I have never really devoted a lot of time to hunting Whitetails from the ground. In years past I took a few on the ground with firearms. Usually these were happenstance events on my way to a tree stand or while participating in a deer drive, but never with a bow. Partially because it is hard enough to outwit a whitetail’s senses when from an elevated perch but also because hunting chairs were clumsy, noisy and heavy.
After last season I set a personal goal for myself for the 2012-2013 deer season, to take a deer on the ground with a longbow. So when I started scouting back in January I was specifically looking for locations that had the potential for a natural blind or other ambush point located on terra firma. I also began looking at options for spending a day on the ground in some form of comfort. At the same time comfort wasn’t my only concern. I began to formulate a list of what I was looking for in a hunting seat:
- First it needed to not interfere in my shooting a longbow (read that “long bow” as my preferred bow length is 70″).
- Second it needs to be portable. I hunt a lot of public land and I needed a seat that I could pack in and carry for long distances on a regular basis.
- Third it had to be mobile. One of the advantages I anticipated when ground hunting was the ability to move quickly if conditions changed.
- Lastly, I wanted it to be cost-effective but not cheap. The last thing I need is to waste money on a piece of hunting gear that can’t keep up with the stress I will put it through.
As I started looking at the various options out there I admit I found several that fit most of my list of wants. However, the biggest challenge was finding a seat that fit my modest budget. In fact I even purchased a cheap hunting chair from a local sporting goods store and it isn’t horrible but I doubt it would last a season of hunting conditions. Therefore it has been delegated to perform back yard practice duty while I practice shooting from a seated position.
Then back in July I ran across a you tube video by Big Jim’s Bow Company showing how to use the Big Jim Ground Hunting seat. (Watch the video here) After watching the video I headed over to Big Jim’s web site and was pleasantly surprised by the modest price of $45. The design is a simple yet effective one. With an all steel construction (save for the padded seat) and a rating to support up to 300 lbs I figured the durability requirement was resolved. While the modest weight of 4 lbs meant it should be portable and mobile. After watching the video on You Tube once more I placed my order.
The Ground Seat arrived a few days later and I immediately opened the box and prepared to give it a try in my back yard. I affixed the seat cushion to the steel support with the two bolts provided and headed to a tree in the back yard. Within 20 seconds I was set up and seated on the ground seat. I found the support to be comfortable, stable and easy to set up and move from tree to tree. I picked up my bow and nocked an arrow. I found shooting from the seat to be equally comfortable with absolutely no concerns of the seat interfering with my shooting. Still two months until deer season opens……I now have another reason the wait will be long.
Flash forward to the last day of September. I have been hunting from a tree stand so far this season but on this day I head to the woods with my longbow and my Big Jim’s Ground Seat. The location I had planned to hunt is about 1 and 1/2 miles from where I park my truck. The hike in was easy with my bow, quiver and my ground seat slung across my shoulder with the included carry strap. I arrived at my destination just as it was getting light enough to no longer need a flashlight. I found a good tree with ample brush in to break up my outline, cleared the leaves away in a 3 foot circle, donned my headnet and settled in. I had not sat for long periods of time when testing the seat out in my backyard so I was curious to see how I would feel after a few hours. The next few hours I had several deer within 20 yards, all but one passed by without knowing I was there. One young buck spotted me and tried to fool me with the head bob but finally ambled along on his way. By 10 am the wind had shifted and I had to move. 3 hours and I was rather comfortable the entire time. I was at least as comfy as if I had been in one of my hang on stands, perhaps a bit more so.
I relocated my ground seat to another tree 40-50 yards away to a position that would better suit the east wind that was now blowing at a 3-5mph pace. To pick up and move, clear an area and be set up and ready to hunt again took all of 10 minutes, probably less. I managed very little noise and even the squirrels were back to their normal routines within 10 minutes or so.
Overall I am extremely satisfied with the Ground Hunting Seat. Lightweight, quiet, comfortable and cost effective, what’s not to like? I will definitely be taking it to the woods many more times this fall and would highly recommend you give one a try yourself.
Oh and after the move brought on by the shifting wind, I only had to sit another 30 minutes before slipping an arrow through a healthy 8-pointer. Not too shabby for my first day hunting with a bow on the ground, but that is a story for next time.
Until then, may all your arrows find their mark,
Big Jim’s Bow Company is located in Albany, GA. Big Jim sells a full line of traditional archery gear and also produces a great line of hunting longbows. Be sure to check his website located at http://www.bigjimsbowcompany.com/ and if you are interested in the Ground Hunting Seat specifically you can find that here