May 02, 2017
By Tony J. Peterson
Most of us are looking at the back half of our turkey seasons and probably thinking about a little bowfishing and a few summer 3D sessions. But, before the clock finally winds down on our 2017 turkey season, it's a good idea to consider what we like and don't like about our blinds.
This may seem like it involves simply comfort, but it goes deeper than that. A crappy blind will cost you birds, it's that simple. And crappiness comes in many forms. A shiny blind is a no-no, just as a blind that allows too much light in is no good. Noisy blinds are no fun either, and any option with limited windows or poorly designed shooting ports will potentially cost you a shot opportunity.
Good blinds matter for turkeys, and right now is a great time to be realistic about your current setup. This only gets better when you realize that by this time of the year, a lot of the available blinds will be marked down in price meaning you can pick up a killer deal while most big-box store customers are shopping for walleye jigs and camp coolers.
Following are eight blinds worthy of your consideration.
Nestled firmly in Ameristep's extensive blind lineup is the new Spirit. The first thing you'll notice about this blind is its look, or more specifically, the window-opening shapes. They are far from conventional, and the organic look to them is no accident. Their shape allows the blind to blend into nature better, and if you happen to use the added brush pockets to include some natural foliage in your setup, you can make this sucker really disappear. Another thing I love about this blind is that it weighs only 18 pounds, which is perfect for carrying into public land in search of pockets of birds that haven't been called to constantly for weeks.
Barronett Blinds Ox 5
I spent an afternoon in a blind with a buddy and his son the other day and I can safely say that after about an hour I realized why the Ox 5 is such an awesome blind - size. This blind has a height of 72 inches and the footprint offers total square footage of over 49 feet. This is accomplished through the five-sided, pentagonal design that Barronett is known for. This blind, which can truly accommodate three hunters, is still very easy to set up and take down, and features a single window that stretches across three sides allowing for plenty of unhindered shooting.
Browning Phantom X
Little details make a big difference when it comes to ground blinds and Browning's latest is chock-full of extras that make it a standout. This starts with the SILENT-TRAC window system, which allows you to open and close viewing and shooting ports without making a sound. The Phantom X also features an oversized double door, multiple gear pockets, and a series of brush loops that allow you to truly blend in to the surrounding environment.
Cabela's The Zona Specialist Ground Blind
I've arrowed a fair amount of birds out of Cabela's blinds, and the Specialist is one of my favorites. It weighs only 19 pounds but measures 74 inches in height (59- x 59-inch footprint). The Specialist also features an eight-window design that essentially allows for not only 360 degrees of viewing, but shooting. Little extras like its water-resistant treatment and large, easy-entry door make the Specialist a no-brainer for most of us but it's the price that really won me over — $160. That might be the best deal in the blind market right now.
Primos Double Bull Deluxe
Double Bull pretty much started this whole craze and they are still one of the top blind manufacturers out there, which is clearly evidenced by the Primos Deluxe. This blind is designed with a zipper-less door so you can enter like a ninja in the dark. The Deluxe also sports one of the best hub systems out there, making it a breeze to set up and take down for those run-and-bow situations where you might need four setups to work a bird in properly. And lastly, should a longbeard approach, he'll probably look right past your blind thanks to the usage of the new TRUTH camouflage.
Redneck Blinds Soft Side Deluxe 6X6 360 Hunting Blind
Very few outdoor companies have impressed me the way Redneck has. I've used their tower blinds, their blind chairs, bale blinds, and this blind, and all are clearly designed to last. If you've got a food plot or other spot where longbeards will visit each day of the season, the Soft Side is the best option out there. A heavy-duty, black powder-coated steel frame provides the skeleton for this blind, while a double-stitched, 600-denier flame retardant camouflage cover provides the skin. While the Soft Side is loaded with cool features, one of the coolest is the size of the door (32 inches wide x 64 inches tall), which can allow a wheelchair-bound hunter through easily.
XENEK Apex Ground Blind
The Apex is one of the best blinds I've ever used. In fact, it's probably my favorite hub-style blind, ever. I've used one extensively this spring and have become more and more impressed with it as the season has progressed. It's covered in KUIU's Verde camouflage, measures 72 inches between hubs, and weighs 25 pounds. That's a bit on the heavy side for some hunts, but the extra weight is worth it because this is one of the most user-friendly blinds out there. This is most evident when checking out the FLEXIBLE window system, which allows for endless, silent adjustments. And if you take a close look at the fabric and overall design you'll quickly realize that this blind was built with durability in mind. Most blinds today aren't, which means after a season or two they will be in rough shape. This is not the case with XENEK.
X-Stand Treestands Kingpin Ground Blind
X-Stand is another company that keeps churning out built-to-last products, and their new Kingpin is no exception. This 98-inch tall blind is extremely roomy and designed with the kinds of customizable windows that bowhunters love. To ensure longevity, the Kingpin is built upon a steel frame that can withstand the elements and won't collapse in a windstorm, which isn't the case for most turkey blinds. It also features a blacked-out interior allowing you disappear completely while Mr. Ropebeard struts his stuff within easy shooting range.