By: Heath Wood
Opening day of the firearms deer season is like Christmas to some hunters. Deep down in my heart, I am a bowhunter. I love the thrill of the challenge, and I enjoy the vast number of days to hunt; I love everything about it. However, even with my passion for bowhunting whitetails, I must say, there is nothing like the opening week of the firearms season.
I have spent my entire life being born and raised in a small rural town in southern Missouri. In Missouri, the firearms portion of deer season is typically ten days long and occurs during mid-November. With the firearms season only being a short period, one time a year, those ten days seem more like a holiday in my hometown. A couple of days before the season, the grocery stores become busy with hunters who will spend the next few days at a deer camp with family and friends. The gas stations are booming, and the sporting goods counter at the local Wal-Mart is backed up with people waiting to buy their licenses. The frenzy that occurs every year during this time is something that hunters like myself relish.
I look forward to each year because of the excitement that feeds from everyone, including my family and friends. A special time fueled by the highly anticipated opening day. Every year, I have always thought about how the seriousness of hunting seems to drift away, and hunters perform a more carefree hunting style. For example, for many years, my dad and I would take a Thermos full of hot coffee, snacks, and my grandma’s homemade apple pies to the stand with us during the first few days of the season. It is funny that two weeks prior, when I was in a treestand bow hunting, I had washed my clothes in odorless detergents, sprayed down with odorless sprays, and whatever else I could think of to up my chances in beating the whitetail’s nose. However, deer didn’t seem to smell all that during the firearms season in a mysterious yet comical way. We know that is not true; the reality is that people enjoy being outdoors and making memories with their family and friends and have stopped thinking as much about the actual harvesting of an animal and what precautions go with it.
Years past, I have been guilty of taking firearms season as seriously as bowhunting. Yes, firearms season should be taken seriously, and yes, it is still essential to take precautions, practice scent control, and be an excellent hunter to harvest a mature buck. Yet, it is vital to relax and have fun while doing so. However, over the last couple of years, I have somewhat re-discovered a more enjoyable experience by hunting from a box blind such as the Down & Out Warrior Blind. One of the biggest reasons hunters enjoy hunting from a box blind is being concealed. Being hidden allows the hunter to get by with more movement than if they were sitting in a treestand. Other perks of hunting from a box blind are the ability to stay warmer by having a wind block on all four sides and the opportunity to run a portable heater in the blind when temperatures get colder. Also, when hunting in the Down & Out Warrior blind, I have room to sit my Hawk Denali Blind Chair inside and hunt with the luxury of having a comfortable swiveling chair that features an armrest to rest and relax while waiting for the opportunity to harvest a mature buck.
Being warm and comfortable is a huge advantage to staying in the blind longer. Being in the blind longer means more opportunities to catch a mature buck up on his feet during the daytime. The part I enjoy most about hunting in the Down & Out Warrior blind during the firearms season is bringing back those memories of taking along a hot cup of coffee and a few snacks to get through the day. Often, I carry my backpack filled with what I call my blind toys. My toys include things to keep me occupied throughout the day and make the hunt better. I carry my cell phone in my bag for communication, games, and social media, which, to be honest, is what many hunters are guilty of doing while hunting. Besides the coffee and food, other items include a grunt call, gloves, flashlight, rangefinder, and my number one item, binoculars.
When sitting in my box blind, I always have my Vortex Viper HD 12×50 binoculars. Using binoculars while hunting from a box blind allows me to look for any deer in a larger area. By glassing periodically, one can pick up movement that may be missed with the naked eye. Plus, identifying bucks from a distance is more manageable. Yet, most of all, they keep me entertained. The key to all of this is that it helps stay in the blind longer while allowing for a more enjoyable experience.
Another one of the things I love about hunting, especially hunting during firearms season, is hunting with a family member or good friend. One of my best memories while deer hunting is while sitting with my dad during the firearms season. We laugh, we talk, and when enjoy God’s great outdoors together. A box blind such as the Warrior blind is a great way to create memories with loved ones. The Down & Out Warrior blind has enough room for two adults to sit together comfortably. Hunting in a box blind allows for quiet conversations throughout the hunt that can never be matched. Again, a cup of coffee can be enjoyed, along with a snack or two or three. And when the moment to harvest a buck presents itself, you have someone to share the celebration with. That is what hunting is all about.
A box blind can make you a better hunter, period. They can elevate you to see better and keep human scent off the ground; they keep you warm and comfortable throughout the hunt. The Warrior features Mossy Oak Break Up Country camouflage on the outside, so they can also help keep you more concealed. However, making memories and enjoying the hunt drives the excitement you feel each year as a new season approaches. The trophy bucks that are taken along the way are simply a bonus.