Shooting from hides.

mex

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Nigel
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There is no doubt that using a hide gives you a fantastic advantage, but some hides are just meh, whilst others are fantastic. I have owned or used quite a few over the years, from a reclaimed garden shed to pop-up hides to home made blinds, all work but some work better than others.

The garden shed was so comfortable to work from but obviously not at all portable. It was set up a few years ago when a friend (now sadly departed) owned a small holding and allowed myself and a friend to use a small area that had a breeding pair of little owls in an oak tree. Then when the owls left we used it almost daily in the spring/autumn for a number of species like spotted flycatchers, yellowhammers, GS peckers, goldfinches,linnets and on one occaison a turtle dove,then eventually we set up a reflection pool. We no longer have access to the land and the shed has been knocked down.

I wanted to get some kingfisher shots, so I bought an Ameristep 'Dawg house' pop-up hide, but I soon realised that the birds were wary of it going up and down all the time. I built a permanent hide in the reedbed only for local youths to find and destroy it after just a few days. Back to the drawing board.....I bought a ghillie suit, that worked a treat, however you do look a bit of a tw@ if anyone should see you in it! but as long as you keep relatively still the birds were not at all bothered by you, the disadvantages though are: the material will get snagged in the vegetation around you and you get bloody hot wearing one.

I'm now on pop-up hides again,just for the convenience. I currently have a Tragopan V6, the best made pop-up I've used, built to a very high standard with loads of accessories available, it's not cheap though.Also a Nitehawk chair hide, probably my most used hide at the moment as its very portable and as the name suggests, it's built around a chair, it's surprising roomy inside with enough space for a tripod, downside is the opening in the front is big and you need a scrim net to conceal yourself which can flap around in wind. I have 2 other pop-up hides, the Dawghouse (or at least whats left of it) and a cheap one I got from eBay. I still used just camo netting as a blanket but for comfort it's got to be a hide. Then there's a simple hide made from what ever is laying on the ground around you, works OK but offers little or no weather protection and you can bet your bottom penny it won't be there next time you want to use it.

The cost of hides start at £0 , the Tragopan is £220.

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I had to look up the Tragopan and the Espen Helland video...................it really does look like the RR of hides.

I did notice the (slightly?) more budget version Affût Grouse V+

No usage video on that one but as the blurb suggests it of the same standard....food for thought???
 
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Rob
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I had to look up the Tragopan and the Espen Helland video...................it really does look like the RR of hides.

I did notice the (slightly?) more budget version Affût Grouse V+

No usage video on that one but as the blurb suggests it of the same standard....food for thought???
Never heard of them either. I quite like you can get additional accessories such as the floor pan and extension to lie flat in for ground shots. That’s quite a nice addition that could be added in the future.

The only problem I’ve had with hides is that they are supposed to be put up and left rather than put up and take down all the time.
 
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The tragopan is getting good reviews, Rob Birchett has a youtube channel and now an ambasidor for them so offers a 5% discount, they look great as quick pop up like the old Kyham tents/awnings, silver lined insulation for warmer winters and cooler summer, I am thinking of getting one after Its far too early
 
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Never heard of them either. I quite like you can get additional accessories such as the floor pan and extension to lie flat in for ground shots. That’s quite a nice addition that could be added in the future.

The only problem I’ve had with hides is that they are supposed to be put up and left rather than put up and take down all the time.
Yes you are absolutely right in that in an ideal world or a bit of private land I would set up a hide and leave it there. I would love to put up a hide and have the confidence that it will still be there tomorrow, I am working on a friend of a friend who owns a few fields and a dog kennel, their land overlooks the side of a mountain (The Garth if you know it), there are redstarts and tree pipits in summer, thrushes of all varieties in the autumn and winter and buzzrds all year round. I approached a few farmers locally to see if I could rent a corner of a field but thus far no success.
 
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The tragopan is getting good reviews, Rob Birchett has a youtube channel and now an ambasidor for them so offers a 5% discount, they look great as quick pop up like the old Kyham tents/awnings, silver lined insulation for warmer winters and cooler summer, I am thinking of getting one after Its far too early
Where can you put something like this up? I’ve always struggled with thinking of the possible places they can be used as public land seems a bit harder to rock up and stick one up especially where it’s a nature reserve. I like the idea that they could be put up/taken down quickly but I’ve never been sure if they need to be in place for a while. do hides need to be up for a while for the wildlife to get used to them.

