Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hunting Whitetail Deer From The Ground

© By Othmar Vohringer

There is no denying it, the popular and most effective way to hunt whitetail is from treestands and will most likely remain so in the future. Another method that enjoys a growing popularity, especially with the aging generation of deer hunters, are pop-up blinds. These blinds can be set up quickly with little fuss and are easy and light to transport. Some of the better quality pop-up blinds not only conceal the hunter they also provide shelter from wind and rain since they are, to a degree, waterproof. For many eastern hunters the pursuit of whitetail deer from the ground must seem something only a crazy person would attempt. Granted hunting bucks at eye-level can be extremely difficult, but with a little planning and relearning it is absolutely possible.

Before I moved to British Columbia I did all my deer hunting from treestands, and while I still hunt a fair amount of my time in the woods from stands I have adopted the “western way of hunting” with a great measure of success. Hunting from the ground is “how hunters roll in the west” and it rubbed off on me.

As mentioned above when you hunt from the ground it requires a different set of skills to find a proper ambush site. It is here where good scouting skills pay huge divides. Instead of treestands and pop-up blinds I use the available topography and natural material, such as branches, tall grass and dead-fallen trees as a natural blind. The good thing about natural blinds is that they are very quickly constructed, you do not have to haul them around and they always fit into the existing landscape, unlike many pop-up blinds that need additional camouflaging and have to be set up before hunting season to give the deer time to get used to it. When I hunt deer at eye-level all I carry with me as additional gear is a lightweight stool, a pair of branch clippers and a small folding saw. The stool provides me with comfort and with the aid of the clippers and folding saw I can turn any spot within seconds into a formidable ground blind and no deer will pay any attention to it. More often than not I do not need to make any alterations whatsoever, sitting behind a bush, a clump of tall grass, a thick tree trunk or a dead-fall tree will suffice. Nature is full of hiding places for hunters. You just have to learn to recognize them.


Hunting from the ground, without a stand or commercial blind makes me extremely mobile. I am able to set up everywhere I want to and be ready to hunt in less than a minute without having to look for a suitable tree to accommodate my stand or a sport for the pop-up blind . If the wind is right I can hunt right away and if the wind changes on me I can get up a leave in a second and find a spot nearby that is perfect. Mobility also reduces the chances of deer catching on to you, which is what often happens when you hunt the same stand or blind several times.


When hunting on the ground camouflage becomes really important. Good camouflage does not only break the human outline up but lets you get away with slight movement that you need to shoulder your rifle or pull the bowstring back. The best camouflage I found that works perfectly for that type of hunting is the 3-D leafy suit from ASAT. There are many different brands on the market but in my opinion ASAT beats them all. I also found Predator Camouflage to be very useful and consequently wear almost exclusively ASAT and Predator camouflage for over 15 years now.

If you look for camouflage made for hunters, not "outdoor athletes", check out the Day One Camouflage company. This is a great company that makes top quality garments in many different camouflage patters to an affordable price and provides excellent costumer service.

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