If you like blind-and-decoy setups for big spring gobblers, but want run-and-gun mobility when the birds are “over there,” now you can have both!
by the HuntDaily staff
Typically, these two concepts don’t play well with each other. If you like to hunt turkeys from a ground blind, you know what we’re talking about. Hauling a pop-up blind and all the necessary gobbler gear from “here” to “there” is a lot like carrying a duffle bag full of angry pit bulls.
That’s unfortunate because mobility increases your odds of bagging a tom.
The good news is, the old ground blind and mobility disconnect is no longer an issue thanks to a relatively new item from Sportsman’s Outdoor Products (SOP).
Many in extreme backcountry hunting circles know SOP for their intelligent packs. By intelligent, we mean packs that combine proven ergonomic designs with quality materials that maximize your ability to carry more gear farther and more comfortably.
The new Blind Hog from SOP fits that bill nicely. The Blind Hog solves the problem ground blind turkey hunters have always struggled with—mobility. Or, to be more precise, the lack thereof.
We carry a lot of gear when we’re after spring gobblers…and that is only compounded if you hunt from a ground blind. Blind are awkward to carry anywhere. Add to that a folding chair, a couple of decoys, calls, drink and a snack, and, of course, a shotgun or bow. Now you’re wrestling
For nearly a decade we’ve used SOP Horn Hunter packs for everything from backcountry bowhunting and trout fishing to plain old summertime bivouacs, so when we heard that SOP had a solution for toting ground blinds into the Back Forty, we got a bit excited.
Here’s the scoop.
The Blind Hog is a soft-structured pack (meaning it doesn’t utilize aluminum or fiberglass stays in the back panel) that is designed specifically to carry a ground blind with as much ease and comfort as you would find in any technical pack. The large cargo compartment easily accommodates most ground blind models on the market today.
Adjustable buckle straps inside the cargo compartment secure the blind to the pack. This allows the blind to provide the necessary pack rigidity without increasing pack weight.
Inside each side panel are additional buckle straps that you can use to secure your folding chair or other items, such as decoy stakes.
Once the blind and ancillary gear have been cinched tight, two exterior adjustable buckle straps are used to hold it all together.
The Blind Hog’s “foot well” is generously sized to accommodate your decoys. Laced bungee cord keeps the decoys securely in place.
A zippered pouch on the right side of the pack contains two inner pouches, which are perfect for storing your calls, gloves, snacks, and a bottle of water.
Every SOP pack we’ve used or tested includes robust shoulder and waist straps that do an excellent job of load distribution, and they are adjustable to ensure a proper fit.
The left side of the Blind Hog is designed to hold either a bow or shotgun, providing you with a hands-free walk to you next setup. Simply fit the buttstock or end of your bow into the large pocket at the bottom of the pack, then strap the foregrip or riser to the cushioned strap at the top of the pack.
Even though we had plenty of first-hand experience with the superior ergonomics of SOP’s hunting packs, we had our doubts as to how comfortable or stable the Blind Hog would be when fully loaded. We were greatly surprised and utterly pleased when it came time to hit the trail. Our loaded pack weighed in at an even 30 pounds, but it felt as comfortable as a daypack. The load was stable and well-distributed across the shoulders and hip, and while it looks to be “bottom-heavy” (which is never a good thing), the weight rides high enough to keep the load easily balanced.
In sum, the Blind Hog delivers the solution we’ve been looking for. Now we don’t have to choose between “running-and-gunning” or blind hunting over decoys. If we want to pick up and set up our blind to get that gobbler one ridge away, better look out because we’re coming through!
Article copyright 2016 by HuntDaily.com; promoted by Sportsman’s Outdoor Products