A Blind is a Blind
The Fat Rancher isn’t a big hunter. Well, he is big; just not much of a hunter…
Regardless, one of the first “installations” at The Fat Rancher’s place was a deer blind. Or is it a wildlife observation post? I’ll confess I’m just as happy watching the deer from above as I am shooting at the evil wild pigs.
The Fat Rancher chose the 4×8′ blind because, hey, just because your on a Dr. Pepper budget, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have first class blind accommodations!
The T-Box deer blind is made of 3/4″ foam walls sandwiched with fiberglass. It features a fully gasketed door, aluminium framed sliding glass windows, wall-to-wall carpeting and carpeting on both the storage shelf and the shooting ledge. There are 30″ windows on either end, a 50″ window on the “front” (door) side and three 30″ windows on the back.
While this blind is painted a lovely camo green, calling it “camouflaged” is a little stretch. Yes there were a couple of contrasting stripes painted on the unit we bought. But my daughter and I had fun adding some “camo-graffiti” to the blind after it was installed.
Setting it Up
T-Box offers some nice metal stands for their blinds. However, The Fat Rancher likes to think of himself as self-reliant (and a bit cheap) and decided to make his own platform. This was accomplished with a wood frame and Elevators brand brackets to mount the 4×4 legs.
The 6’x8′ platform was constructed from 2×6 frame reinforced with two lateral studs installed crosswise at 2′ and 4′.
Since the blind is 4’x8′, this gives me 2′ of landing at the door. A very handy area to place equipment on from the top of the ladder and facilitate maneuvering into the door. Not coincidentally, this also provided a 2×6 under each wall of the blind to support the deer blind weight.
On top of this frame I added some treated 1/2″ plywood for decking (in retrospect, I should have used 3/4″). This was all painted with camo-green house paint. Joints were reinforced with aluminum framing brackets, and treated decking screws were used throughout.
Installation of the T-Box Deer Blind
I used the Kubota tractor with my trusty 7-Spear Ultra Fork from USA Forks to raise the blind onto the platform (CAUTION: Lifting items with your tractor is DANGEROUS! Insure you have adequate counterbalance for the load you lift!). Once the blind was in place I used 6 FastenMaster HeadLOK screws to fasten the blind to the wooden support. These screws are ideal as they are treated, have long shanks, are made of quality metal (so the heads don’t twist off) and use a special drive which eliminates cam-out.
After securing the blind to the stand, we gave the rest of the stand a coat of that lovely Camo Green paint and customized the blind further with some other camo colors from Rust-Oleum (what is an oleum, anyway??).
Access to the blind is accomplished with a 10 foot fiberglass folding ladder. I considered using additional Elevators brand single angle brackets to build a permanent ladder to the blind.
However, I decided that since the folding ladder spent most of its time in the barn, it was more utilitarian to use it for access:
- Fiberglass lives just fine out in the elements
- The extra two feet of ladder that extend above the platform makes a handy “handle” for mount-dismount from the ladder
- I can remove the ladder to discourage unauthorized users from climbing the platform
We finished the installation with a battery powered LED motion light similar to those found HERE. That way the lights come on when we enter and then we turn it off while we sit.
The T-Box Deer Blind is sturdy and pretty well constructed. The fit and finish are adequate and relatively tight. In fact, I have found very few insects inside the blind which seems to confirm the seal quality.
- Solid construction
- Door seals well
- No moisture ingress issues
- Carpet on interior surfaces reduces noise
- High ceiling makes it easy to move around inside
- Little fiberglass smell
- In a few spots (inside) the fiberglass was not fully laminated down. These were not structural issues, but rather cosmetic in nature. If you have worked with fiberglass, you know that this leaves “spikes” which are annoying (clothing snags) to painful (if you manage to spear yourself). I would check the interior of the unit you buy and choose one with minimal defects of this sort.
- The three windows on the long side means invariably you will have a “pillar” where you want to position. T-Box would have done better with two larger windows on the long side.
- Windows are not removable. It would be nice if you could “raise up and tilt out” the sliding panes to give more open area in a window. As it stands now, you only have 1/2 a window open once you slide one of the panes open.
- Latches: It would be nice if the windows included some plastic clips to secure the windows closed. If you install the blind at ground level, you will find that your cattle may nuzzle the windows open while looking at their reflections. Then, of course, you get insects setting up home.
Going on two years, the T-Box deer blind has met the challenge of drought and drench. My daughter and I really enjoy sitting in the blind and watching the progression of turkeys, pigs and finally deer as they wander through the back pasture. Sometimes we even take the thermal scope out and try to call coyotes after it turns dark. The 4×8 size is just right for two people, with enough room to maneuver around.