When Pennsylvania's statewide archery deer season opens Saturday, Oct. 1, a lot of hunters will find themselves up a tree.
Outdoors television programs, newspaper features and magazine articles have created a subculture of bowhunters who would no sooner think of hunting whitetail deer from anything other than a treestand than they would of hunting in anything other than the latest in camouflage clothing.
Clearly, the most popular method to bowhunt whitetail deer is from an elevated stand, and being above the ground offers several advantages over no pun intended hunting from the ground.
Still, not every hunter thinks hunting 20 feet off the ground is a fun and enjoyable experience. And, even though the success rate for taking deer from the ground is much lower than hunting from a treestand, some older hunters as well as individuals who simply do not enjoy hanging off a tree prefer to hunt from the ground.
As a result, pop-up blinds are gaining popularity among grounded hunters because, when used properly, they can make it easier to harvest deer and other big game animals. Pop-up blinds are lightweight, which makes them easy to transport, and most pop up in a few seconds.
Some hunters, however, who try like pop-up blinds simply put them out on the edge of a field, climb inside and then do not understand why they never see deer. If they do see a deer, it usually gives them a head bob, snorts, and does not present a shot opportunity.
Well, the problem is not the blind, but not thinking through where to place the blind. Most hunters who are successful at hunting from a ground blind do a variety of things to break up the outline of the blind.
According to Ameristep Blind Company president Bob Ransom, when hunting from a ground blind for whitetails, hunters need to take the time make sure it blends into its surroundings.
This is true even if the blind is erected on private land weeks before the opening of the season, but is imperative to do when hunting public land and the blind is erected and taken down every day.
"Just because you don't leave a blind up for long periods of time doesn't mean you can't fool the keen eyes of the whitetail," Ransom said. "If you are hunting public land, hunt near thick vegetation.
"I often take my blind and push it back into thick brush where the only thing that can be seen is the window I plan to shoot from. To make sure the blind doesn't stick out like a pimple on a prom queen, I usually find old limbs to place over the roof after the blind is stuck in the brush.
"If you're hunting an area on public land that is fairly open, fooling a deer in a pop-up blind can be difficult. If you can't f