You may find it unusual to see a blog from a ground blind manufacturer that discusses the disadvantages of using a ground blind. While I would love to keep my head in the clouds, drink the ground blind Kool-Aid, and look only at the advantages, taking the time to focus on the disadvantages really allows us to develop our products in meaningful ways and eliminate some of the aspects of ground blind hunting many consider a disadvantage. For XENEK, solving hunter-identified problems is a necessity, if we are to be a brand that can showcase the best blind on the market.
During the first few years prior to going to market with a ground blind, I think you would be hard pressed to find someone that had spent as much time in blinds as we had. The product development and research stage put us in all kinds of blinds from all kinds of manufacturers. What did we find? We found a laundry list of disadvantages of hunting from most ground blinds. No wonder many hunters dislike hunting from a ground blind. Wait – I’m putting that too nicely. It was more like, “Why would anyone hunt in a blind like this? This sucks!” So why am I eager to share? Through our exploration of these disadvantages, we were able to develop a blind from a different perspective than our competitors, eliminating many of the things hunters find disadvantageous when debating between the use of a ground blind or a tree stand for their hunt. Here are a few of the disadvantages of hunting from a ground blind:
I can’t see well enough in a blind. I feel like I’m missing the action. This is a common feeling when hunting from some blinds. Typically, hunters will have windows open to the front of the blind and have all other windows sealed up to limit the amount of light inside the blind and prevent game from seeing your silhouette. This can be frustrating and can keep you second guessing your set up location, wondering what’s going on behind you. I was blown away at the number of blinds that required the use of noisy zippers to open a window to get a peek behind you. Not having the ability to check the backside can result in missed opportunities and frustrated hunters. This was an obvious disadvantage, but also an issue that could easily be remedied with a window system that could rely on hooks and rings to keep it in place, so it could be quietly spread open for a quick look or dropped down entirely to make a successful shot.
What? I just bought this blind, and it broke on the first set up!!! Yeah, this happened to me twice while I was researching blinds from other manufacturers. This is not acceptable. The last thing a hunter wants to deal with is malfunctioning gear, especially when you don’t realize the problem until you’re in the field. This was one of the most glaring disadvantages of hunting from a ground blind. In recent years, manufacturers have been cutting costs out of their blinds to grab more of the market. In doing so, the quality of blinds has diminished to the point that most blinds are now considered a consumable and something you’ll need to replace each year. This made no sense to us, and this was echoed when we surveyed outdoor professionals about blinds, where most of them asked why nobody made a high quality blind anymore. That was our cue. Done and done. Using high quality fabrics and frame components in our blinds backed with a lifetime warranty eliminates this disadvantage.
These windows may work for bird watching, but how am I going to shoot out of this window? Sitting in a blind and watching an animal feed into range can be quite the rush, and to me is far better than sitting up high in a tree. Being at ground level makes you feel like you’re in the game, instead of above it. However, if the windows in the blind don’t allow for you to make a shot, then it is all for nothing, and you might as well be up in a stand. In most blinds, we determined this was a substantial disadvantage. As manufacturers continue to cut cost (and quality) out of their blinds, windows become less effective for hunters. It seems many manufacturers’ requirement for windows is that the blind simply has some. That’s about it. Doesn’t really matter if they’re in the most optimal location for the hunter or not. Doesn’t matter if they can be adjusted for a youth hunter or someone hunting with a traditional bow. This was probably the most frustrating disadvantage, but it was also one of the most rewarding disadvantage to remedy. First, we created windows in locations that worked for hunters. This was simply done by spending tiring amounts of time in a blind, during the season and in our backyards throughout the year, for what seemed to be eternity, making small adjustments to window locations and sizes to make big improvements for hunter opportunities. Second, we developed patented adjustable window systems that allow hunters to alter the shape, the size, and the location of each window, maximizing their opportunities for a high quality shot in that moment they’ve been waiting for all season.
Velcro??? Huh? How does this solve any problem? When you’re in the woods trying to be as quiet as possible, Velcro is unbelievably loud. Like you should probably just go home for the day if you ever try to adjust a screen or window that has Velcro. I’m not sure why so many blinds have screens with Velcro that can’t be adjusted without ripping it apart, and I have no idea who the people are that keep buying these blinds. J A blind can be a great way to conceal your sound, but when you hunt out of blind with Velcro adjustments, this can be detrimental to a hunt if you need to make an adjustment. To eliminate this disadvantage entirely, we developed a screen system that was independent of both Velcro and zippers to permit hunters to pull a screen down at last light or slide it into place as the sun is coming up.
As XENEK continues to develop new blinds, we continue to look to the field for inspiration and rely on hunters to bring us their problems, so we can solve them in ways that make their hunts more effective and memorable. By addressing the disadvantages head-on, we’re able to create products that make a difference and, therefore, deserve a spot in your hunting “tool-box.”