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Looking for Enclosed Stand Options
My dad and uncle are getting up there in age and can’t take the cold as well as they use to during rifle season. We are going to look at some type of enclosed, elevated box/blind type stands for them next year. We could build our own but I’ve seen plastic/fiberglass pod type stands around and didn’t know if they were any good. I’ve also seen kits to build your own from wood. None of us have ever hunted from an enclosed stand before so don’t know anything about the different options. Not sure on what option is best or what make/model is recommended.
We don’t need anything too fancy but do want them to be elevated. They can both climb ladders just fine still. Just something that is more enclosed that maybe a small heater could be added to so they can move and stretch a little more and stay a little warmer and hunt longer. Obviously, they will be going on private land and staying there year round so the less maintenance the better.
I know some of these become luxurious huts in the sky with all the amenities of home. We don’t need anything that fancy, just something that is very functional to hunt from.
Wondering what we should be looking at as far as options? Any particular make and model that is highly recommended? Pro and cons of different options? Any feedback or suggestions are much appreciated. Thank you.
If you don't want fancy, or to shell out a lot of money stay away from the name brands, (stump, muddy, redneck, etc...) They are very nice, but you will pay for them, I believe in the realm of $2k. I personally prefer plastic shell option. Maintenance free and much lighter than wood. As far as options, there are so many out there that it is hard to narrow down. I know some have studier construction than others. The ones I wouldn't skimp to is the 1/4" flimsy plastic that is about as rigid as a tent. For a bit more money, you can get yourself a nice molded plastic setup, very sturdy (similar to a biffy actually). Choose a dark color, depending on how extreme conditions are, with the sun beating on it, you may not even need a heater. 5 degree temps on a sunny day will easily produce 30+ degrees in a dark blind combined with body heat. If wood is the route you would rather chose, and do not want to build alone, I know at least around me there are tons of options of premade blinds available. They are often displayed up and down the highways and interstates. I have had no intention of buying, but the few I saw that did have prices seemed pretty reasonable. I would imagine there are local options for these in your area as well.
This is the first year I've hunted out of a tower stand as I can't take the cold like I use too. Not a huge mansion, but 5' x5'. Around $200.00, but then again I had the metal for the roof and a little scrap lumber.
Drop Tine's Link
I have 2 of The Shack 6x6 blinds. Love em but not cheap. I think I paid close to $1800 each about 4 years ago. http://www.shackhuntingblinds.com
Here’s one I have been looking at for gun season. Would just like to see it in person before dropping the cash.
Be aware that plywood is attractive for rodents to chew on. I have 6" holes chewed through a few stands by squirrels. I think porcupines are supposed to be worse, but we are in the southern part of the state.
My father is on the lookout for a new stand right now too. He seems to have chosen the Shadow Hunter 6x6 octagon blind. We went and looked with him Saturday morning. This one me and the grandkids can shoot bows out of. It is all insulated, aluminum exterior, shutters on all the windows that glide up and down.
Prices are a bit over $2000.
Not sure about present day but 4 years ago, The Shack blinds construction quality was so much better than the Shadow Hunters. I nearly bought 2 shadow hunters until I looked at the shacks. I recomend you look at both. Things change as companies improve products so I could be dead wrong on 2017 blinds.
As a person who has hunted from an enclosed stand since 2012 during the gun season, and hunting periodically from my property's now dozen enclosed stands since around 1990; let me say this. The biggest problems with Enclosed stands are moisture (rotting/dripping/leaking) and rodents. DO NOT skimp on the roof. A treestand roof made like a house roof, with shingles and leak prevention is heavy and expensive, but I firmly believe worth the hassle and expense. Also, rodents (mostly porkies in my part of the state) will destroy a stand in as little as 1 week if the stand is not protected. I recommend using treated lumber legs, and then encase them in a slick metal for the first 6 feet. This will reduce the rodents that can climb up the legs of the stand. Then I would recommend using a screen or small hole wire fence to wrap the bottom part of the stand. Trim nearby trees, so that rodents cannot easily drop down onto, or jump over onto your stand.
There are various schools of thought regarding windows. On my property, we have some stands with homemade plexiglass windows, and others with professionally made windows. I prefer the professional windows, because they are just sturdier and handle winds better. However, they can fog up easier than plexiglass, and they limit what type of windows you install. With Plexiglass windows, you could build window frames that the entire thing opens (flips down/up) and out of the way, should you want the open air experience in good weather. Professional windows are normally too heavy to allow this. However, I installed sliding windows that I can actually pull out and store overhead in my stand if I want a similar effect. I also recommend getting sliding windows that slide vertically. This way, they are easier to open in freezing conditions. The drawback is that if the weight retention lines built into the window are severed/broken, then you will need to brace the windows open using a piece of wood, etc.
