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Author Topic: Ground hunters
Trad Bowhunter
Member # 11950

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Looks like this year I'm going to have to go ground due to knees...since I have never really hunted on the ground anyone have any suggestions on what to do and not do? I know wind will be more critical but is it better to use a portable blind or just make one with what's around? Is foreground cover more important or background? Thanks
Posts: 209 | From: Wichita Kansas | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Trad Bowhunter
Member # 2828

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Hide your face, learn to lose movement races to snails, never look directly at your intended target. Wind is either your enemy or friend. You might need front and rear cover. Depends
Will your knees let you kneel?—as that position makes YOU easier to hide, especially in make shift blinds. I have some of tha cammo burlap Thait is handy. I tout the use of old Christmas garland for blinds. It blends in well and can be shaped easily.
I am still an undergraduate in the university of Turkey-good thing they can’t smell, but they see EVERYTHING. I try to learn from them, and that may help you with deer

goodness of woodness, Semper Fidelis. Molon labe

Posts: 3049 | From: Nevada | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Contributor 2017
Member # 2822

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Sit still...
I know that sounds silly, be I see more hunters fidgeting around in treestands, lol! Back against a tree, or some cover behind you, to break up your outline... And sit still!

There is a fine line between Hunting, & Sitting there looking Stupid...

May The Great Spirit Guide Your Arrows..... Happy Hunting!!!

Posts: 5613 | From: Dutchess Co. New York | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Trad Bowhunter
Member # 9073

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Lonnie, If you sit in a natural blind be sure the have good background breakup. Also a leafy suit is a real advantage and keep your face and hands covered. On turkey I've used the camo net and my leafy and killed them that way sitting in a camo chair. Turkey hunting I've noticed popups that are new really gets deer attention and they skirt it everytime at a 50 yard radius. Just asked Mike about you the other day.

I would've taken better care of myself,if I'd known I was gonna live this long!

Posts: 1877 | From: Paola,kansas | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 976

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Nose to the wind. Move agonizingly slow with frequent stops. Don't stare or make eye-contact with a deer.

Also, spend as much time in the woods as possible, because you have set yourself a hard task and the percentages are low.

I decided I was going to take a deer from the ground (no blind) and it took me five seasons.

Charlie P. }}===]> A.B.C.C.

Bear Kodiak & K. Hunter, D. Palmer Hunter, Ben Pearson Hunter, Wing Presentation II & 4 Red Wing Hunters (LH & 3 RH), Browning Explorer, Cobra II & Wasp, Martin/Howatt Dream Catcher, Root Warrior, Shakespeare Necedah.

Posts: 4057 | From: Upstate NY | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Trad Bowhunter
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As many have already mentioned keep the wind in your face as much as possible and something I do before every hunt is take a shower and use soaps that have no odor like "Hunters specialty's " or whatever you can find.
I also use a cover spray like "Earth scent" and spray my boots several times and all my equipment.
I try to look for any blow downs between a bedding area and a food source and try to get near their trail if possible.
Another thing I have learned is if a blow down is Big and leaves a crater size hole deer will visit the hole looking for water and sometimes you can use the root ball to your advantage.
I actually used to have a root ball that draped over me like an umbrella and killed a 7 point buck at 12 yards while hiding inside it.
Even had turkeys walk in front of be and I could touch them they were that close.
Keep your back covered and try not to move and be set up for a shot with bow laying across your lap so you only need to raise it ever so slightly and I always remove my quiver and lay near me so feathers aren't noticed when bringing my bow arm up .
I use a Huntmore 360 seat so I'm as comfortable as possible and it swivels without any noise cause I service it every year and lube bolts with a odorless lube.
My hunting cloth's I keep in a plastic tub with Earth scent dryer sheets and I put some natural Bay leaves that are near my hunting area in with them to give them a smell that deer are used to.
Have fun and you will enjoy it and no need for a safety harness.

Posts: 4119 | From: Hurlock Maryland | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Sam McMichael
Trad Bowhunter
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I like all the advice given so far. I will simply re-emphasize some of these. I use brush blinds, so I recommend they be built ahead of time so game is used to their presence. Hunt the wind. No matter what kind of scent control you use, hunt the wind! Locate your blind with prevailing winds in mind. Be very still. I still have one of the early bag chairs that consist solely of a back and a seat, with no arms or cup holders. It supports your back and your butt with nothing to get in your way. It helps me to sit quietly. Whatever stool or chair you use, you must be able to sit comfortable and to shift into a shooting position easily. To me, clothing color is the least important factor. Any camo or plaid that allows you to blend in is fine. Some times, neutral colored solids are effective also. With all this said, the best deer I ever killed was when I was sitting against a big tree on a dove stool, in the open, wearing a solid green military jacket. Go figure.


