Elevated Deer Shack

The following pages demonstrate how to build an elevated deer blind.  This is just one way of MANY ways to build one.  Feel free to modify these plans as you see fit.  This project is designed for the beginner and I am building it without assistance.  If you have a helper, it will be much easier for you to build.  Phase one was built in a day and an half.

 

The PLAN on paper.

PLEASE NOTE A DESIGN CHANGE TO THE PLAN

Raise the side walls (floor to bottom of shooting window)  from 30 inches to 36 or even 38 inches.  The opening is a bit to low!

Base  Large Side  Small Side

 

Most of the wood for this project has been from "dumpster diving" in my local subdivision.  I asked the building supervisor if I could rummage through the dumpsters as the carpenters build the new houses.  You would not believe what they consider "junk".  However, since they seldom use 4x4 wolmanized posts, purchasing four is probably the largest expenses of the project. Purchase post as long as you desire, I picked up four 12 footers at the local Home Depot for $12.97 each (total $51.88).  While your there pickup 4, 80 pound sacks of ready mix concrete (total $9.92).

 

Roll up to your base camp with the supplies and start cutting.  Prep every thing before you go out to the field for assembly.  It will save you a lot of back and forth trips.   I started with the base.  Since my plan is 4 foot wide by 6 foot long, I cut all the pieces needed before heading out to the field.  Do not assemble the sub floor yet.  This will be done in place after you complete the vertical posts. Pre-build two 6 foot long walls.  I choose 30 inch high (from floor to base of window opening) walls for windows.  At this height I can sit in a swivel chair and put the smoke poll out the window (on a sand bag resting on the shooting rail) for a perfect rest height.  The rest of the wall extends to 6 foot tall.  Obviously build the walls taller than 6 foot if you are taller.  You don't want to bonk your head every time you stand up.    Pics FIRST WALL pic2   Pics FIRST WALL pic3 - extend the plywood down 6 inches to nail into the base.  This will give it additional strength.  Also, when assembling this project, try to use liquid nail adhesive, it adds a bunch of strength.

 

HIT THE BACK COUNTRY

Time to build.  Layout your posts and other materials at your stand site.  I chose a hill side spot that is between two archery stands with automated corn feeders.  One stand is about 65 yards away and the other is about 80 yards away.  An easy shot with my Thompson Center Omega with a Nikon 50mm 3x9, 150 grains of powder and a 298 grain Power Belt bullet!

Start by digging the first hole for the post.  Since it is a down hill slope, I chose to dig down 2 feet for the front post.  Note that the back post will have to be deeper to be level at the top of the posts that the platform rests on.  Use a posthole digger.  This cuts a nice hole just larger that the post.  Important: MARK a line on the post  about 4 feet from the bottom of the post before inserting it into the hole.  This will give you a reference point to level all the other posts too.  Make sure the post is plumb.  This is critical.  Fill in the hole with rocks and cement.  Add water from a pond or stream.  Let it sit.  The first post is complete!

 

3 MORE POSTS TO GO

Dig hole number two and add post number two.  Make sure you marked a line around the post 4 feet up from the bottom.  Add a horizontal 2x6 between post 1 and post 2.  Place the 2x6 perfectly level using the lines you marked (4 ft. up from the bottom).  Once level and plumb, fill in with cement and rocks.  Let sit.  Repeat for post 3 and 4.  Secure 2x6 pieces around the bottom of all four posts and let stand until firm.  Add some cross bracing.  Due to limited materials, only a few cross bracing pieces were added at this time.  I will come back to add more later. 

Assemble the platform base

Start adding the base pieces that you have previously cut.  It doesn’t matter which piece you add first.  I chose the long side piece.  Add all four pieces around the outside.   Next add the joists.  Glue and screw (or nail) the joists every 16 inches on center or so.  For the final touch add a pre-cut plywood piece (leaning against tree) to the top of the base.  While I do not show it, I added yet another ½ inch piece on to the ½ inch piece base to make it super strong.  I do not want any noise from the platform as I move around.  Base complete.  Its starting to take shape.

 

Remember the walls you  built?  Time to lift them into place.  Lean them next to the tower and hook a rope on to the top.  Glue the area to be covered (3 ½ inches by 6 foot long) by the wall.  Lift into place and set a couple of nails.  Use some temporary bracing to keep the wall vertical.  Check plumb.  Blast nails along the wall base and on the outside plywood siding to tie it into the platform base.  Repeat process for the second wall.  LOOK’N good so far.  Pic

 

Feeder shot 1 out the window.    Feeder shot 2 out the other window.

