On Labor Day 2003 I was in the barn, priming sheets of plywood for the
soffits on the house. It was pouring
rain out and after I got the priming done, I realized I still had vast amount of
time to kill, and the rain was
showing no sign of letting up. At that point I realized I was leaning on the
remains of a 5’X5’ plywood
packing crate I’d snatched from work 4 years ago—a hunting blind I’d never
built. I started priming and
painting and by the time I left the farm that weekend, I had the crate and a
bunch of T1-11 scraps ready to
put up. The crate sections themselves were 1/2" plywood rimmed with 2X4
I'd targeted the top of Gobbler's Knob for this project. It would overlook a
pasture that is frequented by both the deer and the turkey. It's also in
sight of the house, so I could do all my scouting from Dorf's Thoughtful Spot at
Pooh Corner while I enjoyed Happy Hour.
Design for the blind was more conceptual than anything else. I knew I wanted
something bigger than just
5X5. I figured I’d add 2 feet (that was the size of my biggest siding scrap.
There were several scraps of
that size or slightly larger, so I painted them all up and figured some would go
for walls and some for roof.
A month later, I took all the painted pieces out in the yard and cut windows,
affixed hinges, and then had
Cousin Tim haul the whole kit out. Two hours later and with a few handful of
deck screws of varying
lengths, I had a shell. I just started with scraps of 1X6 decking as a short
stilt making ground contact. I set
the first corner up about 6 inches and used a level to keep it about the same
all the way around. When the
dust settled, I measured and had a 9X5 footprint.
For a floor I threw in some old skids and then put plywood on top of that.
For the roof, I took a bunch of 6 foot skid runner and some 38 “ skid
runners and built some trusses with
scrap bits 2X6 for reinforcement. That made a nice saltbox-style roof with the
peak just right for standing
up with a bow and shooting out the windows. I ate up some more scraps of plywood
and old planking to
finish out the roof, and then threw on some tarpaper and roll roofing.
There is a window on each side that tilts in and forms a solid shooting
rest. If you only open up two of the
windows at a time, it stays fairly dark inside. The window dimensions are about
a foot high and I think
something like 40” wide in the front, 32” wide on the sides, and 18” out
the back. The finish paint job included some dark tree trunk forms that are
intended to be where the breaks in the curtains come. Hopefully, with the
proper color curtains, an animal will be less likely to see the shooter.
There are also tan-colored areas along the bottom that make the house blend in
with the treeline in back and the tall grasses in front. Next summer I'll have
the guy give me an extra 5 feet all the way around when he's haying, and this
house will disappear from sight. As it is, you can only see it from 400
yards away with binos or a good imagination.
For curtains, I had the Girlfriend sew me up 2X2’ panels of some buck-a–yard
stuff I got from Walmart.
The color fit the paint I first put on, but later I switched to a different
color scheme to make the house blend
in better. Now the curtains stand out like a sore thumb, but I’ll go back to
Walmart and blow another $3
and try again before turkey season. They’re put up with clothesline and eye
hooks. It may look really clunky, but everything you see was done with scraps
from the receiving dock at work and leftovers from residing the house. No fresh
dimensional lumber was consumed in the completion of this project.
The door is just a scrap of siding with hinges and a hasp. Seating is 5
gallon buckets with a $10 swivel seat top from Walmart
I had to suspend work to give all the critters time to get used to it. Work
ceased on October 1. Brendan,
the five-year-old and I bagged a doe from it on 11/9. At sundown that evening,
the blind was surrounded
by a herd of 10-12. We bagged the doe just in front of the barn.
Read this article for the details.
Pros: Roomy enough for my 6'4.5" frame to stand and stretch,
with 2 kids and a dog along. The perfect house for the perfect site. The windows
are great for shooting from-- a rock solid rest. This is THE place to be
when it's pouring down rain (or worse), or you have a fidgety kid. It will also
be a place I can totter out to when I'm 95.
Cons: The barred windows are great, but a bit noisy to open and
close. I may put up a simple latch to use while hunting. The next set of
curtains will be weighted at the bottom with lead shot so they don't blow
around. If I had it to do over again, I'd put the door in the front.
Other ideas: I'm going to bring out some concrete blocks and build a
place for a one-burner propane stove. Then I can have my coffee and soup
hot. I am going to experiment with a couple of ideas for a gun rack.
I may steal a cue from a program I saw on the Outdoor Channel and hang loops of
rope from the ceiling so that rifles can be held at the ready. A funnel and a
piece of garden hose run out to the field would make a fine urinal. This
site did not require a raised platform. I may duplicate this design on 8
foot stilts in at least one other location If I plant Morning Glory or Virginia
Creeper around this blind, I can cover it in a year or so with natural cover.