When the Muddy Executioner 350 ground blind for hunting deer and turkey went on sale recently for less than a hundred bucks — a savings of $80 — I wasted no time making the purchase.
It’s a lot of blind for the money.
With a huge footprint of 70 by 70 inches and a shooting width of 90 by 90 inches, this blind is light for its size, weighing only 12 pounds. It’s easy on the back when toting afield.
Three panoramic split-curtain windows offer a view of 270 degrees and are adjustable with silent sliders — a major improvement over noisy Velcro, which, unfortunately, is still a part of many blinds and should be outlawed.
The back of the blind sports a small split-curtain viewing window also equipped with silent sliders.
Like most hunting blinds on the market today, the Executioner (a name I deplore because it puts hunting in a poor light) is designed with a “quick-set” hub system, one that’s supposed to set up and take down quickly. Not so for this scribe. Easy? Quick? What hogwash! But I’ll keep on using them. Please tell me that I’m not the only hunter with this problem.
With the manufacturer claiming that this model has room for four hunters, I recommend no more than two adults — three at most. Just my opinion, but one thing is for certain: It’s a spacious blind with many on the market this size costing considerably more than what I paid. Furthermore, it’s even a bargain at the regular price of $179.99.
The blind, made of a water-resistant fabric, comes with two interior O-Zone gear pockets, brush loops so you can customize your camouflage concealment to your environment, a carrying bag with backpack straps and 12 steel stakes. However, the bag and stakes are cheaply made. This is not unusual. Both will get you by for several hunts, though.
Made without window screens — the jury is out on whether I’ll like that omission — the silent slider windows are a nice touch; better yet, a stroke of genius. What this means is that the windows can be adjusted quickly with minimum effort.
For quite some time, I’ve intended to purchase a blind with this feature. Hopefully — especially on windy days — the sliders will keep the windows in place.
Whether hunting deer, turkey, coyotes or whatever, there’s a value in staying put.
I’d like to let the hunt come to me instead of me going to the hunt.
It’s a passive approach, a strategy that works exceptionally well with my advanced age.
Now, that doesn’t mean that hunting from a blind is the only way I’ll hunt. Although I don’t criticize anyone for hunting deer from an elevated tree stand — it certainly has its advantages — I don’t do it much anymore. With a new Medicare card in my wallet, I’m not much for squelching my inner chicken and climbing into the things, often in the dark on wet, frosty, icy steps or pegs. And if I do, I assure you that my hunting will be done from a ladder stand. I feel much more comfortable with two ladder legs supporting me.
Yes, I’m much happier these days hunting on Mother Earth. It’s also statistically safer to do so. Any sportsman who hunts from a tree stand will most likely agree. I’d like to think that most tree stand hunters use a full body harness to insure their safety.
Ground blinds are effective for a number of reasons:
• They offer excellent but not total concealment. A hunter can be sloppy and move at the wrong time and still be busted. I’m speaking from experience. Also, playing video games or texting a friend contributes to a lack of focus that encourages sloppy hunting.
• They offer a fair amount of protection from inclement weather, especially from rain and wind. Hunters tend to stay put longer on stand when protected from Mother Nature’s nasty wrath.
• If you want to check out a new area or move to another location during the day, it’s relatively easy to pack up and move. Not so with tree stands; as a general rule, many are often difficult to take down, transport and set up.
• With a tree stand, it’s sometimes hard to find a perfect tree where you can set up. With a ground blind, you can set up virtually anywhere you think you’ll see game.
• They control human scent.
Another advantage of sitting in a ground blind is taking someone new to hunting. It’s far less intimidating than hunting from the nosebleed section of a tree stand. A lot less scary too.
And with each decade of declining hunter numbers, that’s a good thing. It really is.
Keith Costley lives in Baxter Springs, Kan., and is an avid fisherman and hunter.