My main stand is 6x6 outside dimensions, plus a 3' x 6' "porch" to step onto prior to entering the stand. (I keep my propane tank and a coolor on it as well during the gun season for those all day sits.)
Other things to consider ... -- Will you ever be standing up or using a bow from this stand? If yes, you will need bigger windows. -- Install shades or blinds to help hide your presence with shadows when the sun is out, and to prevent skylining yourself when moving in the stand. -- plan on adding shelving to rest your arms on when firing, coffee cup, book, etc. -- How tall are you, at what height are you comfortable sitting? You need to make sure the bottom of your window openings isn't too high or too low for your comfort.
There are many, many other things to take into mind, but it all depends on exactly what you want out of the stand. (all day, any weather sitting?; used mostly for drives?, Two people or 1 most of the time?, can you climb a ladder into the stand safely, or do you prefer building steps/staircase?)
Last but not least, what kind of access do you have to the location? on foot?, ATV?, Truck? Tractor?
In 2012, I built my current enclosed stand, with the purpose of it being my final stand, and will last me for 40 years. It is located on the edge of a cornfield and swamp, so I could drive a truck right to the spot. Having medical issues in my back and knees, and knowing the oldest and youngest members of my group would want to sit in my stand during drives, I decided on a staircase. Also, knowing that the area is exposed to very high winds and has plenty of rodents, I decided a metal base was for me. I used a Texas company to build the 18 foot tall base, and the accompanying metal staircase. I had them weld on handrails as well as use expanded metal on the steps and the "porch" to reduce snow/ice build up. I also dug a hole and poured concrete below the stand, to attach "anchor" wires to help stabilize and prevent overturning in the high winds. I then pre-built in my garage the enclosed stand using treated plywood for the floor and roof, and regular plywood for the walls. I painted all of walls and floor with multiple coats of a dull grey outdoor paint. I installed an icehouse door for the door, and used shingles and "ice & water" liner under the shingles. I then walked the 6 pieces up the staircase and re-assembled the enclosed stand. It took less than an hour to re-assemble, and I used lag bolts and large screws to connect to the metal base and the walls to each other.
My stand is considered over the top by some, but with my medical conditions, it allows me to hunting safely and comfortably ALL DAY. It has proved to be well worth the thousands I spent to build it. And knowing that it will last another 30 plus years, really adds piece of mind.
For some reason I cannot add any photos to my post above.
I built quite a few blinds for clients but discovered the cost and effort wasn't worth it. By the time you got the materials and built them, you had nearly the cost of a manufactured blind that was made out of more permanent materials. Even well made ones have the problem of rodents chewing on them and bears eating the legs.
I did a lot of research and decided I liked the Shadow Hunter blinds the best out of everything I looked and a became a dealer for them this year. The thing that really sets them apart is their window system. The outside covers prevent snow/ice build up that will mess up the functionality of most windows and prevent critters from breaking in or flying through them. I sold 16 of them this year so I am happy.
I am also working with a company out of Iron Mountain called Orion Hunting Products and sell their steel stands to put blinds on. We have been collaborating to develop a blind and I am really looking forward to seeing their first production models. The biggest advantage they have is that they come disassembled and can be snapped together very quickly. This makes them dramatically less expensive to ship, allow the blinds to be put up more easily (no equipment needed to lift them), are easier to get into out of the way spots, and they can be moved if you decide you have a better spot or don't own the land you are hunting on. I am supposed to go visit with them very soon and will post when I do.
BTW .... the critters don't seem to mind the blind too much FWIW.
I was unable to attach a picture to my earlier post also.
Another option is a well made pit blind,,,, for rifle or crossbow, they are so effective,,, My friend in Crawford Co made his on his land,,,, used something for excavation, than reinforced with timbers in the corners, and plywood on the roof, set at an angle, for snow and rain, and than covered with brush,,,,, like a WW 2 jap pill box,,,,,,,
Killed a 176 12 this year at 8 steps,,,,, no wind, no rain, or snow, and a Mr Heater inside with him,,,, toasty
Agree with most of what was said here. Rodents, bears, weather all are a concern. I looked at quite a few and was not able to bring myself to spend the dough on one of the pre made units. I have access to some materials as I am in the trades but if you watch craigslist many of the materials can be bought there at a discount. I have built units on trailers, skids, and platforms. What I have found to be IMO the best way to do it is to use the "Elevator brackets" and treated 4X4' for the tower. I use scrap steel to wrap the 4x4's and cross member 2x4's to keep the bears from chewing them. The platform I recently built is 6X6 treated 2x6 and 5/8 plywood and insulated as it is the floor. Reinforcing the tower is very important. Raising them can be a challenge. Unistrut, a winch, a tree and a block and tackle helped me raise the last one. It sits 20' up.The platform I recently built is 6X6 treated 2x6 and 5/8 plywood and insulated as it is the floor. To make it able to be constructed in the field I panelize it. To keep weight to a minimum and keep it from rotting I build the walls and roof panels out of steel studs and skin it with steels sheeting and insulate them with foam sheeting. I install inexpensive vinyl windows. I also soffit the over hangs. Once in the field I am able to carry the panels up the tower and build it on top of the tower.
