Title:
Hunting blind
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A portable decoy-shaped blind includes a frame for erecting and collapsing the blind and an enclosure having a left, right, front and rear side supported by the frame to define an enclosed area sized to accommodate an individual therein. The enclosure includes a graphical portion depicting a torso and legs of a real-life animal, wherein the graphical portion is contiguously defined along the left, right, front and rear sides. The enclosure also includes a head portion extending from the front side, wherein the head portion is representative of a head associated with the real-life animal. The blind is dimensioned to substantially correspond in size to the size of the real-life animal, such as a bovine creature. Also disclosed is a portable decoy-shaped tarp for use with an existing hunting blind. The tarp includes a depiction of a torso and legs of a real-life animal and a head portion attached thereto.



Inventors:
Reddick, Stephen Michael (Strattanville, PA, US)
Reddick, Thomas Edward (Butler, PA, US)
Application Number:
11/523154
Publication Date:
05/31/2007
Filing Date:
09/19/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
43/1, 135/901
International Classes:
E04H15/36
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LYNCH, PATRICK D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
The Webb, Law Firm P. C. (700 KOPPERS BUILDING, 436 SEVENTH AVENUE, PITTSBURGH, PA, 15219, US)
Claims:
The invention claimed is:

1. A portable decoy-shaped blind comprising: a frame for erecting and collapsing the blind; and an enclosure having a left, right, front and rear side supported by the frame to define an enclosed area sized to accommodate an individual therein, the enclosure comprising: a graphical portion depicting a torso and legs of a real-life animal, wherein the graphical portion is contiguously defmed along the left, right, front and rear sides; and a head portion extending from the front side, wherein the head portion is representative of a head associated with the real-life animal.

2. The blind of claim 1, wherein the blind is dimensioned to substantially correspond in size to the size of the real-life animal.

3. The blind of claim 2, wherein the real-life animal is a bovine creature.

4. The blind of claim 2, further comprising a tail portion extending from the rear side.

5. The blind of claim 4, further comprising one or more supports adapted to support the head or tail from the front side and rear side, respectively.

6. The blind of claim 1, wherein the enclosure further comprises one or more camouflage portions defined on sections of the left, right, front and rear sides that are unoccupied by the graphical portion.

7. The blind of claim 6, wherein the graphical portion includes breed identifying indicia.

8. The blind of claim 2, further comprising: a first and second opening defined within the left or right side, respectively; and a third opening defined within the rear side.

9. The blind of claim 8, wherein the first, second and third openings include respective sealable coverings.

10. The blind of claim 9, wherein the sealable coverings are zippered mesh.

11. The blind of claim 1, wherein the frame includes at least one of: a plurality of interconnected rods; a plurality of wands; a foldable framework; and one or more inflatable sleeves.

12. The blind of claim 1, further comprising a gun rack secured to an interior portion thereof.

13. The blind of claim 1, wherein the blind is constructed of waterproof material.

14. The blind of claim 1, further comprising an entrance for providing entry into the blind for an individual.

15. A portable decoy-shaped blind comprising an enclosure sized to accommodate an individual therein and substantially correspond in size to the size of a real-life bovine creature, wherein the enclosure includes: a depiction of a torso and legs of a bovine creature defined on an outer surface of the enclosure; a head portion representative of a head associated with the real-life bovine creature, wherein the head portion is attached to the outer surface of the enclosure; a pop-up framework for erecting and collapsing the blind; and a plurality of camouflage portions defined on the outer surface of the enclosure in areas between the respective leg depictions of the bovine creature.

16. The blind of claim 15, further comprising a tail portion representative of a tail associated with the real-life bovine creature, wherein the tail portion is attached to the outer surface of the enclosure.

17. A portable decoy-shaped tarp for use with a hunting blind, wherein the tarp is comprised of: a depiction of a torso and legs of a real-life animal defined on the tarp; and a head portion attached to the tarp, wherein the head portion is representative of a head associated with the real-life animal.

18. The tarp of claim 17, further comprising a tail portion attached to the tarp, wherein the tail portion is representative of a tail associated with the real-life animal.

19. The tarp of claim 18, wherein the real-life animal is a bovine creature.

20. The tarp of claim 17, wherein the tarp is constructed of an elastic material to allow the tarp to accommodate hunting blinds having different dimensions.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/740,083, filed Nov. 28, 2005, and entitled “Hunting Blind,” the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to a hunting blind and, more particularly, to an animal-shaped hunting blind for shielding hunters from the view of prey and protecting hunters from the elements.

