumped them a few times on my way to the blind,” says Tom before heading off to his tree stand less than a kilometre away. I creep along the bush line, peer out into the deserted clearing, then scurry over to a portable nylon camouflage ground blind set up on the opposite side of the field.

hunter in the woods

Portable blinds can be set up close to feed piles or high-traffic areas.

Concealed and Comfortable

Rather than go out in search of deer, waiting for deer to come to us is a tried and true tactic. Patience is a virtue, and this certainly applies to waiting for a Whitetail to appear within range. Any hunter who’s been on a stand in late November knows it’s a lot easier to be patient when we are warm and dry. The beauty of hunting out of a ground blind is we can sit comfortably concealed for long periods of time. And most of the time it’s a long wait.

inside a ground blind

I slip into the blind and prepare for the morning sit. Today the temperature is a little below zero. Not only does the blind conceal my movements and protect me from the breeze, but it also allows me creature comforts like a folding chair and a portable propane heater.

deer hunter sitting in ground blind

Blinds allow hunters to use propane heaters and shield them from cold weather.

I unzip front and side windows, adjust my shooting stick, and practice aiming at likely areas with my rifle. I also work the area with my rangefinder, noting the yardage to areas where deer might likely present themselves. I pull out a rattle bag, a grunt tube, and a doe bleat canister, which I plan to use every half-hour or so to try and attract an animal. Finally, I light the pilot of my propane heater and pull out my thermos of tea and some snacks for easy and silent access throughout the day.

Ready to Wait

I lean back in my chair and settle in for the long haul. As the morning light spreads over the landscape, my peripheral vision detects movement. I slowly turn my head to the left and see a large brown animal about 15 yards from the blind and moving quickly. The eight-point buck looks directly at me as it moves swiftly across the field. It’s now or never. I steady my rifle on my shooting stick, aim for the vitals and squeeze the trigger.

“I’d just poured my first coffee when I heard the shot,” says Tom as he steps out of his truck close to where I’m attaching my buck tag to the antlers of a beautiful specimen.

hunter with harvested ontario whitetail deer

James Smedley with a small 8-point buck shot from a ground blind.

“Didn’t take long,” I say with a grin.

Being concealed and comfortable in a ground blind makes waiting a lot easier – even if the wait is much shorter than anticipated.

(All photo credits: James Smedley)

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