A well-built, permanent, weather-proof blind, large enough for two people, is high on many rural property owner’s lists. They find their place in a property-holding hunting club or on long term private property access as well. The two-man, elevated, all-weather buck tower hunting blind is a great place to share a hunt with a child, grandchild, spouse, friend or a first-time hunter. Plus, it becomes a valuable part of the property.
2-Man Buck Tower Hunting Blind
Soon after I purchased my farm, I found a location that, with a 7-foot elevated blind, I could see into one of my best food plots, a creek crossing used daily by deer, and into a wooded corridor often used by bucks moving from a bedding area to their feeding area. I wanted such a location to use for introducing my grandchildren to deer hunting and land management. The blind needed to be elevated—so I could see the various hot spots—as well as permanent, for many years of use through any kind of weather.
Before I decided on building the blind, I shopped for a sturdy two-man, ready-made blind that would meet all my requirements but quickly saw that they would cost in the $1,500 range. Fortunately, I knew that with the help of my sons, we could build a blind like I wanted for about half that amount. And with the proper annual maintenance, it would last for many years.
After locating the site for my blind, I knew I had to design the floor about 7 feet above ground. Furthermore, I decided to make it 4 feet by 6 feet to be roomy enough to accommodate two hunters. Ensuring that it would be easy to enter and exit, as well as have the ability to shed water, I designed the rear height at just under 6 feet and the front height at 5.5 feet. Also, It would be framed in with treated 2x4s with a door frame for a 24-inch-wide door and three eye-level shooting openings that are 12 inches wide. Finally, I elected to use a sheet of 3⁄4-inch exterior plywood for the floor, for extra strength, and 1⁄2-inch exterior plywood panels for the sides and roofing deck.
The heart of my stand design is the platform upon which we built the stand. We started with Southern Outdoor Technologies EZ brackets (sportsmanscondo.com), which are well-designed, heavy-duty welded steel brackets. This places four 8-foot-by-4-inch- by-4-inch treated posts out at the proper angles for a safe, elevated blind. These brackets have slots and bolt holes to accept four 2×6 treated boards, to make a base that is securely bolted to the brackets with carriage bolts. We would build a set of steps from treated 2×6 boards, as well as add a handrail to enter the blind.
The roofing material added to the plywood deck was a layer of roof underlayment and metal roofing screwed into the roofing deck. We painted the blind green with black stripes to blend into the creek bottom setting. We then placed camo netting, loose at the bottom and sides, on each shooting position. This enables the hunters in the stand to see out but not have the deer see in.
Building The Base For Your Hunting Blind
First, a word of caution. We decided to pre-fab the platform and blind in the shop, because this is a heavy blind that will be 7 feet above ground, marking each piece as we built and then disassembling it. We then took all to the components to the blind site and reassemble, using caution when raising the platform up on the 4x4s. More on this to follow.
The EZ brackets make building the platform quick and easy. Cut one 2-inch-by- 6-inch-by-8-foot treated board into two 42 1⁄2-inch-long pieces. Then cut two 2-inch-by-6-inch-by-8-foot treated boards to 66 1⁄2-inches. Next, cut one 2-inch-by-6-inch-by-8-foot board into two 45-inch pieces for floor joists. Align each 42 1⁄2-inch and 66 1⁄2-inch piece with EZ brackets using guide pockets to create a 4-by-6-foot frame. Mark bracket holes on the boards and drill holes. Secure boards to EZ bracket using 5/16-inch carriage bolts, washers and lock nuts.
Then, install floor joists inside the frame using 3-inch lag screws. Next, cut the 3⁄4-inch-by- 4-inch-by-8-foot plywood with a circular saw into a 4-by-6-foot sheet. Using a jigsaw, cut out 2-by-4-inch openings for the four corners and 2-by-4-inch vertical supports for the blind framing. Secure the floor to the platform base using 3-inch deck screws. Now that the platform base is complete, it is ready for the blind framing. Note: You will want to number/describe each piece of the blind from this point on, as it will be disassembled and reassembled when the final blind is put together on site.
To attach the blind frame to the platform, cut two 2-inch-by-4-inch-by-8-foot boards to 78 inches in length for the high side of the blind, and then cut two boards to 75 inches for the low side. Using a framing square and long level, make sure each corner is vertical. Mark holes and pre-drill. Bolt these corner boards into the EZ bracket using 3⁄8-by-16-by-3-inch carriage bolts with washers and hex nuts.
