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Blind distance at water hole?
I can’t remember how to search past threads so just gonna start one. How far to set blinds. Will be up for almost 2 weeks before hunt. Close 20yrds? 30? Pic from last year.
20 yards. Keep in mind where the sun will be early and late when it is low in the sky and can silhouette you in the blind.
John is dead on. I don't shoot antelope over 25.
Shot my last one at 10 yards. If the blind has been there a while, they ignore it.
That blind had almost blown away a few days before. Was kind of ripped up a bit but worked fine.
Will put in T-posts and a fence big enough to put a blind in it several weeks prior to the hunt. Usually pre-set the blind so I can cut the fence out for the shooting lane and have a good entry spot. I will have several locations set up like that and move blinds as needed.
Fantastic! Thank you. I wanted 20 but a friend thought 30 and they would feel more comfortable. Have 3 spot to set up. Rancher says they have had rain and so standing water so we’ll see. Good luck guys! Plan on T post and wire if cows but do far doesn’t look like it’ll be needed
30 gives string jumpers the advantage. I’d set up for 20.
Also it's my opinion animals will almost always come in on opposite side of water from your blind, even if it was set up in advance. So for instance if the pond is 20 yards wide and you set your blind at 10 yards from pond you'll almost always end up with a 30 yard shot, never a 10. So scoot it pretty close to the near side and assume you'll be shooting to the other side.
If you can scope out the shoreline and see a place with majority of tracks where they want to drink for whatever reason, then set blind 20 yards from there if it's a really big pond.
Usually you can see tracks at where they prefer to drink. 20 yds has worked many a time for us & never able to set up ahead of time. Pretty much shooting 1st day if they show up. They usually just stand off a ways & watch for awhile & then "here they come"..
I have killed a few on the first day of setting up on a new spot as well. Usually when a water hole dries up and you have to move or they migrate out for some reason or other. Still never set up more than 20 yds from the waterhole.
I'm going to start setting up at 143 yards since that's what all the "cool kids" are shooting at these days...LOL
Seriously, along the lines of original question, anyone have insight regarding hanging a treestand on a windmill tower at a spot where too many cattle to set a blind? How to stay cool? How much movement can you get a way with? Height of stand? Other?
I’ve used windmill treestand setups for antelope and deer as well, Carl. Seems like critters are usually used to the windmill and don’t look up there much.
I have just rigged regular strap on tree stands up to the windmills. I have also set up ladder stands.
Never had a real comfortable stand setup in a windmill but have been successful on deer, pigs, and antelope from them.
I prefer to be up near the top but low enough that I won’t get knocked out of my stand if the windmill turns in the wind.
I have tried hanging stuff to get some shade or additional cover on windmills but have had limited success with them staying up there very long. Usually blown away in the first wind storm.
I’ve seen some umbrella that you can mount that would be nice to have for the sun.
I have thought about building a “mini-blind” with 2x4’s and tie wire but haven’t actually done it. Have a couple of windmills at my folks ranch that would be prime windmill locations that I will set up mini blinds on for pig hunting.
Exactly 30 yards from blind to animal across the water tank. Arrow passed near the shoulder blade, angled up and cut the spine. Buck was dead before he hit the ground. I would have preferred a 20 yards shot but this one was ok.
I can't imagine spending a day sitting in a stand on a windmill. You would fry in the sun.
Keeping cool. A breeze through the blind makes a big difference but make sure to button it up tight behind and on sides if lopes start getting even a little close. My favorite blind addition has been a small pressure bottle that sprays a mist on you, worth its weight in gold. Also if you can drive out to blind and drop off a ice chest with cold drinks and frozen water bottles makes for a more comfortable day. Most tanks have a two track to them and most landowners don't mind you drive to them but make sure they are ok with it before just doing it. Most tanks the rancher checks on regularly so I don't think driving out there in the dark hurts. I done it many times and often will have goats with in a few hundred yards when sun comes up.
Have a comfortable chair. Again if I drive to it, I take a zero gravity chair. It is like having a recliner in the blind with you. Last bring entertainment. Internet on phone is often questionable. If it works bring a battery bank. I usually read a book in the blind. If cows in pasture with you I'll take a walking stick to encourage them not to lean blind and break it with a mild poke.
Embrace the suck
Windmill isn't my first choice, but sitting in a breeze vs enclosed in blind, either is going to be blistering. In blind I've had ice chest, cold drinks, spray bottle of water, mister fan, dunk shirt in water tub, strip down to shorts, everything to stay cool and it's always bad when the temp is hot enough to make sitting water productive. If I end up hunting the windmill maybe I'll carry in a popup and try the cow poker stick. Just worried that bumping cattle away might alert/scare the pronghorn.
I like to wrap the base of the windmill legs in camo burlap then brush it in with tumble weeds. I tak some more burlap and srting it over top for a sun shade. It's cooler then a pop-up, dosen't stand out as bad, and gives a good field of view.
I agree wrapping the windmill would work great; however, I tried that once in advance with leafy fabric and the cattle literally tore it to shreds. I later heard a story of a guy that tried this and cattle ate the fabric and he brother found a dead cow with fabric hanging out of its mouth...
The past few years hunting private land mostly over water tanks, I normally set my popup blinds 20-25 yards from the front edge. I also cover the back half with that black bird netting you can buy from landscaping stores. That way the antelope will always give you a shot if they come in, instead of coming in, drinking, and the leaving on the far side. Just make sure you take it off when you are finished hunting.
I have never hunting from below the windmill. But considered many times. There is not much room with the pipe in middle and arm that runs to one side. Most also have a fence/panels around them with not quite enough room. Then they are usually full of high weeds and I am sure there got to be at least a half a dozen rattlesnakes hid in.
