March 06, 2018
By Tony J. Peterson
It's possible to arrow a tom without a blind during the spring season, but for most bowhunters the only way to go is with a well-placed hub-style blind. If you want to be able to scratch your nose, take a sip of coffee, and ride out a long day in one turkey spot — hub-style blinds are the answer. Ditto for anyone hunting with kids, or who wants to capture their gobbler-skewering antics on film.
Anyone interested in ground blinds will probably notice they all look relatively similar, at least in overall shape. But you'll notice that window configurations, weight, and material used in construction vary greatly. Some blinds are put together so poorly that they are essentially a one-season-and-done proposition. Others are built to last, but usually cost more than their throwaway counterparts.
No matter what you're interested in, you can find a new blind to suit your needs. Following are several options that will allow you to enjoy those early April mornings.
The problem with most hub-style blinds is that on their own, they don't look all that much like something natural. After all, how often do you see a giant cube in the woods or plopped on a field edge? You can brush blinds in and disrupt the typical shape, or you can pick up a Distorter from Ameristep. This blind's silhouette allows it to disappear into the woods much easier, and provides enough space for up to three hunters.
Baronett OX 4 Backwoods Blind
Baronett has developed a strong following with their blinds, especially when it comes to hunters who aren't built like horse jockeys. The OX 4, for example, is at its highest point — 72 inches — and boasts and impressive footprint of 60 x 60 inches. It's also designed with one large horizontal window for unhindered viewing and shooting as well as two peek windows, so you can spot a silent gobbler slipping into your dekes and get your bow in hand.
Browning Phantom X
I've used a few blinds from the Browning lineup over the years and have grown to love them. One of their latest is the Phantom X, a killer blind that allows for a 180-degree view. It weighs under 20 pounds and boasts a footprint of 59 x 59 inches. The Phantom X utilizes extra strong fiberglass poles, a 100-percent brushed 600D polyester fabric, and oversized #10 zippers. This blind is very well thought out and a pleasure to set up.
Cabela's The Zonz Specialist Blind
Anyone interested in a 360-degree view for their turkey time should consider The Zonz Specialist Ground Blind. This 19-pound blind measures 74 inches at its tallest point, is outfitted with a host of brush loops, and is designed with multiple, easy-to-adjust windows and shooting ports. A Mossy Oak option is available, as is an XL version that is sized large enough to easily accommodate two or three bowhunters.
Of the blinds I'm most excited to try out this spring, the new Mantis from NAP is at the top of the list. I hunt a lot of public land where I have to carry in decoys, blind, a chair, and the rest of the bowhunting equipment I need to ride out a dark-to-dark sit. It often feels more like an ounce-counting elk hunt than a turkey excursion, which is why the two-hub version of the Mantis has caught my attention — it only weighs 14.5 pounds. It's also covered in NAP's WICKED INTENT camo, to ensure the blind really disappears into the spring vegetation — or the fall deer woods.
Primos Double Bull SurroundView 360
The most talked about product at ATA this year was the SurroundView 360 from Primos. This blind is built with four one-way see-through walls and a moveable black-out wall to cover your movements. In other words, when you're in this blind you can see out but critters can't see in, which offers many obvious benefits. I can't wait to take my six-year old girls hunting in this blind, because they will love it. The 360 is also covered in TRUTH camo and built with Double Bull's made-to-last material and rugged construction.
Rhino Blinds 150
Looking for a great blind that doesn't break the bank? Then check out the 150 from Rhino Blinds. This five-hub, sub-19-pound blind features zipper-less entry, shoot-through mesh windows, and is large enough to easily host a pair of bowhunters (75 inches between hubs). It is covered in Mossy Oak's Break Up Country camo and designed with plenty of brush hooks so you can take advantage of natural vegetation to make it disappear. The best part is you get all of this for $150, which is a steal.
XENEK Apex Ground Blind
The Apex Ground Blind from XENEK isn't new, but it is awesome. It's as bomb-proof as any blind on the market, and built to last. The Apex isn't cheap at $400, but you'll get a lot more than one season out of it, which means value-wise it's hard to beat. I hunted out of an Apex in several states last year and fell in love with it due to more factors than I care to list. Suffice it to say this blind is extremely well thought out, easy to set up, and can handle anything you can throw its way. If you're sick of using blinds that tear easily and flap incessantly in the wind, consider an Apex. You won't regret it.
Alps OutdoorZ Stealth Hunter
What good is a blind without a chair? Forget the collapsible folding chairs that are better around the campfire than the blind, and check out the Stealth Hunter from Alps OutdoorZ. This chair features four adjustable legs as opposed to three so now you don't have to occasionally face-plant in your blind. The Stealth Hunter's seat is constructed of TechMesh material, which is both durable and quiet. If you've never hunted off of a good ground blind seat, try it this year. You'll experience a whole new turkey hunting world.