Got a line on utilitie poles if any one is looking. Just pm me !!! Work great already treated and stable.
Panels built in shop loaded on trailer to go to property.
Complete with bird feeder. If we aren't seeing deer atlas we can have some birds up close.
wow that is really nice,,,, like the bird feeder
Ground hunter, thanks for that idea. I never thought of a pit blind before (other than for geese) I have a treeless ridge between two fields that would be perfect gun spot. Tried a pop up and it lasted 2 hours and wasn't even that windy.
Are pit blinds legal for deer in WI? I thought I read in the regulations one time that they weren't. May be wrong, though. Memory not what it once was!!
ground hunter, when you are up and around again. If you could get some pics of your buddies pit blind. That would be awesome. The idea of a pit blind has always intrigued me.
will do,,,, we will do a post on them maybe,,,,, they are so effective, but a lot of work to do, but also part of the fun,,,,,, made right, they are unfair,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Thanks for all the great posts everybody. Those are some great looking stands!! I'm sure my dad and uncle would love something like those. To answer some quick questions... they will be mostly for gun hunting, maybe archery too, but primarily gun. Would be nice to be able to stand and stretch legs and back every once in a while. They would be used for all day, any weather sitting, not for drives. 1 person most of the time. Climbing a ladder is fine. As far as access we can get a truck and trailer pretty close, within 75 yards. The remainder would be ATV and trailer. We are not trades guys, but could go the DIY option, might just take us a little longer to build it. I saw one of the fancy ones at Schells yesterday for about $2k. I don't think we want to spend that much but it sure looked pretty fancy. I also saw one at Farm and Fleet for $600:
I really like some of the DIY ones that you guys posted... Aushegun and Camp 2 Dukes. They look like they would be perfect.
Please keep the responses coming. I don't think a pit blind would be the best option for us, but sure would be pretty cool to hunt from one.
To get it elevated talk to area farmers. Earning some quick cash for sittin on a tractor works for them and makes it easier on you.
Have a few DIY stands... I call it adult legos designing and building... My favorite option so far is an underbelly basement to a stand where I used a ladder stand to get to the door and on the ladder is a pair of boards for stabilization and to hold the propane tank... then the door swings open (I hold a camo shower rod at the top of the ladder to help swing the door) to a trap door in the floor I flip open and turn on the buddy heater. Which is placed under the grate directly under the seat. A blanket catches the air from below. I would recommend a monoxide detector like this and not running the heater all day. I like it because the light from the heater is hidden in the basement, and sent directly under me. Instead of worrying about burning anything by accidentally brushing the heater... This sort of option could be added to any of the shells being discussed...
I actually rarely sit in there because I like to sit outside, and hate having my shots limited to the window, but on a cold morning it is a great place to start the day. And on the extreme weather days I can still get out. I also tossed in some mirrors so I can see behind me...
Window style is a deal for the weapon used. Tall/thin for bow. Helps hide the draw. You can always add little viewers to the side to view and then have a tall thin one for shooting. It only takes a little hole for a gun and you would want long window with a rail for xbows... My dad has started using one and you would be surprised how awful it is to try and shoot out of a blind built for guns or bows... Something to think about if you are ever going down that route since changing window styles later is difficult.
It is the little things...
Before camo'ing it.
Before camo'ing it.
Used the 2nd one as a ground blind in 2016 and erected it this past year.
Used the 2nd one as a ground blind in 2016 and erected it this past year.
I went cheap and bought 2 of the Maverick blinds. They are composite but nowhere near water/air tight. However, with a Little Buddy heater, they are toasty and you do stay dry. We have only used it for gun hunting but with all the windows, it could be used for bow hunting for those inclined. These retailed at around $700 each 3 years ago when I bought them. They come in 2 pieces making them easy to erect and install.
We did use the 2nd one as a ground blind in 2016 in our cedars after a bear we had decided to destroy all of our hub style pop-ups. My son did bowhunt out of that one. It is now on a platform serving as another gun blind.
Here are some homemade wooden ones reasonably priced that would serve as gun blinds only. He makes them in various sizes.
Thanks for the posts. Lots of options out there.