Bowhunting is all about stealth and being able to hide yourself from your target, lest you scare them away. Giving away your position from being seen or heard can ruin a day’s efforts. To avoid this, hunters of all types use different types of blinds, of which have sparked an age-old debate: are ground blinds or tree stands more effective?
While it is entirely based on preference, both ground blinds and tree stands come with their own sets of pros and cons, neither of which necessarily being better than the other. It may depend on what it is exactly that you are hunting (whitetail deer, turkey, hogs, etc.), or that day’s given weather conditions. Regardless, it’s best to weigh these pros and cons and decide for yourself which method you think would work best for you.
Hunting from high elevations can be very beneficial. Not only do you have more options in terms of location (so long as there are plenty of trees to choose from), but you can also choose the height at which you wish to shoot from. While this may mean less cover around you, it allows you to better practice stealth in order to avoid being detected. Some argue that this is the more challenging method, which can be seen as both a pro and con.
Your range of sight is vastly improved from a higher position as well. You are given an almost 360 degree angle to shoot from at a downward angle. Additionally, thicker patches of foliage are much more exposed when looking down at them, and your scent is less detectable by animals, as smell tends to travel upward.
Positioning yourself high up in a tree may seem like the stealthiest method when bowhunting, and it certainly can be, but there are some disadvantages that come with it. For one, you have less room to operate within despite the improved view. A misplaced foot could mean a long fall if you aren’t prepared with the proper safety equipment. Similarly, standing for such a long period of time could lead to discomfort.
In terms of shooting, certain heights make it much more difficult to hit your target in an area of the body guaranteed to take it down, otherwise known as its “kill zone.” Shooting on a downward angle makes kill zones much smaller. This also translates to a smaller or completely nonexistent blood trail, as it’s harder to create an exit wound.
Especially true for bowhunters, accurately and humanely hitting your target, whether it be a deer or bird, is essential, and creating a bloodtrail if it is to run off can help you track it. Hunting your target from a higher position makes it much more difficult to hit it anywhere that can take it down quickly, or draw enough blood to keep track of it.
In my next blog, we will discuss the pros and cons of ground blinds to better compare the two hunting methods. Stay tuned!