March 08, 2023
By Ian Nance
The long-awaited opening weekend of spring turkey season in South Florida hadn’t unfolded to plan. The gobblers scouted the morning before had switched stone silent, and an advancing cold front promised to wash away the afternoon hours of Saturday and most of Sunday.
I invested the next couple of hours runnin’-n-gunnin’ and glassing open pastures to no effect. With a sore butt and bruised confidence, I drove to one last location where we’d heard birds.
The winds had increased, and the clouds were spitting rain, so I grabbed a folding camp chair and a one-man hub blind from the back of my truck. Unfolding them both near a spindly oak tree along a depression pond 100 yards off the road, I gave the woods a rest before hitting the box call.
An hour passed and just before noon, I called again. Within a few minutes, a pair of hens strolled into view. Surely, I thought to myself, a gobbler had to be close.
He never gobbled while slowly strutting into view, the gusty breezes blowing his fan back and forth. A few moments later I bullied out of the blind and raced towards the flopping Osceola. I credit the blind as it provided a dry place to sit comfortably and patiently for a couple extra hours before the rest of the weekend was indeed ruined.
Do You Need a Blind for Turkey Hunting?
In recent years, ground blinds have become popular with turkey hunters as their prices have dropped and reliability increased. For whatever reason, wild turkeys aren’t as bothered by their presence as deer or hogs are. Blinds offer the turkey hunter better opportunities to set up on field birds or those lingering in other difficult areas, such as palmetto flats.
What to Look for When Buying a Turkey Blind
When deciding what kind of blind you want, consider your hunting style. A lightweight single-person blind is perfect for the hunter on the move, as I described above. When hunting with kids, the bigger the better. With my twins, I’ll haul around a four-man blind with 70 inches of floor space. But, we camp out for a morning, and comfort is key.
Most models have loops sewn to the outside in which to stick vegetation, which doesn’t hurt with the sharp-eyed turkey and is a fun little project with the youngsters. I’ve personally never used the seethrough brands that allow a 360-degree view, but I hear they are the cat’s meow to ensure no silent toms sneak in from behind. Otherwise, most brands have ample windows. The key is keeping those behind you shut to avoid silhouetting you and any movement in the daylight as the longbeard approaches.
Know Before You Go
I suppose the number one tip I can offer is to know how to totally operate a blind from out of the bag and back in well before hunting. I’ve used several brands and each has its own combination of which hub needs to be collapsed first or what zippers need zipping to consistently collapse it. The turkey woods are no place for this trial and error, trust me.
Frankly, I enjoy hunting from a blind more these days as age has inflicted me with more patience while, conversely, my ass has become less tolerant of prolonged sits on oak roots and in fire ants. I’ve simply found myself spending more time in the woods during turkey season thanks to the comfort these blinds provide. And in instances when the action wasn’t working my way, I could always bail from my little spike camp to troll the woods as needed. FS
Published Florida Sportsman Magazine March 2023
This article is a sneak peek of the latest issue of Florida Sportsman Magazine, see more here.