When our deer club was hit by a sudden tornado two years ago, it totally damaged two shooting houses and caused damage to others. We were faced with a lot of time and energy to repair the existing stands or replacing them with new, better-built stands.
Initial searches at local farm co-ops, sporting goods stores, and hunting venues revealed a lot of choices for self-contained box blinds, or shooting houses as we call them in the south. Usually molded of fiberglass, such stands are like mini-houses with a door, multiple window options, seats, carpet and other amenities.
So what features are the most desirable?
First and foremost, you want a stand that is well made, durable, and long-lasting. The door and windows should be installed with a tight fit, but easy to open and close. Windows need to be sealed from the weather, quiet, and have some mechanism for locking them open or closed. Naturally there should be a roof that is strongly attached or molded right in.
Ideally there ought to be a floor either molded with the package construction or inserted and sealed. Fiberglass can be noisy if you bang against it, so walls should be lined with carpeting or insulation to dampen noise caused by inside movement. The floor should be carpeted as well to allow moving around on wheeled office chairs.
If you primarily bow hunt, you’ll need vertical windows designed for bow shooting. Some stands are made this way just for archery hunting. Crossbows can likely be shot out standard windows along with hunting firearms. Consider these things when buying a box stand.
Other custom features are nice to have. Shelves inside the unit are helpful for setting binoculars, ammo, coffee mug, camera, calls, or whatever. Inside lighting can be handy, too. Of course, this can be done with a wide variety of battery-operated lights that can be easily switched on and off.
Often, local vendors build box blinds as a house would be constructed. A wood framed shooting house can be a good option if well-made from treated materials with a solid roof, floor, windows, and door. If these are available, certainly look into them.
Up or down? Most deer hunters like box blinds to be elevated rather than sitting flat on the ground. Consider platforms up to ten feet high (if safe and feasible where you hunt). Steps are easier to ascend than ladders. Look at all your options when buying a box blind, then secure it well in position.
Read more: alloutdoor.com