Paul, Great pic with that lope on the ground and your blind in the background Good shooting
I can't imagine getting drawn on an antelope from up in a windmill without some sort of cover. Tavis knows way more than i do and i'm sure he's done it but they're on frickin "cocked" mode when they come in usually and I just figure it'd be VERY difficult to get drawn without being seen.
Smarba I'll keep that in mind as annoying as the cattle can be I'm not try to choke one to death. I've only wrapped a windmill around cows once and attached it to the inside of the panels around the legs with no issues. John it can definitely be tight and narrows your killing field. On the otc archery hunts I've been on the pronghorn seem to stay as far from pop ups as possible I've also never been able to set up more then a few days ahead. I figure when pronghorn hunting you gotta worry about snakes in your blind pop up or not I always give them a good inspection before climbing in.
Great info guys! Thx. Paul@thefort, WOW great pics and a great antelope
Have any of you guys that set and leave pop up blinds, ever tried using a small battery powered electric fencer and string up some turbo wire or turbo tape on a few plastic step in posts? Guys use kind of a similar setup for their bear fences, and I would think it would work very well to keep the cows from tearing up the blinds. You wouldn’t need a very long ground rod either, if you dumped a few gallons of water from the pond/tank, around the ground rod, every day or so.
I have thought about a solar electric fence. Bet it would work.
Interestingly, when I have sat windmills, the critters seem to totally ignore me up there. It would definitely help for antelope in the heat to have an umbrella, though. The sun can cook you.
Have two ladder stands on windmills at the family ranch now. My boy killed a bunch of pigs from one of them.
Last couple of times I have used that snow fence that has the little wooden slats in a wire fence. Cattle won’t tear it up and I make it big enough to drop a blind in.
Kinda worried about rattlesnakes now… Have two pop ups out for deer in AZ now and saw a big rattler run over right near one of my setups.
Just put this one up this morning. Probably hunting opening. Day can't see far, no cell service. But a good spot. Blind just over 20 yards. But across fence from where cows come to water.
Electric fences work well. I have one that runs on D cell batteries that I keep mules/horses contained with to graze in the back country at times. T-roy you wouldn't believe it but you're actually better off with dry ground. It'll find the moisture (you or the cow).
We have been cutting the bottom skirt off Pop up blinds and putting the corners up on 4x6 wood blocks with holes drilled for stakes. really helps with airflow and leveling the blind. Just be mindful of your feet if you are close to edge of blind and turn in your chair. Learned that one the hard way with feet sticking out from under blind :)
The gap also keeps skunks and snakes out. No place to curl up and hide.
20 yds from water where they "watered" & arrowed at 20 yds.
I would agree with most of the suggestions from those with waterhole blind experience on this post.
One thing not mentioned is blind location in reference to the wind. Pronghorn have some of the best eyes in the World.....they also have incredible noses. Where I've hunted Wyo and Colo antelope the wind generally blows in certain directions. It's obviously wise to keep that in mind when selecting blind locations.
I don't think many hunters give truly whopper antelope bucks the respect they deserve. It's actually pretty simple to harvest any ole buck from a waterhole blind that makes P&Y. It's a super challenge locating a particular high scoring buck, figure out where he waters, and have all the stars align. For this to happen may take quite a few days in several blinds. The best dates to waterhole hunt are obviously the hottest and driest. It can be a challenge sitting days upon days in a blind hoping a particular trophy buck shows up. If there is much water in your area, you may be screwed. My idea of a "trophy" is an 80+"er while others it may be a pretty common 14" P&Y. It took me quite a few days one year to figure out that the giant buck I was hunting only watered at night! Other monster bucks have circled the blind to catch wind of any strangers. I've had others lay and watch a blind for hours upon hours without even coming to water.
I've had does and mediocre bucks almost run in to water but most older whopper bucks tend to know something's up....especially if a blind hasn't been up long. I would definitely agree that in years like 2023 with lots of water scattered across the hills can be challenging, especially targeting whopper bucks from waterholes.
There's definitely a pretty big learning curve harvesting a B&C antelope buck. If you aren't picky and want a P&Y buck it's actually pretty simple!
Jim Jim post up some of these 80+ inchers for us you have killed.
Sorry but I don't post pictures on the internet.
I've been very fortune over the years to harvest many whopper bucks. I put in hours upon hours of research, scouting, and time searching for special bucks in country that is known for producing whoppers. I grew up in that country and it's a special place! A B&C pronghorn with bow is super tough proposition and a great accomplishment. As I mentioned above, P&Y is a slam dunk in good antelope country....B&C with bow is tough!
I really haven't been willing to put in the time during archery season. I guess I've been spoiled over the years hunting with rifle. I often don't archery hunt but spend hours covering gobs of country looking over literally hundreds of bucks. I can be a lot pickier during rifle season searching miles upon miles of country finding the 1 or 2 special bucks that may exist in a given year. Honestly, it would take even more time during archery season to harvest a buck I would be excited about....and I haven't been willing to devote that kind of time to an archery hunt. Those that have harvested B&C bucks on their own know...especially with a bow know exactly what I'm talking about!
This will be even tougher the next few years with the low antelope numbers/fewer mature bucks that exist from winterkill in the premier antelope units where I spend a lot of time. Pray that there isn't another bad winter in certain pronghorn states and units affected in the coming years or the consequences are going to be horrific. Sorry about dragging this on when it has relatively nothing to do with the original post.
With all that said, have a great time on the prairie....that's a lot more important than a buck's score!