Monday, December 1, 2014

Deer Hunting Out of a Box Blind

In Oklahoma, the deer gun season opens on the weekend before Thanksgiving and I've been deer hunting off and on since then.  Last year, it turned brutally cold early in the gun season with sleet and snow, which both made it hard to hunt and started me thinking about building some sort of box blind so I could get out of the weather if I wanted to.  Then the antlerless deer season in late-December was even more miserable, which made me think even more seriously about building a box blind so I could go deer hunting without getting frostbite or hypothermia.

You would think that building a box blind and then hunting out of it would be a simple matter, but I've always had a mindset about hunting that didn't include things like box blinds, hunting guides, ATVs, etc.  I've never really liked gadgets or shortcuts in hunting, and a box blind always seemed like a really big gadget and shortcut. 

With all those thoughts in mind, I finally broke down and built a simple box blind last summer (with help from my nephew) using salvaged material from a shed that was being dismantled and since it didn't really cost me anything to build, I was able to halfway convince myself that this wasn't really a gadget or shortcut because it was almost free (I think the final tally was about $10 for some hinges).  It's kind of funny how my mind works, ain't it? 

There's about a thousand different ways to build a box blind, so going into all the details isn't really that important (although if anyone asks, I'd share more of the details of how I built this box blind and what I'd do differently), but I basically built a simple 4x6 box on skids with shooting windows on three sides and a good watertight metal roof.  The roof is high enough inside so that I don't bash my head on the ceiling if I stand up too fast and the window openings are about 40 inches high.  If I ever build another one, I'd change a few things like making it 4x8 (so I'd have the crazy option of sleeping in it so I could then tell people that I had a "small hunting cabin in the woods"), I might make the windows openings a little shorter, and I'd try to make it a whole lot lighter so it'd be easier to move around.
Tiny hunting cabin
Windows opened up and ready for business
Looking South
Looking East-Northeast?
Looking North
After it was built, we loaded it up and put it in a part of the farm that used to be a small wheat field down along a creek.  This field is only about 8-9 acres, but it's about 450 yards long, so it's a long, skinny field.  It's been about forty years since it's been planted to wheat, but for years I've been thinking about trying to pasture crop some food plot mixtures of wheat, oats, ryegrass, clovers, turnips, etc. in this field (first, I need to get the bulldozer over there to fix the road to the field so I can get the tractor to it).    If I can eventually get something green growing in this field during deer season, a box blind might be even more useful and I might even go completely over to the dark-side and build an elevated box blind.

After sitting in the box blind a few times over the last week, it appears that I'm getting closer to official old-man status because I was able to sit a whole lot longer than normal without getting as cold or sore.  It's amazing how much easier it is to stay warm when you are sitting in a chair instead of on the ground or up in a treestand.  

Now I'm starting to see why box blinds are popular with old men, little kids, and people that are fond of comfortable chairs.  Shooting a deer out of a box blind with a rifle isn't the same as shooting a deer on the ground with a bow (which is my favorite way to hunt), but hunting out of a box blind is better than not hunting at all because it's too cold and miserable.  

As a bonus, I can always turn this box blind into a chicken house, a pigeon loft, an ice fishing shack, a super-deluxe outhouse, a roadside vegetable stand, or a super tiny house.


  1. I haven't hunted deer for years but if I ever got back to doing so, I think I wouldn't hesitate to build a blind to sit in with a comfortable chair. I also would have a supply of chemical heating packs for my pockets and boots!

    I like that you built it on skids. I built a three crate hog farrowing unit on skids (as an overflow affair) that we could drag around with a tractor. It was about 12 feet by 15 feet in size and it would have made a dandy hunting cabin had it not been sold and drug away years ago.

    Some day, i would like to build a cabin on skids so if I tire of a particular area, I can move on to other places. I thought it would be a good way to get away from it all on the cheap and a step up from tent camping.

  2. I meant to say that my future cabin on skids would probably end up about eight by eight or there abouts. Light enough to drag easily but could sleep two in a bunk bed on one side with shelves on the other side and an aisle and perhaps room for a little wood stove opposite the door.

    1. There was a time in the distant past when I was really interested in unconventional building techniques and architecture like straw-bale construction, rammed earth, yurts, adobe, log building, etc. And, once in a while, I still feel the urge to build something like that.

