Whether you run-and-gun for deer or turkey, shotgun, rifle, or bow, this portable blind seriously expands your options
by Larry Case
In the first chapter of the Hunting 101 Handbook, we learn that we sometimes must hide. We have known this since the first hunters lay in wait for game armed with only sharp sticks. In some types of hunting, like upland bird or maybe some long-range pursuits, hiding—that is, waiting quietly in concealment—is not so important. But for the most part, much of what we do as hunters often demands that we are concealed so that we can ambush our prey. If nothing else, the multi-million-dollar camouflage industry will attest to this. The modern hunter is constantly on the lookout for some type of camo that he thinks will hide him better, something that will make him invisible.
Truth is, camo certainly helps us in the pursuit of game, but it is not infallible in masking us from the eyes of deer, bear, turkeys, green headed mallard ducks, or whatever we are after on any given day. Movement is what usually give us away and keeps us from shaking hands with big, long-bearded gobblers or mossy horned bucks. You can sit in the woods and train yourself to go long periods of time without scratching your nose or shifting your weight to be more comfortable. Believe me, I have done it, and often demanded those who might be with me to do the same. It only took about thirty of forty years for me to realize it but trying to sit motionless isn’t always a lot of fun. You remember “fun,” don’t you? We are supposed to be having fun out there, right?
Nothing illustrates this more than the increased use of ground blinds in recent years. Set up a pop-up blind where you want to sit and presto, you are concealed, you can move when you like, and you are in business. Ground blinds set up quickly but can be cumbersome to haul around if you are going to be changing locations during the day—something run-and-gun turkey hunters do routinely.
Enter the Alps OutdoorZ Dash Panel Blind.
I enlisted the help of an experienced hunter to take the Dash Panel Blind to the woods for the first time. I knew this crusty old hunter would pull no punches in helping me evaluate the merits of this hiding system. I showed him the box containing the blind and gave no clues to tip my hand as to whether I like this new contraption or not. I knew he would be suspicious and wary of something he had not seen before. (Older hunters are usually a suspicious lot.) Nothing much good was said until we got to our test site deep in the Appalachian Mountains.
Things started to change when the blind came out of the carry bag. This blind, and the concept of it, would not work if it was not quick and easy to set up…and it is. There are times when I like to be in a ground blind, and many of them set up and take down easily. There are other times when taking down a ground blind and putting it back in the carry bag reminds me of a painful high school Algebra II test. (Most of them didn’t go well.)
The Dash Panel Blind slips out of the bag quickly and it is self-evident how the blind will go up, even without reading any instructions (as if most of us hunters would read them anyway). Rolled up and in the bag, the blind is maybe five inches in width and weighs in at five and a half pounds. This is a key feature for me. If I am going to tote something across the landscape, especially in the rugged terrain where most of my hunting occurs, weight and ease of carry mean everything. A blind may hide me, but if it is hard to carry, I will leave it in the truck.
My suspicious friend quickly caught on as to how to use this blind. Placed in front of a large tree and with some accompanying cover and brush on either side, the worth of this blind is quickly revealed. How you would sit in the blind is personal preference. My friend and I agreed we would probably sit on the ground with a cushion like the one found on a turkey vest. I noted that you could easily stand behind the blind and remain largely hidden should you need to take a break.
The wings of the blind fold out easily and are held down with the supplied stakes. A tie feature on the front holds things in place if the wind gets up and can be secured with a stake or a handy tree. The SILENT-TRAC front window system will accommodate the needs of rifle, shotgun, or compound/crossbow shooters while top and bottom windows allow independent adjustment.
The main front window offers a view across the entire front of the blind and the two side panels have windows with adjustable screen mesh for better concealment. The SILENT TRAC system on the front window is a feature where the panels that close the window slide up and down quietly. No loud zippers or hook-and-loop patch rips.
By the end of our session, my irascible friend was making hints about using the blind in the upcoming bow season, so I knew it had passed the test. Whether or not I’ll let him borrow it… Having leverage in deer camp is a great thing!
The ALPS OutdoorZ Dash Panel Blind is a lightweight, easily carried unit that offers good concealment in three directions for one or two hunters. It is a great asset for young and new hunters who might have trouble sitting still.
The Dash Panel Blind was undoubtedly conceived with spring turkey hunters in mind, especially the run-andgunners out there. I can also see this blind being used by the archery deer hunter, bow or crossbow, or for a quick set up along a stream or lake for the waterfowl hunter.
What We Like
- Lightweight, easy to carry.
- Very fast setup time.
- Offers great concealment, especially when coupled with some natural, existing cover.
What We Would Change
- Add mesh covering that can be raised and lowered on the front window.
- For most hunters to sit comfortably on a stool, the front window might need to be raised.