The Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife lists 11 different types of hunting blinds and stands. You can choose from elevated, ground, pop-up, tree, high racks, box, pit, temporary, layout, floating, and, of course, simply using available cover. No matter what kind of blind or stand you have, it’s important to care for it. Proper care extends the life of your equipment, but it also helps keep you and your fellow hunters safe. Here are five tips for keeping your hunting blinds (and you) dry.
1. Read the Labels
Plan to build or buy a wood blind or stand? Read the labels. Pressure-treated wood is more resistant to the elements than untreated lumber. When purchasing wood, check to see if it is ground contact-approved. That means that it will fare better in the dirt and water that come with the territory when hunting.
No one wants rotten steps or floors. In fact, they can lead to severe injuries. A study of Wisconsin white-tailed deer hunters who sought medical treatment found that nearly 20% of falls were due to problems with the tree stand itself.
When buying a pop-up blind made out of material, ask about any included waterproofing features. Look at seams and zippers too since water can sneak in through there.
2. Treat Your Materials
If you’re using wood to build or elevate your blind or stand, make sure you treat it with either a water repellant or a water-repellent preservative. Some wood comes pre-treated, saving you time. The preservative version has the bonus effect of helping prevent mildew. You can learn much more about wood here.
For pop-up blinds, just like tents, look for a waterproof fabric and sealed seams. Water-resistant or water repellent material will help in a drizzle, but not a downpour. Check the labels to see if it’s necessary to reapply waterproofing treatments and seam sealant from time to time. You’ll want to do this ahead of time to let the treatments dry before you head out into the field. Inspect pop-ups for signs of wear and tear on a regular basis.
3. Watch Your Windows
Even if you have a sturdy roof, a strong wind can blow rain sideways into your blind’s windows. Make sure your windows are airtight to help keep water out of your cozy spot.
Also, check that the seals are equal all the way around. Doing this helps balance out the pressure and get rid of any weak points where rain could enter. One blind manufacturer even uses automotive seals that hold up to weather changes without cracking to make sure you stay dry season after season.
4. Round It Out
Don’t forget to look up! A flat roof quickly becomes a holding tank for water or snow, increasing the risk of roof leaks or collapse. A slightly rounded roof allows for rain runoff. It’s also better for hunting because it doesn’t stand out as much as a flat roof. The steeper the angle, the more quickly the water will run off.
5. Let It Breathe
Once hunting is over, and the storm has passed, it’s time to air it out. Mop up any visible water with a towel. Let pop-ups dry before packing them out or set them up at home to let them finish drying completely. If you leave them folded up while damp, they can grow mold and mildew.
For permanent blind structures, open windows and doors as long as you can before you leave to let air circulate. Look closely at any metal parts, especially on tree stands, to make sure they’re dry with no signs of rust. Of course, when you leave, you will probably want to close up the blind to keep out any unwanted guests.
Keep yourself and your equipment safe by following these simple tips. Both you and your gear will last longer, giving you many more seasons of happy hunting.