Monday, June 25, 2018

Recycling into Quality Deer Stands

Old Playhouse converted
into a tower stand. Picked up
for FREE.
More than twenty five years ago, I began an experiment in my deer hunting. Being somewhat financially challenged and staring poverty right in the face I tried to get as much out of a nickle as I could. Some have even said that in my prime, I could get $10 out of a nickle. I am not sure if I was that talented, but I have been known to be more cheap than frugal.

During this time, (and to some degree still do) I had an addiction to yard sales. I learned early on that at the right yard sale I could get a dollars worth of goods for a penny - or less. On more than one occasion I negotiated a package deal that included me hauling off all of the left overs for free if I could get a deal on this one item. Often in the "left-over" items is where I would find a gem. Finding an old ladder is common, and these are perfect for fabricating ladder stands. Outgrown playhouses are also common at yard sales. Who wants to go to the trouble of dismantling the whole playhouse, or play-tower? Umm I do! Because I see a perfect deer stand where the children used to play.

Tower stand wrapped in an old
artificial Christmas tree.
Paid $5 for Christmas tree at a
Yard sale. 
Another item I look for with abandon at yard sales are artificial Christmas trees. For some reason, people throw these things away or  practically give them away in yard sales. I have never paid more than $5 for an artificial Christmas tree. Man the uses of the Christmas tree! I have reassembled them right next to ground blinds. Used their branches to hide ladder stands and rungs of climbing sticks. I have donned their decorations on box blinds and anywhere else I can find to use them. The strong wire is easily bent or shaped to fit the items. On wooden stands, I drill 1/4" holes at a 30 degree angle and just place the limbs into the holes - fluff up the limbs and viola you have instant camouflage that will last seven to eight years. If it is not in the sun, it can last over a decade easily. The sun will eventually deteriorate the "needles" and they begin to fall out.

Ground blinds have a bad reputation of fading. I know here in the south where the sun is more than brutal, my blinds seldom last two seasons due to the sun. As they start to fade, I use the loops to wrap Christmas tree limbs into them to hide the outline of the blind.

Shipping pallet blind with Christmas tree
wrapping and a full tree on Front Right Corner. 
I have also made ground blinds out of free shipping pallets. Placing them in a "U" shape I fasten them to one another with "L" brackets and some "T-Posts" to hold them in place and then cover with Christmas tree material. The only expense are the posts and brackets. Usually less than $10 I have a ground blind.

As stated before, I have also erected the entire tree - usually more than one around my blind to make it appear more natural. This works especially well when the blind is in open country. Rather than have an odd square standing out in the field or CRP, I erect two or more Christmas trees next to the blind to break it up. One on each front corner is usually enough. If I need a third, I place it in the center of the back. Trees usually around 7 feet are adequate for this.

When using the trees on ladder stands or chain on stands - one tree will cover several stands. I will wrap the limbs around the legs of the ladder or climbing stick to cover the outline of the ladder. On the stand itself, a few limbs wrapped on the bottom of the stand help to break it up, and keep them out of your way.

Scavenging old playhouses, play towers, shipping pallets and Christmas trees will help you make some quality deer stands and blinds for very little money. Pictured above is a play tower I scavenged from a friend that was throwing it away. I got it for free, modified it some without using any additional materials, hauled it to the location, stood it up (Using the winch on my UTV) and covered the top with Christmas tree material. I will finish the rest of the stand at a later date, but the support arms and legs will be covered in the tree material.

My next items is going to be a "Hay-bale" blind. I believe I can make one out of a few old Christmas trees shipping pallets and some fence panels. Who said a hay bale blind had to be beige? I'll make mine green with Christmas trees!

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