Mark the angle of the roof line using chalk line, from the back corners of the rear framing (tall side) boards through back corners of the front framing (short side) boards. Cut angles with a jig or circular saw. Do the same for the center rafter.
Install 2×4 framing around the top and secure the center rafter with 21⁄2-inch deck screws. Frame in door. Attach the center support for the front shooting window.
Shooting Holes FTW
Next you will want to make sure the shooting opening is the right height for the chairs and shooters who will be using the blind. Actually have the shooter sit in the chair to make sure of the height. Ours is 39 inches as shown on the plan. Also, you may not want a 12-inch opening on the shooting openings. Now is the time to adjust that for your personal taste.
Next frame in horizontal boards for shooting openings and back wall supports. Install the upper vertical support for the center of the front shooting opening.
With the framing complete, cut panels from ½-inch plywood to cover the front, back and sides. Use deck screws to attach. Do not forget to number/describe all parts for reassembly. We used a scrap piece from the 3⁄4-inch plywood floor to make one side panel. Painting the panels green was much easier while they were still easy to reach. It saved time. Reassembling the blind above the ground also made it easier to paint.
Final Cuts & Transport
Finally, cut one piece of 1⁄2-inch plywood 63 inches by 72 inches for the roof. There is an overhang at the front and back of the roof.
Carefully disassembling the blind, except for the platform and floor, allows us to transport it to its permanent location. Once there, slip the 4-by- 4-inch post in the EZ brackets and attach with a lag bolt in each bracket to hold it in place. With plenty of help, and being very careful, roll the platform into the position you want it to sit permanently. Mark the ground and dig holes 12 to 24 inches deep. Sit the platform legs in the ground and check the platform to be level in all directions. Make adjustments by digging until it is level. Mix and pour in one bag of Quikrete per hole. Allow it to set up for 48 hours.
With the platform securely anchored in concrete, we constructed a set of steps out of the remaining four 2-inch-by-6-inch-by-8-foot boards. We attached the steps to the platform, in line with the center of the high side, with lag screws. This made getting on the platform to reassemble the blind easy. It took two of the boards to make the runners and the other two to make the nine steps that were 20 inches wide and 71⁄2 inches aSince the blind will be used by young and elderly hunters alike, we decided to make them 60 degrees. However, many who build elevated blinds simply make a 90-degree ladder for the entrance.
We placed the bottom of each runner on a 4-inch-by-4- inch-by-16-inch concrete support block to give the steps a long life and to give it a firm footing. After completing the blind, we also added a handrail to the steps made from scrap 2x4s.
Starting with the corner boards, we reassembled the blind in the same order we built it on the ground, thanks to the marking we did on the pieces of the framing. Since the blind was 7 feet above the ground at the floor, it was necessary to use ladders for much of the reassembly and caution was used to prevent anyone from falling.
After securing the roofing deck to the top of the blind, we stapled two sheets of roofing underlayment in place. Next, using a circular saw with a metal cutting blade, we cut the galvanized roofing into two pieces to fit the roof. We then used washer-equipped roofing screws to attach the pieces.
Utilizing 2-inch-by-6-inch-by-8-foot boards, we created an “X” brace and screwed it to the 4×4 legs for stability. We attached the “X” brace with one side on the inside of the 4×4 post and the other side on the outside. Where the lumber crossed there is a 4-inch space. We used scrap pieces of 4×4 to screw in the X-shaped boards at this point.
As with the stairs versus a ladder as mentioned above, there are many options with an elevated, permanent blind. Some people like to leave the door space open. Since the door side of our blind faced north, we wanted a door to stop cold winds, so we used scrap 1⁄2-inch plywood complete with hinges, handle and a hook-and-eye door latch. I have seen many blinds of this type simply hang a tarp or heavy camo fabric over door openings.
Another option is how to treat the shooting openings. Some hunters place hinged Plexiglas on the openings while others do nothing. We elected to hang camo netting inside the blind and allow it to drop down enough to cover the opening. Although, they do blow when there is a wind. However, once the deer acclimate to the movement—as the blind becomes part of the landscape—they will pay it no attention.
Ready to Hunt
It is easy to keep a blind like this warm with the ability to insulate it and use a small gas heater. We elected to not go this far with ours.
After completion of the blind, the addition of a couple folding chairs and cushions will have you ready for hunting season. With the ability to use these blinds to study/photograph wildlife or as an emergency cold weather shelter, they are a valuable asset to any rural property, beyond just hunting.
This article is from American Frontiersman magazine. Subscriptions are available at OutdoorGroupStore.com.