Behind our barn, somewhere between a disorganized pile of T-posts and a few old tractor tires, sat a beat-up utility trailer that needed some work. Honestly, that trailer had been laying around our ranch for longer than I care to remember. The boards were warped, the lights stopped working and it definitely wasn’t ready for any highway travel. So, it sat there season after season, randomly used to haul some farm equipment from one spot to another. That was, of course, until I found its greater life calling: using it to make a mobile hunting blind.
Now, I’d be lying if I said that once upon a time, I thought it was silly to put a blind on a trailer. But I’ll just say that I’ve been absolutely shocked at the flexibility and results that having one of these setups has given me.
How It Started
A couple of seasons ago, I bought a Redneck tower blind to use during bow season. As a bowhunter, I always felt like the windows and fabric straps in many of the pop-up tents weren’t wide enough to let me comfortably shoot. Redneck’s vertical windows allow me to comfortably take shots without worrying about the possibility of hitting a window frame. (It only takes doing that once to be extremely wary of doing it again, trust me.) And on top of that, the five-foot tower would make a great addition to some of my other blinds. Here in South Texas, a little bit of height goes a long way, so any elevation gain over the brush is an absolute blessing.
I could hardly wait to clear a spot I had already picked out for it. Like the true impatient outdoorsman I am, I wanted to get it out into the field as soon as I could, even if the brush hadn’t been cleared. So, I loaded it onto the old trailer, strapped it down and brought it out to the field. In all honesty, I didn’t plan on leaving it on the trailer for good, but just until the rest of the work had been completed in another weekend.
Before heading home, I mounted a cell camera on the side of the trailer and hit the road. What I didn’t realize was that within a couple of hours, deer were walking past it like it didn’t even exist. Over the next 48 hours, it was covered with deer activity. That’s when I realized the deer must have thought it was a piece of farm equipment. Why bother clearing the brush at all, then, when maybe I should just leave it on the trailer, I asked. It was almost like the deer were inquisitive about what this was.
Growing up, I was taught to get my pop-up tent out weeks in advance. Then you had to brush in really well with the surrounding cover and leave it alone until you hunted there. And, for years, this approach has worked well, allowing me to hunt some pretty tough spots where a treestand wasn’t always an option. But what if the reason for “letting it soak” was because you disrupted a bunch of brush just to set up your blind? What if you just left a blind out in the wide open, on a trailer? Would that really work well?
The short answer is: yes, it does.
The mobile hunting setup trifecta is more than just a blind on wheels.
Having a mobile hunting blind is just one piece to the puzzle, especially when you have Whitetails that start to become unpredictable. When patterns begin to change during the season, the last thing that I want is to be locked into one particular spot. Next to flat out missing, there’s nothing worse than seeing your target buck show up at a different spot when you don’t have a stand to hunt. Anyone who has hunted with me knows that I get itchy to change spots after a couple of sits, so of course this setup works well for my impatient self.
To keep all of my options open, I use a handful of WiseEye cell cameras to function as a scouting unit when I can’t be there to do so in person. I’ve found that they’re simple to set up and acquire reception within just a few seconds. That has not always been my experience with similar types of trail cams. Generally, I’ll mount one on both sides of the trailer blind and use the rest to scout in nearby spots. Having two units on my trailer might seem like overkill to some, but I have found that when you’re not set up on a game trail, it’s better to run multiple camera angles facing opposite directions, especially in wide open spots. After all, you can’t see what’s not in front of your camera, right?
Once the cameras are out in the elements, I’m able to track deer by tagging them in the HuntControl App and see what times and locations have the most activity to make the best plan possible for my next hunt. Barometric pressure is also trackable. I like to keep track of that during the season to help predict movement.
And I would be completely remiss not to mention that the last piece to having a rock- solid mobile setup is access to a detailed map on your phone. (This may just be the most important piece.) Digital mapping software has come leaps and bounds since the early days. Online software apps like OnX Hunt are so interactive that they not only let you place markers and attach notes, but they also let you check real-time wind direction information in marked locations.
For any mobile hunting rig, this functionality is absolutely critical. Calculating the best route to and from your stand without creating any disturbance is paramount to remaining undetected. The same also holds true for dropping off your stand in a new location. Creating the shortest route in, and eliminating any form of disturbance, will undoubtedly increase your chances of more success in the woods.
Putting it all together this season.
Between my random wandering during the year and my obsession with understanding every last inch of our property with the help of the OnX Hunt map, I found an interesting area this past fall. It definitely wasn’t a new area. It was one that I never paid much attention to in the past due to its difficulty to hunt. This parcel is located in the back corner of our property. It’s a thick area, full of dense brush and plenty of mesquite, so truly a Whitetail’s dream home. After getting a birdseye shot online, I decided to walk it in person. At first glance, it showed promising signs of deer being there. But as I knew, there was really no spot for any type of ground blind because of the density of the brush.
After deciding to leave my WiseEye camera out for a few weeks, it had picked up a very unusual buck that I hadn’t seen before. He was a gnarly, old South Texas buck. He must have been living in this brush and seldom emerged into the open field close by.
Unfortunately, the only spot to set up a blind would literally be in the middle of this field on the outside of the brush. Then, I’d have to hope this buck left his cozy home in the deep brush every now and then. From a blind perspective, that left me with only one option: the trailer. After getting it into position and flipping the two-side mounted WiseEye on, I started to pick up a few photos of him. He was working along the field edge in the early mornings and late evenings. And as luck would have it, he kept up this pattern long enough for us to hunt him that very same week. We ultimately put a crossbow bolt through his vitals and ended up getting him in the back of the truck.
As obvious as this trailer setup may be, staying mobile during deer season has allowed me opportunities to hunt quickly and successfully in areas that I wouldn’t normally be able to reach. Adding this type of blind setup to my arsenal certainly isn’t the answer to all spots, but it sure does work for a quick setup on a tough spot.
So, if you have the random trailer laying around the farm, use it to your advantage next season. It just might make the difference.