I guess the word is out that I’m a certified pronghorn nut. It could be the Facebook, Instagram and other stories I’ve posted that tipped my hand. Yes, I love the pronghorn, and bowhunting these fleet-footed princes of the plains is my passion.

The question I’ve been getting lately: How soon is too soon when it comes to setting up a pronghorn blind over water? First, great question. Second, there are lots of variables that play into when I start deploying and staking down my ground fortresses.

The very first thing I look for is cattle. If there are cows in the pasture, I never set my blind any earlier than three days prior to the opener. The reason for this is cows are destructive creatures. Not only are they curious, but they feel the need to find and push up against new things in their environment. If you simply stake a ground blind near a water tank around cattle, it will be pushed against, stomped on, pooped on … you get the idea. Yes, you can drive posts into the ground and run barbed-wire around your blind to keep the cattle out, but I only do this three to four days before the opener. Put it out any earlier and the cows will find a way to loosen your wires and trample your blind.

If I’m going to be camping over a tank or pond that is littered with old ranch junk (windmill parts, old rubber tires, feed bunks and the like) I don’t worry about putting my blind up until about three days before the opener. The goats are used to the “junk” and an added pop-up blind won’t even raise their eyebrows. These are the types of locations, if you don’t find them before your hunt, you can pop up a ground blind and kill a pronghorn the same day.

If you’re hunting over a tank or pond on the bald prairie with no cover or old ranch junk and there are no cows, get your blinds out one or two weeks prior to the opener. This gives the goats drinking there time to investigate and accept the new blind.