2. Description of Related Art

The hunting of birds and animals frequently requires a form of concealment. The traditional approach has been to use either camouflage and blend with the surroundings or to appear as a non-threatening shape. Until now, the problem with hunting blinds is that they are heavy and cumbersome, are unrealistic in size, do not provide adequate weather protection, and/or provide awkward and uncomfortable observation or shooting positions for the hunter.

For example, U.S. Pat. No. 3,052,054 to Littleton et al. discloses a hunting blind that neither protects the hunter from inclement weather nor provides adequate concealment from prey due to the relative two-dimensional shape of the hunting blind. U.S. Pat. No. 5,675,926 to Manka discloses a decoy apparatus that is also uncovered and therefore exposes the hunter to the elements. Furthermore, although the hunter is hidden between two decoy sides, the front and rear portions of the decoy apparatus provide no concealment. Additionally, due to the bulkiness of the apparatus, any movement of the apparatus cannot be considered to be on a level of portability associated with hiking or walking great distances. Thus, this apparatus is limited in practice to use in a set geographic area without any great deviation therefrom. U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,581,837; 5,075,999; and 6,415,807 to Powlus, Fredericks and Maher, respectively, disclose hunting blinds that are unrealistic in size with respect to the size of the real-life animals that these hunting blinds attempt to represent. Thus, they may not be effective decoys when used to hunt intelligent or conditioned prey. Additionally, the design of each of these hunter blinds does not provide the hunter with a comfortable position or room to shift positions during an extended stay within the hunting blind. U.S. Pat. No. 4,829,694 to Oasheim discloses a hunting blind having an abnormally sized goose head connected to a tent structure. Thus, the only animal decoy related aspect of this blind is the disproportionate head, which, as with the aforementioned unrealistically sized hunting blinds, may not be effective decoys when used to hunt intelligent or conditioned prey. Furthermore, this hunting blind requires inflation of a balloon to provide the shape of the head and neck portion of the hunting blind. This procedure is cumbersome and not conducive to quickly setting up the hunting blind. Additionally, this hunting blind requires that the body of the hunting blind fall apart and expose the hunter prior to the hunter shooting. Accordingly, the hunting blind disclosed in Oasheim does not provide continual concealment up to the point of shooting, which is considered to be crucial to effective hunting.

It is, therefore, desirable to overcome the limitations of the prior art by providing a hunting blind that is lightweight and portable for quick setup thereof. Additionally, such a blind should provide adequate protection to the hunter from the elements and allow him or her to assume a comfortable position or make necessary position changes. Most importantly, the aforementioned characteristics should be embodied in a hunting blind that realistically represents a real-life animal.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, we have invented a portable decoy-shaped blind including a frame for erecting and collapsing the blind and an enclosure having a left, right, front and rear side supported by the frame. The enclosure defines an enclosed area sized to accommodate an individual, such as a hunter or nature observer, therein. The enclosure includes a graphical portion depicting a torso and legs of a real-life animal, wherein the graphical portion is contiguously defmed along the left, right, front and rear sides of the enclosure. Breed identifying indicia may be represented by the graphical portion. The enclosure may also include one or more camouflage portions defmed on sections of the left, right, front and rear sides that are unoccupied by the graphical portion.

The enclosure also includes a head portion extending from the front side thereof, wherein the head portion is representative of a head associated with the real-life animal. The enclosure may optionally include a tail portion extending from the rear side thereof. One or more supports may be adapted to support the head or tail from the front side and rear side, respectively. The blind is dimensioned to substantially correspond in size to the size of the real-life animal. Accordingly, an exemplary real-life animal represented by the blind is a bovine creature.

The frame of the blind may be constructed of a plurality of interconnected rods, a plurality of wands, a foldable framework, or one or more inflatable sleeves. For example, a pop-up framework may be utilized for erecting and collapsing the blind. The blind includes an entrance for providing entry into the blind for an individual. The blind includes a first and second opening defined within the left or right side, respectively, of the enclosure. A third opening may be defmed within the rear side of the enclosure. Each of the first, second and third openings may include respective sealable coverings, such as zippered mesh. A gun rack may be secured to an interior portion of the enclosure. The blind is desirably constructed of waterproof and/or water-resistant material.

An alternative embodiment of the present invention includes a portable decoy-shaped tarp for use with a hunting blind. Generally, the tarp may be constructed of an elastic material to allow the tarp to accommodate hunting blinds having different dimensions. The tarp includes a depiction of a torso and legs of a real-life animal defined on the tarp. Furthermore, the tarp includes a head portion attached thereto, wherein the head portion is representative of a head associated with the real-life animal, such as a bovine creature. Optionally, a tail portion may be attached to the tarp, wherein the tail portion is representative of a tail associated with the real-life animal.