Yes you are absolutely right in that in an ideal world or a bit of private land I would set up a hide and leave it there. I would love to put up a hide and have the confidence that it will still be there tomorrow, I am working on a friend of a friend who owns a few fields and a dog kennel, their land overlooks the side of a mountain (The Garth if you know it), there are redstarts and tree pipits in summer, thrushes of all varieties in the autumn and winter and buzzrds all year round. I approached a few farmers locally to see if I could rent a corner of a field but thus far no success.
I’ve never had much luck asking farmers either. I’ve found some got spots but never got a yes from anyone.

I’ve always been worried about leaving one up permanently and going back to find it missing. .
 
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Great read Nigel (y)

The Tragopan Hide looks great but also quite complicated, my tongue in cheek / sarcastic reply to the Super Tragopans V6 video saying as much was liked by Tragopan themselves, which I found quite amusing. :)
 
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Great read Nigel (y)

The Tragopan Hide looks great but also quite complicated, my tongue in cheek / sarcastic reply to the Super Tragopans V6 video saying as much was liked by Tragopan themselves, which I found quite amusing. :)
It's not at all complicated, it's quite straight forward to put up and drop down and the scrim appertures are just clippped in.


Where can you put something like this up? I’ve always struggled with thinking of the possible places they can be used as public land seems a bit harder to rock up and stick one up especially where it’s a nature reserve. I like the idea that they could be put up/taken down quickly but I’ve never been sure if they need to be in place for a while. do hides need to be up for a while for the wildlife to get used to them.


I’ve never had much luck asking farmers either. I’ve found some got spots but never got a yes from anyone.

I’ve always been worried about leaving one up permanently and going back to find it missing. .
I've used mine in all manor of places, however if you do set it up in a very public area you have to be prepared for 'uninvited guests' to walk to the front of the hide and stare at you whilst you are sat in it or knocking the roof asking if there is anyone in there or ,my favourite, walking up to it and saying " what are you filming". I've never had a problem setting up at nature reserves, obviously you can't for example, trample down a reedbed to set up, but I think if you use your common sense you'll be fine, if you are concerned just ask at the visitor centre or a warden.

Edit: you will be surprised how well a pop-up works on an empty beach for waders.
 
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I have the Nitehawk, it's suprisingly good, apart from the rivets that are used as pivots on the chair, I've had to replace a few of them. My hide is a few years old now though, maybe the newer ones have better pins. It's not heavy either, easily carried and folds up to a resonable carrying size.

I've got some of my better Kingfisher shots with it, even had a KF scurrying about on top of it with me in it one day.

Hides are great, whether they be built from scrub and branches or permanent shed types, or anything in between, an absolute must most of the time.
 
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I have the Nitehawk, it's suprisingly good, apart from the rivets that are used as pivots on the chair, I've had to replace a few of them. My hide is a few years old now though, maybe the newer ones have better pins. It's not heavy either, easily carried and folds up to a resonable carrying size.

I've got some of my better Kingfisher shots with it, even had a KF scurrying about on top of it with me in it one day.

Hides are great, whether they be built from scrub and branches or permanent shed types, or anything in between, an absolute must most of the time.
Alsolutely agree, they give you so much more of an advantage, as @Lez325 is finding out with his hide.
 
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Just found this thread after narrowing down my search for a hide to a Tragopan VG or Grouse V+. I want to build a backyard hide but think one I can move around to see what spot I prefer may be the best option to start. I have a 1/4 acres for a garden and have put a pond in. The wildlife is starting to come and my newly found love of nature photography is best practiced in the garden
 
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The best hide I have is a polar white mondeo and is totally moveable . Birds tend to ignore cars as there everywhere . You just have to find a nice quiet spot to park up with light in the right direction and apply a food supply over a few days or weeks
 
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I use my car a bit too. I do lament it when I miss potentially great shots (boxing hares, birds of prey etc) whilst I'm doing 60 on a fast A road in traffic where there's no chance to brake let alone stop..

I've had reasonable success with my bean bag and green scrim scarf. I always figured the wildlife knows you're there from the moment you've parked up and they just need to discount you as a threat. Swinging lenses round quickly/ other sudden movements are what scares stuff off, that's where any hides come in
 
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When I use my car as hide I tend not to use a bean bag as I find they can sometimes fall to the ground,instead I now use a foot of 15mm foam pipe lagging along the top of the window, it seems to work just as well as a bean bag and as the foam seems to grip the glass it doesn't move or fall off.
 
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