Remodeling An Aging Shelter…

Just about everywhere people look they see educational messages promoting the positive results and importance of recycling. Plastic, paper, glass, and cardboard are products we use on a daily basis. Humans from all walks of life are doing their part to cut down on waste. The various television, magazine, and internet ads extolling the virtues of recycling prompted me to think. I wanted to know how I (and other outdoor enthusiasts) could transform old outdoor products into useful tools of the trade. As I was flipping through the channels one night, I stumbled upon my inspiration. The next day, I began my version of a portable ground blind makeover.

Portable ground blinds are ingenious inventions that allow hunters flexibility in terms of stand location. Most current products are lightweight and easy to assemble. They also come in multiple shapes and sizes. You can purchase a camouflage pattern that will match nearly all possible natural surroundings. They are commonly used in Michigan by hunters pursuing deer, turkey, waterfowl, and bear. These types of blinds are great for masking movement and aiding in scent concealment. We currently own several different types of ground blinds that serve as effective tools in my hunting arsenal. However, what can you do with a portable hideout that is falling apart and/or fading?

I decided to remodel an aging shelter from the past to use during the upcoming deer season.

The overall process began when a friend of mine gave me an old portable blind he no longer needed. The heavy metal frame was still intact, but the canvas material and hardware had seen better days. After evaluating the situation, I decided to remodel the blind with as few man made materials as possible. I chose a location on our property that displayed ample deer sign, and the “experienced” blind began its transformation.

Step One

I had to devise some way to anchor the blind to the ground because it no longer had stakes. Using my hatchet, I fashioned two stakes out of sticks that were approximately 16 inches long. By using a rock, I pounded a stake at the front and back of the inside of the blind. The metal frame ran in a rectangular shape so the bottom couldn’t move when the stakes were in place. I also placed softball sized rocks around the exterior base to further ensure the wind wouldn’t transplant my project.

Step Two

With the structure solidly in place, I set upon how to secure the top part of the blind. While evaluating the situation, I realized the only way to access the blind was to step into it from above. The top panels no longer stayed up on their own; they needed something to keep them in place. I remembered the old, beat up bungee cord that was attached to the ATV. I punched a hole in both sides of the top and wrapped the bungee cord around each metal post. Now I could secure the top together to help conceal my whereabouts. If I needed to exit the blind I simply unhooked the bungee from itself and the top would drop open.

Step Three

The final stage in the metamorphosis called for a complete brushing in of the blind. I gathered branches, vines, and small logs. I meticulously wove the various natural materials together in such a way that it not only caused the blind to seemingly disappear, but also provided support to the structure. I sharpened the ends of branches and stood them on end around the perimeter of the blind. Next, I placed logs around the outside bottom to keep the vertical branches in place. Then I filled in any bare spots with more sticks or branches and wrapped them with wild grape vines. Another possibility would be to work camouflage netting into areas that needed more cover. The final inspection alerted me to the fact that I needed to trim holes in the brush so I would have a clean shot this fall. I tested the top to be sure it would open and close allowing access to the virtually invisible area.

As I sit in my eco-friendly blind this hunting season, I will no doubt have a feeling of satisfaction knowing I constructed the creation by recycling. Even though it is only one old portable that was saved from the scrap heap, it caused me to brainstorm other outdoor items I could refurbish. I realized that a portable ground blind makeover took little time (less than two hours) and no cost to accomplish.

Check your shed, pole barn, or storage area before hunting season to see if you have the materials to complete your own makeover.