Posts: 4812 | From: Gray, Georgia | Registered: Sep 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Trad Bowhunter
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Here is one example of what happened to me hunting on the ground last night. I was sitting on my Nifty Seat inside of the branches of a larger cedar tree. The branches stretched to the ground. Someone years ago, went in and trim it all out. It had two shooting windows and was high enough to walk in. I choose to sit on the edge of the south facing window due to the high switch grass on one side and the breeze, plus I could look out across the grassy valley. About a half mile down on the bottom flat, I saw the 12 pointer while glassing. He is a big sucker. Just for s***s and giggles I blew on my deer call as loud as I could, both bleats and grunts. Then was watching to see if he heard anything. Then a blurry deer crossed my field of vision. A 2&1/2 year old 3 by 4. I grabbed my white glassed sunset Hill and stood on an uneven footing, though I was pretty much visible the young buck did not react. I drew on it and tempted myself, but I could see the 12 pointer heading my direction from way down below. I let down. This was about a half hour before sunset. Right at sunset I heard a deer coming, I got really wound up. The deer was a left spike right fork that I had in range several times before at several different locations, unless he has an identical twin. I let him pass as well. Nothing else showed for the day. Ground hunting may require some adjustment to your shot timing and shooting positions, but I try to use tree clusters and cedars for cover. I shoot pretty fast, sometimes fast enough that as soon as I do not see the deer's eyes, I get on with it and get a one second shot off. Lots of times if I try to go into super slow motion a deer will catch it and sometimes, when I try to shoot fast they catch that as well, if they are looking and they have all ready tried a stare me down, but more often than, not I get by with my one second shot tempo. Things like the Big Jim Bush in a Bag either hung as a make shift blind or wearing it can help a lot with an exposed situation. If I could make some sense out of the 12 pointers pattern, I would use it if required, until then I will use the cedar cover that is available with either my Nifty Seat or my Huntmor. You cannot tie a Torges Seat or a strap on tree seat to these shrub sized cedars, too many branches. .


Posts: 5896 | From: Iowa | Registered: Oct 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Contributor 2015
Member # 34873

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I love to ground hunt and rattle, put a big tree or bush behind you, have a couple good draw points (9,11,7 and 8 o'clock) and be ready, they expect movement when they are coming to rattling.

just walk and stop, no pre-prepared blinds, tried that and too limiting.

Life is about learning from your mistakes!

Chek-mate hunter I 62'/54lbs@28
Chek-mate hunter I 60'/49&42lbs@28
Samick Sage 62" 50lbs@28

Posts: 1261 | From: Saskatchewan, Canada | Registered: Sep 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Trad Bowhunter
Member # 21538

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It was cold a breezy today. Sitting on the ground east of Peterson Iowa along the Little Sioux River. Why is it always me? I saw so deer, just one medium sized mountain lion. In early September my wife called me over because she found some half buried cat scat that was way bigger than house cat poop. We found some last year as well. I was so hoping that it was a bobcat, it is not. Want to see a big kitty, don't bother with those western states, they are all here in North West Iowa. This my third sighting while deer hunting. This one is not as big as the Rock Valley cat, but it still made the hair stand up on my neck. I maybe would have felt better if I was way up in tree, but they can climb like monkeys and I would still have walk back to the car in the dark. I have no fear of bears, but mama mooseys and mountain lions creep me out. Do not blow on your fawn bleat around a mountain lion, they have really good hearing.
I did a little calling around and apparently other have it as well. https://imgur.com/ve69oTF


Posts: 5896 | From: Iowa | Registered: Oct 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Trad Bowhunter
Member # 4387

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A leafy suit in the pattern of your choice, or a cut back ghillie suit, is a good thing to have when ground hunting. Not an absolute necessity, but I’ve had much less deer see me when I was wearing one of those that when I wasn’t.
Posts: 184 | From: PA | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Michael Arnette
Contributor 2017
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Gillie suits are lifesavers! The bushier the better...leafy camo isn't the same as a true gillie in effectiveness. I'm no pro from the ground and have only been effective twice.
Posts: 2581 | From: Tulsa, Oklahoma | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Anchorman, I just got back from Kansas and split my deer hunting from tree stands, (about 70%) to ground hunting (about 30%). I got two shots from a tree and 1 on the ground. I had a small doe at 6 yards hidden in a strip of Johnson Grass in a bean field. Did not think I was hidden well enough for that to happen but great background cover and decent foreground cover worked well.

Last year, in Kansas I killed 2 and hit two high (flesh wounds). 3 were off the ground and 1 in a stand.

My suggestions would be:
1) Scent free as possible.
2) Background cover is first priority.
3) Foreground cover is second but very important. You can get away with just background cover to get deer close but when you go to draw that's when you need the foreground cover.
4) Stay still.
5) Clean out the area for your feet really well. A lot of times you get set up and the wind is blowing but as it gets close to sundown the wind goes still. Better to have your area around your feet cleared out from the start so that when you move to shoot you don't blow it making an unnecessary noise.
6) A swivel seat has increased my chances of shot opportunities many fold so get you one.

I do not use blinds so no info on that approach.

In Kansas I have noticed a lot of Osage Trees (hedge trees) have cedars growing at their bases. This is excellent cover for ground hunting. Cut you out a hole and then take what you cut and put in front of you.

If you really want to learn more about ground hunting get Dr. Ken Nordberg's Fifth Addition "Whitetail Hunters Almanac." Read the part on "Portable Stump Hunting".

Good Luck!

Todd Trahan
All of Creation Gives God Glory!

Posts: 1119 | From: Louisiana | Registered: Nov 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nantahala Nut
Trad Bowhunter
Member # 42956

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Bring pruning shears and keep them handy. When you find a good spot with some backcover trim the saplings out of your shooting lanes and stick them in the ground in front of you. Use the leaf debris from clearing your spot and throw it on saplings. You can have a sufficient spot setup fairly quietly in 10 minutes. When an animal gets close I only look at it in my peripheral vision. I look at the spot the animal is gonna step into when I shoot. They will pick out your eyes from 15 yards if you look right at them.
Posts: 292 | From: Cullowhee, North Carolina | Registered: Jan 2015  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Trad Bowhunter
Member # 21538

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Setting up a quick natural blind will work, but sometimes that may involve noise and commotion that can alert deer. I still hunt until i sit quite often, unless I have a known destination across open or no chance areas. If I am sneaking properly, easier said than done, I may be sneaking into a close proximity of a deer that I would want to shoot. It is often an easy mistake to make, assuming there are no deer where you are and they all will becoming from somewhere else.


Posts: 5896 | From: Iowa | Registered: Oct 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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