By: David Rodgers
This is a follow up article to an earlier review of the Caldwell Hunter's Blind Bag by Dr Jim & Mary Clary.
Through the good offices of Dr Jim Clary, well known contributor to the Universal Hunter Magazine, I was recently most fortunate to receive a Caldwell Hunter's Blind Bag from him in my mailbox here in the small township where I live about half an hour's drive to the south-east of Melbourne in Australia.
Caldwell Hunter’s Blind Bag
The first thing I noticed on getting the padded mailer into my hand was just how light it was and, of course, this was because it had been mailed unfilled to minimize postage costs.
On opening the package the Caldwell Hunter’s Blind Bag did nonetheless appear somewhat smaller than I had envisaged from the Clarys' original review of the filled blind bag – but smallish in reality is what it is supposed to be and exactly what it needs to be – and as it would turn out in the field its actual size is something that I found to be just right.
The first order of business was to get the Blind Bag operational, so deciding on a suitable material was the first decision to be made. Not being a reloader I didn't have a supply of ground corn cob handy but felt sure that rice would likely make a very viable alternative. Most happily this proved to be the case and, with the aid of a small plastic funnel, soon had each of the compartments filled the way that I hoped would be the most useful.
This proved to be somewhere about half of what might be described as ‘tight full' capacity for the hanging sides and at least three quarters ‘tight' for the top compartment which is obviously where your rifle is rested.
I should add here that the filling process is by means of three small ‘ears' which fold back on themselves after filling, so there is no loss of filler material in use. These protrude one each from the sides of the hanging side compartments and one underneath the top rest compartment, all very neat and tidy indeed.
In case you haven't guessed, these ”guidelines”, if they may be so dignified, for filling with rice are very much a rule of thumb type of thing and are entirely unscientific as I did absolutely no weighing and measuring and just filled each compartment until the whole thing looked and felt right in my hand.
In the Clarys' review of the ready filled Blind Bag they received mentioned that its weight was 23 ounces but, lacking a kitchen scale, I can't be sure what weight mine has come to. I suspect, but don't know, that if it were filled to capacity with rice as opposed to ground corn cob that its final weight would exceed that figure.
What I do know for sure is that I got lucky with my estimations the first time and that this terrific little thing really works, can be used in all sorts of shooting positions, takes up minimal space, and, for me anyway, vastly improves the percentages of a clean one-shot kill.
During the short period of time that the Blind Bag has been mine it has been of such great assistance that I simply would not leave home without it now for any kind of shooting trip. I have been able to rest it on top of flat fence posts so that its soft yet firm top lobes have comfortably held both my .22 and .243, over the windowsill of my car so that I was not shooting wood on metal at a couple of bunnies that popped up, and even directly over the top strand of a barbed wire fence when a rest was really needed.
Not that I would actually make a habit of that, but the 600 denier polyester is really tough and did actually come away unmarked from the encounter!
With the side bags half filled as mentioned I found that this provided just the right amount of weight to keep the Blind Bag stable wherever I hung it, and its preformed top lobes ensured that the forestock of my rifle would be kept snug, steady, and not banged up and scratched on tree limbs and the like.
Not losing skin to rifle recoil against hard surfaces is also an added bonus if you happen to have sling studs or a bipod on a bigger caliber rifle. The other very handy advantage of having the side bags filled no more than I described is that the Blind Bag can very easily be rolled up and carried in the pocket of a shooting/camo jacket and it then needs only a moment to bring it into service.
My local gunshop buddy was impressed when I showed the Blind Bag to him and was a little surprised to note that his wholesalers had not so far seen fit to include this item on their stock list. Perhaps that situation will soon rectify itself but, given the wonders of the Internet, it shouldn't be too hard to get hold of one. Well worth the small effort and dollar outlay for something so very useful and punching so much above its weight.