Believe it or not, it is possible to shoot a deer with a bow from the ground. There I said it. I know its not fashionable nor logical and it sure isn’t easy, but it can be done. I unfortunately had to put this to the test for the first 4 years of my independent bow hunting career. I was not allowed tree stands on my hunting land, so I was forced to learn to bowhunt from the ground and I certainly did learn a few things. But in the end the first deer I ever shot was with a bow and on the ground.
So what did I learn along the way? First off, it is really tough! You have very little room for error when you decide to play the bowhunting game at the deer’s eye level. Therefore you must make a few adjustments to your usual hunting styles. Although there are a lot of changes you might need to make, we will just talk about three different tactics you need to employ when hunting deer with a bow from the ground.
1. Set up early!
When you’re setting up a ground blind it is much more conspicuous than setting up a tree stand, deer will notice it! Make sure you set up your blind as early as possible. If you can have your blind set up during the summer, that is ideal. At the very least, get your blind up a couple weeks before you plan to hunt it. Setting up a ground blind near a popular bedding area is like dropping a tent in the middle of the deer’s bedroom, trust me, they’ll notice.
2. Be Natural.
For the same reasons you need to set your blind up early, you must also take great effort to make your set up as natural as possible. Whether you are building a blind from totally natural components or popping up a tent, you still need to make it as inconspicuous as possible. Add as many sticks, tree limbs or grass all around and on top of your blind. Push your blind back into thick stands of small trees, grass or downfalls. Also remember that while you want to conceal your blind, you also need to leave open shooting lanes and remember to have clearance within your blind to maneuver your bow.
3. Scent, Sight, Sound.
When hunting in a ground blind you must remember that a deer’s ability to smell, see and hear you will be drastically improved. Scent will now carry directly on the level of a deer, your sounds will be closer and more exagerrated and being at eye level, your every move will be caught by a wary deer. With this in mind you must work especially hard to control your scent and then work to eliminate sounds and movements on your part. If you’re using a tent blind, keep as much of the openings on the back and sides of you closed, in order to create a larger black backdrop into which your silhouette can disappear into. Raising and drawing your bow is particularly difficult on the ground, so prepare for this in your mind and pull back when the deer’s head is down or behind a tree.
Deer hunting from a ground blind can be a successful and exhilarating experience, as long as you prepare accordingly. Ground blinds are great for hunting open areas without large trees or when hunting deep into heavy cover where sight lines from above are impossible, so don’t be afraid to get on the ground and try your hand. Remember, set up early, make your blind natural and be extra careful about the deer’s senses. Do these things and you could peg your first buck from the ground.
Here is a quick video highlighting a few more things to consider when buying a ground blind.