 

THIRD WALL

 

If you have not already done so, build the third wall.  I waited until the first two were up to make sure the third wall would “fit”.   I measured the bottom inside dimension to verify it was the correct size. WALL STANDING INSIDE PIC  , WALL STANDING OUTSIDE PIC  Same procedure for this wall as the other two, except it is smaller.  REMEMBER to “EXTEND” the outside plywood sheathing 3 and ½ inches on each side.  When hoisted into place, these side flaps will cover the other two walls.  When the flaps are nailed into the other walls, it will “tie” up the walls and make them strong.  Hoist it up!  DISTANT VIEWS:  PIC1    PIC2   PIC3   PIC4      END of PART ONR ….DONE SO FAR  PIC.

 

PHASE TWO

 

Time to frame in the windows, door and roof

Window - Wall plan   Roof joist plan.  

 

Phase two includes cutting and nailing/screwing in some cripple studs.  These cripples add strength to the wall and allow plywood siding to be attached later.  In this photo, the backside is framed in and the front is next.  We will come back and cover the exterior walls later, but for now lets skip ahead and put a roof on the project to keep the rain off as much as possible.  Since I had several 2x8’s laying around, I deceided to use them as the roof joists (see roof joists plan above).   Cut the joists per the plan and knock-out the center section or use a chisel.  Once installed, the knock-out will get a 2x4 beam that ties the joists together.  While not mandatory, metal strapping will provide a strong connection.  This picture shows the end joist in place.  Overview of the joists.. pic 1  pic2.

 

Top it off with a roof.

 

Since the rise of the roof joists is small, a single sheet cut down the center will probably suffice to cover both sides of the roof.  However; since I wanted an overhang, I ripped a narrow piece of scrap particle board about 8 inches wide and applied it first.  Next add the 2 foot wide piece of particle board and nail it down.  View from below of the first half of the roof.  Add the second two roof pieces and then begin the shingling process.  Lay down the first row of shingles with the pattern in reverse.  Then lay another course with the pattern facing down to the edge.  Keep laying down all rows until you hit the peak of the roof.  Repeat the other side of the roof, again up to the peak.  At the peak, rip small pieces into about 1 foot sections and apply.  Nail only at the ends.  Do not expose any nails except the end two nails. Cover the end nails with tar if you want.  PIC1   PIC2  In phase three, I will install the upper exterior plywood and center “peek-a-boo” window.  Also, I will install the external shooting rest ledge on both sides.  Finally the end door and external siding.

 

PHASE THREE

 

In this picture, note the piece of plexiglass I found in a dumpster.  It will make a perfect fixed viewing window while standing in the blind.  The shooting windows are designed for a sitting height, but who doesn’t like to stand and stretch once in a while.  If you did not put in some fixed “peek-a-boo” windows, all you would see while standing is plywood.  With these windows installed around the blind, you can now stand up and view the surrounding landscape watching for incoming deer.  Apply 1 window per side.  Start to put up the plywood panels on each side of the window.   Time to fill in the blocking on the end.  Its taking shape!  Side view completed except for the shooting rails, shooting windows and shingle siding.  Another pic.  Picture 2  Picture 3  Same pic, but closer.  Looking good.   

 

PHASE FOUR

 

Time to side the blind.  I used shingles because they are cheap (free from left over jobs) and last a long time.  You can lay down the pattern tightly like you would on a real roof, or spread them out to save shingles.  Since they are nailed in vertically, there is less chance to rain getting in.  Pick a side, any side and start nailing them up.  Finish putting up your upper windows and plywood pieces, then apply shingles.  Don’t forget to install the final end wall if you have not yet done so.  View from inside looking out the end wall.

 

Work your way around the blind.  All done except for the shooting windows and the gun rest.  Make 3 rails per side to any dimension you want.  I will put up the third rail soon and put a wolmanized deck board across them.  On top of that goes the sandbag.  No fooling around here!

 

Final Phase

 

All right, let’s finish it.  Apply wolmanized deck boards to the exterior rails.  Add a sand bag or two and you will have a steady rest for those long shots.  For windows, I found some old storm windows in the trash on the way home from work.  These were just the perfect size for the two long (6 feet) sides.  Since they had only a small metal frame and some “fur” strips around them, I decided to mount them in a wood track and let them slide up and down.

 

Window UP   Window Midway  Window Down    Window NAIL

 

 I used scrap wood and started with a horizontal piece along the bottom for the window to rest on.  They using two pieces on each side, one as a base and the other to cover the window and act as a channel.  When the windows are in the full upright position, they rest on two nails that are placed in pre-drilled holes.  When you want to open the windows, simply hold the top of the window and pull the nails out.  Slide the window down the track and let it rest (bottom out) on the bottom horizontal  board.  When done, raise the window and put in the nails.   For the end, I will use plexiglass with two small hinges screwed into the 2x4 frame.  Add a door, handle and (eventually) locking bolt on the inside and outside.

 

Entry to shack