Still other desirable features of the invention will become apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art upon reading and understanding the following detailed description, taken with the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference numerals represent like elements throughout.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a hunting blind in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is side plan view of the hunting blind of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a rear plan view of the hunting blind of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a rear perspective view of the hunting blind of FIG. 1 illustrating an individual situated therein; and

FIG. 5 is a front perspective view of an alternative embodiment hunting blind in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

For purposes of the description hereinafter, spatial or directional terms shall relate to the invention as it is oriented in the drawing figures. However, it is to be understood that the invention may assume various alternative variations, except where expressly specified to the contrary. It is also to be understood that the specific apparatus illustrated in the attached drawings, and described in the following specification, is simply an exemplary embodiment of the invention. Hence, specific dimensions and other physical characteristics related to the embodiments disclosed herein are not to be considered as limiting, unless otherwise indicated.

With reference to FIGS. 1-4, a hunting blind 10 for providing concealment for a hunter while also providing shelter and comfort from the weather is shown. The hunting blind 10 is designed to be visually perceived as an animal and, more specifically, an animal suitable as an appropriate decoy within the environment in which the hunting blind 10 is to be utilized. For example, as depicted in the accompanying figures, an exemplary animal may be a bovine creature, or a ruminant mammal of the genus Bos, such as an ox, cow or buffalo. It is known in the art of hunting and nature observation that a cow situated within relative close proximity of prey, such as a turkey, would not be considered to be a cause of alarm and anxiety for the turkey. Thus, a decoy, such as a realistically represented cow, would effectively be ignored by the prey and be dismissed as a non-threatening presence. Accordingly, the hunting blind 10 of the present invention appropriates characteristics traditionally associated with an animal decoy. The present invention is discussed in connection with a representation of a cow; however, it is to be understood that the hunting blind 10 may embody any other suitable animal including, but not limited to, deer and horses.

Generally, according to the desirable embodiment, the hunting blind 10 includes an enclosure having a base 12 from which a left side 14, a right side 16, a front side 18 and a rear side 20 extend substantially upwardly to define an enclosed area 22 sized to accommodate at least one individual therein. In one embodiment, the left and right sides 14, 16 merge to define a curved upper portion of the hunting blind 10 representative of a cow's anatomical back. The hunting blind 10 may be of similar construction as prior art tented hunting blinds to the extent that an enclosed area 22 is formed. Thus, the base 12 and the left 14, right 16, front 18 and rear sides 20 may be supported by a frame or other suitable support structure. It will be appreciated that the base 12 is optional. The embodiments of the invention disclosed herein should be understood to optionally include the base 12. The sides 14, 16, 18 and 20 may be supported by a frame without a base such that sides 14, 16, 18 and 20 hang from the frame and are sized to contact the ground. The frame may be constructed of interconnected flexible rods or wands 24 that are either permanently or removably embedded in sleeves or other attachment points of the base 12 and the left 14, right 16, front 18 and rear sides 20. In the desirable embodiment, the frame is embodied as a pop-up configuration utilizing tensionable wands to provide quick and effortless erecting of the hunting blind 10. The design and mechanics relating to pop-up tenting construction are known in the art. Desirably, the frame is also conducive to efficient collapsing of the hunting blind 10. The pop-up configuration allows for ease of portability and storage. It is to be understood that the aforementioned support structures are not to be construed as limiting the invention, as other suitable mechanisms, such as inflatable sleeves, may be utilized to support the base 12 and the left 14, right 16, front 18 and rear sides 20. Desirably, the hunting blind 10 is dimensioned to substantially correspond in size to the real-life size of the animal represented. Thus, it is to be understood that the blind 10 attempts to assume a relatively proportionate representation of a real-life animal.

With respect to the animal representative aspects, a graphical portion 26 depicting a torso 28 and legs 30a, 30b, 30c, 30d of the cow is defined along the left 14, right 16, front 18 and rear sides 20. As shown in FIG. 1, each leg is depicted on at least two sides of the hunting blind 10 such that each leg spans an abutting edge shared by those two sides. For example, the leg 30a extends from the torso 28 such that a portion of the leg 30a is shown on the left 14 and front side 18 of the hunting blind 10. Accordingly, each of the legs 30a-d is situated in respective outermost comers of the base 10. The graphical portion 26 may further include indicia or other detailing that is representative of a specific breed of the cow. Thus, for example, unique colors or spotting patterns may be used on the graphical portion 26. The indicia or detailing may also include fur, either real, faux, or a blend thereof, representative of the real-life animal's fur.

