For the hunter, concealment is everything. There are two basic options when creating a blind. Go with a tree stand or a ground blind. Here are the benefits and trade-offs of ground blinds vs tree stands when it comes to some important factors.
Sight and smell – Advantage tree stand
A tree stand gets you up and out of sight and smell of the animal you are tracking down, but choosing a location is critical. Be sure to place your tree stand near a travel corridor or transition area. Pay attention to the wind direction as you want your scent travelling away from the area you are targeting. When the animals pass through they won’t even know you are there. Granted you’ve position the tree stand well, it carries advantage over a ground blind on factors of sight and smell. With a ground blind, you are at the animal’s eye level and so is your scent, so you are going to have to take some extra effort to stay hidden and undetected
Mobility – Advantage ground blind
With a tree stand you are up a tree so obviously you aren’t mobile at all. You might as well be completely helpless when your target animal is out of range or refuses to get any closer. With a ground blind if you build it light enough or its attached to your body somehow, you may be able to move it to an area better situated downwind, out of sight and closer to your target. Seasoned hunters might have a bunch of tree stands in a particular area they often hunt giving them multiple locations to pick from, but nothing beats being able to get on the move when you need to.
Calling ability – Advantage ground blind
When an animal gets its attention on a call, it can have singular focus especially when it’s looking for a mate or gearing up for a fight. There is nothing more realistic to an animal than calling from the ground. From here you can rake the ground and bushes as well as deliver calls from where an animal expects them. It’s best to have a partner to help draw the animal in so that when it’s focused on the location of the call, you can take the shot. With a tree stand, the calls are coming from up above and to an animal that’s just not normal and might not have as much success drawing it in.
Mike Stroff with Savage Outdoors recently detailed for the Sportsman Channel some of the benefits and tradeoffs described above. He advises to set up any type of blind early so that animals get used to its presence and you can have the most success on your next hunt.