My stand spot sits on the edge of a small creek gully that runs east-west for about three quarters of a mile. The south side rises up steeply about one hundred and fifty feet and is cut up by many deep north-south running ravines. North of me is low rolling hills and knobs with some cover and decent browse. My only option for a tree stand was one of the few mature spruce trees on the little bench on the north side of the creek gully. And that is where I sat for many November days. Eight to ten hours a day for many days at temperatures down to minus twenty Fahrenheit. One particularly brutal week it never got above minus ten. Nothing to do but dress up and suck it up.
The stand always had two flaws. One was that any bucks cruising the south hillside to scent check could easily pick me off from quite a distance. The other was wind. It was a constant swirl that changed often. I stayed high to mitigate that part.
I've twice tried pop up blinds, but they were both savaged by bears well before I got to kill anything from them, But I could plainly see the advantages.
So this summer I hatched a plan to build a box blind. I had stuff laying around. Two days in the garage and I had the "Rack Shack" put together and painted with leftover fence stain and camo'd with some mixed together house paint. One day I cleared a little spot in the thick poplar re-gen on the edge of my narrow bench, facing south toward my tree stand tree and about thirty yards away from it.
And now after spending three full days in it this past week, I'm totally impressed with it's effectiveness!! Over the last couple of sits, I've lined the walls with some old carpet underlay from my reno. It really took the echo chamber affect out of it. Some quarter inch felt and old carpet on the floor for the office chair to roll quietly along on.
It's like a deer hunting castle!!! I have a few pics on my phone that I'll add.
10x better than a tree in those temps.
This blind is 6' X 5.5' inside. In retrospect I should have made it a foot wider for guests. The roof is foam filled aluminum garage door panels from a discarded door. Weather proof and quiet. It would be possible to build a whole blind from those panels and they are free from installers. Light weight and easy to pack in. Could easily be assembled by screwing to a couple of horizontal 2" X 4"'s.
No heater yet, but if it gets real cold, I may try it. I'm a little worried about the heat carrying scent out the window ? .
I love watching the deer go about their business. I have a few hares that come out onto the lane-way about dusk and some grouse. The fawns will often kind of chase them both. The grouse will eventually fly, but the rabbits will just hop along with the fawn's nose within a few inches. How do they know the deer are no threat?
The deer will often seem like they are looking right into the blind, but they obviously can't distinguish me from the surroundings. On the other hand, magpies, ravens and especially coyotes are gone with the slightest movement. I'm seeing how much movement and noise I can get away with. I have a fairly load squeak in the floor and they may look up at the noise, but without alarm and usually they pay no attention at all. It sounds like a tree groaning, I guess. I can rip out a fart that sounds like a bear growling and it has no affect. But the little click made by folding up my eye glasses has all heads snap up and looking.
The rut is almost here and yet I watched two very unevenly matched bucks sparring almost playfully last night. I guess the bigger buck didn't really feel his territory was threatened? Over the years I can say that two mature bucks would not have been so easy going. So far I've had does, fawns and one mature buck within five yards and looking right into blind, but with no noise and no movement, none spooked. My floor is about head height to the deer.
Most of my hunting involves hiking in ugly country or steep mountain country and sometimes both at once. This is a very relaxing, enjoyable way to spend part of my hunting time. It's only about a half mile hike in on a fairly easy grade. Just enough to warm me up. I'm really looking forward to the next few weeks. Because after that it's back out in early December pounding the big hills for a post rut muley with maybe a chance at a whitetail.
When i first put it up in early August, I put a trail cam on video mode watching the Shack. As expected a sow with three cubs gave it a good going over and I'm pretty sure the sow was checking the possibility of den'ing under it. A cow moose spent considerable time sniffing all up and down the walls. Does checked it out for a couple of days. I ran long wood screws through from the inside on all the windows and door., protruding about 3/4". to keep the bears from breaking in. I can add barbed wire if necessary.
Getting old and lazy has it's benefits and one of them is being able to spend all day doing nothing. Great practice for the old folks home!!