      A simple little fire-tower inspired cabin sounds pretty inviting at times. In my head I can see a 10x10 cabin with a hip roof about 8 foot off the ground with a covered walkway/porch around the perimeter on the edge of the woods so that I'm in the trees but I can also see stuff in the distance (I don't know if anyone else can also see what I'm describing in their heads, but I can see it clear as day in my head).

      Simple, efficient, and rugged with no extra frills would be the building philosophy.

  3. Interesting.

    I only hunt big game with rifle, so I have no bow experience, but here we only see blinds with bow hunters. Nobody still hunts either, no doubt because the terrain doesn't favor it. I don't think we see blinds with deer hunters, but we do with antelope hunters.

    It always seems strange to me that your season are just opening up around now, just as ours are closing. A friend of mine in Oklahoma has invited me to come down there for deer from time to time and I've never gone. I should do that, as it certainly would extent my hunting season.

    1. When I deer hunt it's usually out of a treestand (actually a ladder stand), or sitting against a tree, but it's occasionally possible to spot and stalk, or still hunt for deer in the woods (it might be a regional definition, but to me still hunting has always meant slowly moving through an area trying to spot a deer).

      My most memorable deer hunt was when I rattled in a buck and shot it with a bow. I was rattling, he came running with all his hair bristled up looking for a fight, and when he was about 8 yards away I saw the arrow shoot right through him. It happened so fast, I'd reacted instinctively and shot him without even thinking about it. I suppose you could call it almost a primal hunting experience and it's one of the reasons I like to bowhunt.

      What's funny is that I can't see myself bowhunting out of one of those pop-up blinds they use to antelope hunt. When I bowhunt, I like to be able to move if I have to get closer, bowhunting from a blind seems almost claustrophobic. If I'd been sitting inside a blind when I shot that buck I rattled in, I don't think it would have been quite the saem sort of experience.

      If you ever go deer hunting in OK, I'd suggest hunting at the beginning of the gun season if you want a better chance of seeing bigger bucks since the rut usually starts around the late-October and runs through about the first weekend of gun season.

      Personally, I've seen the biggest bucks starting in the last week of October through the first week of November when blackpowder deer season is open. It's always a tough decision deciding if I want to bow hunt and see a buck just out of bow range, or hunt with my muzzleloader and have a better chance of shooting a buck.

  4. I've always been interested in unconventional building techniques too which is probably why most of my dreams include building a monolithic dome house out of polyurethane and concrete.

    I helped a buddy of mine build a straw bale outbuilding for storing lawn mowers and other accumulated junk. It was about 20 feet by 30 feet in dimensions and had a shallow slope roof towards one side. After it was all said and done, I don't think there will be any straw houses in my future. While it was fairly straight forward to build, it was much more labor intensive to get things built and then there is always the problem of dealing with the walls later. There is no such thing as just hammering a nail in the wall to hang something or try finding a outdoor spigot long enough to go through a bale of hay. It was neat to do and the results look great but I'm not convinced that it will ever catch on.

    1. I always thought that if I ever built a straw-bale house that it would be almost like growing my house since I'd want to build it out of straw bales from wheat that I'd grown and baled.

      But I think a straw-bale building is better suited to a more arid climate like the Southwestern part of the country. It's an almost perfect building material if you are building in a southwestern adobe-style type of architecture.

      I always liked the idea of a bermed house (which looks like it was built into the side of a hill). The best description of my idea of a bermed house would be an EarthShip built with concrete walls instead of all the recycled tires in the walls.

  5. There are a lot of bermed homes around our area built in the late 70's, early 80's. They have quite a few good qualities but I always think they just don't get enough daylight, have good sight lines (if you want to see what the sound out back was) and the large majority of them seem like they smell a bit musty. I not sure if it is water leakage or just lack of ventilation. I'm guessing mostly the latter. I do like that they are relatively tornado proof as far as riding one out in it and replacing the roof later. The monolithic dome (thin shell concrete) are completely tornado proof as well as fire, hurricane and earthquake which tips the scales back that way... at least for me.

  6. This is a link to the type of monolithic dome I dream about and here is a link to a website that explains everything from their history to building techniques to reasons why one should consider them.