How to Pick a Blind for Turkey Hunting

Turkey huntersnever have to search far for irony, but this paradox is worthy ofconsideration: Despite its legendary vision and incredible wariness, an adultgobbler will walk right up to a ground blind placed in the middle of afield.

That's why blindsare invaluable turkey hunting tools. They not only allow you to set up wherecover is sparse, but they're ideal for hunters who can't sit still for morethan a half hour (that is, most of us).

Commercially madeblinds are easy to transport and set up. Seated on a stool inside, a hunter cancall in comfort and draw a bow or shoulder a shotgun without spooking birds.Here's what to consider when you're shopping for one:

SIZE This depends on your own size and whether you'll hunt with a partner. A biggerblind offers more room for hunter(s) and gear, of course, but it's going to beheavier.

WEIGHT This hinges mostly on your hunting style. If you tend to sit in one spot, abigger, heavier blind is a fine choice that's likely to be more comfortable andquiet, and less affected by wind and weather. If you prefer to run and gun,though, anything over 15 pounds will probably be more than you want to lug.It's not a bad idea to buy two: one blind built for comfort and another forportability, then carry the one that best suits the day's strategy.

WINDOWS The more and bigger the better. Your blind should have at least four, andadditional shooting ports are a plus.

EXTRAS Look for various features, such as handy gear pockets, a dark interior, a bowholder, and a carrying case, that will make your blind a more effective orconvenient hunting tool.

Of the fiveexcellent portable blinds shown at right, I've hunted extensively from both theDouble Bull T5 Prostaff and the Ameristep Bighouse TSC and know from personalexperience that gobblers will walk right up to them.

Cabela'sLightning Set (800-237-4444; cabelas.com) • Weight: 12 lb. • Dimensions: 63 inches tall; 84x98-inch floor • Windows: 5 • Price: $150 • Comments: Roomy and lightweight, this blind is perfect for the mobile hunter,and the price is nice, too.

Double Bull T5Prostaff (888-464-0409; doublebullarchery.com) • Weight: 17.5 lb. • Dimensions: 67 inches tall; 60x60-inch floor • Windows: 4, plus 8 shooting ports • Price: $400 • Comments: Comfy, quiet, and rock-solid, the T5 is the Cadillac of blinds. Itsdark interior keeps you well hidden.

EastmanOutfitters Carbon Venture (810-733-6360; eastmanoutfitters.com) • Weight: 16 lb. • Dimensions: 69 inches tall; 58x58-inch floor • Windows: 4, plus camera ports • Price: $200 • Comments: The carbon-activated liner means this blind doubles nicely for deerin the fall.

Hunter'sSpecialties 10-10 Hideout Pop-Up (319-395-0321; hunterspec.com) • Weight: 13.5 lb. • Dimensions: 75 inches tall; 84x84-inch floor • Windows: 4 • Price: $100 • Comments: A great one-person, run-and-gun blind, the 10-10 is a snap to setup and very portable.

AmeristepBighouse TSC (810-686-4035; ameristep.com) • Weight: 22 lb. • Dimensions: 84 inches tall; 70x70-inch floor • Windows: 8 • Price: $220 • Comments: Ideal for two hunters, this heavy but very comfortable blind hasbig windows and comes with lots of extras.

FOLLOW YOUR FOOTSTEPS

After an unsuccessful morning of sitting, many turkeyhunters will walk and call before leaving the woods. Typically, they'll go frompoint A to point B, calling every 50 yards or so. Reaching point B and hearingnothing, they'll continue to call as they circle back to the truck. • This can be a mistake. A gobbler might well have responded to your calling,and while you're taking another route, that tom may be standing in your boottracks, wondering where his girlfriend went. • After you've walked and called for a considerable distance, it often pays toretrace your route. Be alert--the tom you didn't hear might be just ahead.