“Hot town, summer in the city; back of my neck getting dirty and gritty …” So sang John Sebastian of the Lovin Spoonful in their 1966 No. 1 chart-topping smash. I think of that smarmy song every now again this time of year — especially when I find my behind plunked down inside a steamy hot ground blind on a mega-hot day while patiently waiting for a deer, pronghorn or elk to come drink.
No doubt about it, hunting from a strategically-placed ground blind is a great way to get a close-range shot at game. The problem is that, when the sun climbs high in the sky and the clouds decide to frolic someplace else, pop-up blinds can turn into a triple-digit temperature sauna. Add to that the fact that you often have to patiently sit there for several days before your shot opportunity occurs. Not only can you melt, you can go bat-poop crazy when you have 14 hours or more of daylight, as I’ll have pronghorn hunting near Cheyenne, Wyoming in late August.
To make it to the bell, I have several items I never go the blind without. And to keep from going completely nuts, I try and break up a boring day when game sightings are scarce by getting up out of my chair from time to time. I stand and stretch, and do push-ups and sit-ups. I know it goes against accepted protocol, but after very carefully scoping out the neighborhood, I step out of the blind from time to time to answer nature’s call and just get some fresh air. It might only be for a couple of minutes, but man, it feels good! I’ve also been known to use my daypack as a pillow and catch a little siestita — short nap — when my eyes are getting heavy. Whatever it takes.
“Come-on come-on and dance all night; Despite the heat it’ll be alright …”
Here are 10 things I always take with me to the blind.
10) Battery-Powered Fan
For less than 10 bucks at Walmart, I bought a little fan that uses a pair of size D batteries. I don’t run it all the time but — every now and again — a little burst of a breeze really feels good. Spare batteries come along as well.
9) Toilet Paper, Wet Wipes
8) Laser Rangefinder
Bowhunting, gun hunting, it doesn’t matter. My laser rangefinder is like the American Express Card — don’t leave home without it.
I used to bring enough food for an army, but then all I do is eat it all — and these days I find trying to keep my weight down is a constant battle. So I eat a light breakfast, then bring along another 1500 calories, maximum.
Hard to bring enough water, and I like to add some Gatorade to help replenish salts and electrolytes as well. Not pictured — my little cooler stuffed with ice.
Gotta have some tunes, right?
Not just for safety’s sake, but also to play a game or something. And, if I’m lucky enough to be in a place where there’s actually cell service (rare), I can surf the web and read the newswires. And of course, text my buddies to see if they’re as bored as I am.
3) Auxiliary Power Pack
Nobody’s phone battery lasts 14 hours if you’re using it, so bringing a rechargeable power source that keeps the battery juiced is essential.
2) Good Book
I love to read, and often bring two books with me to make sure I don’t run out.
1) Comfy Blind Chair
You need a very comfortable chair to sit in. The key, however, is to make sure the chair is also one you can accurately shoot out of.
Bonus tip: Make sure you practice shooting from the chair, bowhunters. It’s not the same as standing straight up on the target range.
Bonus Product — Scent Crusher
By now I’m sure you’ve heard about the benefits of ozone as a scent destroyer, right? Basically, activated ozone technology effectively eliminates all odors on your gear. Sweat, soaps, food — you name it, properly applied, the Ozone Activated Technology in Scent Crusher products kills organisms including bacteria and virus and is 100 percent chemical-free, leaving no scent, chemical residue or harmful byproducts.
Ozone, or O3, is the tri-atomic form of oxygen. Stated simply, it is a molecule composed of three oxygen atoms. O3 rapidly oxidizes organisms like bacteria and virus it comes into contact with, then converts safely back into Oxygen (O2). Scent Crusher’s ozone generators produce on-demand O3 (ozone) which is attracted to bacteria, virus and contaminants that cause odors. The ozone attacks and kills all odors and bacteria through oxidation, and then converts safely back into standard oxygen, leaving your gear scent-free.
I was not a real believer in this stuff until this summer, when I met Dan Drake, Scent Crusher President, on a south Texas deer hunt where we spent mega hours out in near-100 degree temps with high humidity. Needless to say, everything we wore was sweat-soaked and stunk to high heaven. The test was simple: take the smelliest, skankiest gear we had after a day’s hunting, put it into a Scent Crusher unit, turn it on for 30 minutes, leave it in the container overnight, and get dressed the next day.
I have to tell you — even a crotchety old skeptic like me was amazed at how incredibly well this stuff worked. So well that I loaded up on product and on my upcoming pronghorn hunt you can be sure I’ll give all my gear the O3 treatment every night. More information is available at www.scentcrusher.com.