In the desired embodiment, camouflage portions 32 are defined in sections of the left 14, right 16, front 18 and rear sides 20 that are unoccupied by the graphical portion 26. Thus, for example, the area of the left side 14 between leg 30a and leg 30c includes the camouflage portions 32 extending from the lower edge of the left side 14 to the contoured edges of the graphical portion 26. The camouflaged portions 32 may include indicia or detailing conducive to concealing the left 14, right 16, front 18 and rear sides 20 of the hunting blind 10. It is to be understood that the indicia or detailing may vary depending upon the environment in which the hunting blind 10 is to be utilized. Thus, for example, traditional camouflage designs and colors (e.g., brown and green) may be used in a pasture or wooded setting. However, it is to be understood that the design and color of the camouflage portions 32 is not to be construed as limiting the invention. The arrangement of the camouflage portions 32, with respect to the graphical portion 26, obscures the non-cow sections of the hunting blind 10.

The hunting blind 10 also includes a head portion 34 representative of a head associated with the animal. Desirably, the head portion 34 is three dimensional and is sufficiently detailed to achieve an effective level of realism. Thus, the head portion 34 may include features such as ears, eyes and a nose. With respect to FIG. 1, a head of a cow extends from the front side 18 of the hunting blind 10. Desirably, the head portion 34 is integral with the hunting blind 10; however, it is to be understood that the head portion 34 may be removably attached to the front side 18 via any suitable attachment mechanism, such as a hook. The head portion 34 may be collapsible via a pop-up configuration using wands 24, similar to that implemented in connection with the base 12 and the left 14, right 16, front 18 and rear sides 20. Alternatively, the head portion 34 may utilize a wire frame (e.g., chicken wire) to provide increased rigidity to the head portion 34. It is to be understood that the aforementioned head portion 34 is not to be construed as limiting the invention, as the head portion 34 may embody various other configurations. For example, the head portion 34 may be pivotally connected to the front side 18 to provide side-to-side and/or up-down movement representative of life-like movements associated with the head of a real-life cow.

As shown in FIG. 2, the hunting blind 10 may also include a tail portion 36 representative of a tail associated with the animal. For example, the tail portion 36, such as a cow tail, extends from the rear side 20 of the hunting blind 10. The tail portion 36 may also include wands 24 for supporting the tail in various positions. It is to be understood that the aforementioned tail portion 36 is not to be construed as limiting the invention, as the tail portion 36 may embody various other configurations. For example, the tail portion 36 may be pivotally connected to the rear side 20 to provide side-to-side and/or up-down movement representative of life-like movements associated with the tail of a real-life cow.

Desirably, the hunting blind 10 and, more specifically, the base 12 and the left 14, right 16, front 18 and rear sides 20, is constructed of traditional tenting material or other suitable weather resistant materials. For example, the material may be waterproof and/or insulated to protect an individual from the elements. Desirably, the hunting blind 10 may be constructed of polyurethane-backed polyester and may optionally include a scent elimination coating to help conceal the individual'scent. The head portion 34 and the tail portion 36 may also be constructed of weather resistant material.

As shown in FIG. 1, the hunting blind 10 includes an entrance 38 for providing entry for an individual into the hunting blind 10. The entrance 38 may include any suitable tenting closure known in the art including, but not limited to, zipper or VELCRO® type fasteners. The hunting blind 10 also includes one or more openings conducive to observation and hunting therethrough. For example, as specifically shown in FIG. 2, a window 40 may be defined within the right side 16 of the hunting blind 10. The window 40 may include a covering 42 that may be partially or fully opened via any suitable tenting closure known in the art including, but not limited to, zipper or Velcro® type fasteners. For example, as shown in FIG. 2, the covering 42 is attached along an upper edge of the window 40. A zipper arrangement 44 may be used to secure the unattached edges of the covering 42 to respective edges of the window 40. The covering 42 may be of camouflage mesh or other suitable material that permits external viewing by an individual from within the hunting blind 10, but prevents viewing into the hunting blind 10 by potential prey. A non-mesh or solid window covering (not shown) may be attached to the window 40 to prevent moisture or wind from passing through the covering 42 into the enclosed area 42 of the hunting blind 10.

As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, a similar window 40 may be defined on the rear 20 and left side 16 of the hunting blind 10. Multiple windows provide increased visibility from within the hunting blind 10. As specifically shown in FIG. 4, the windows 40 may be opened to accommodate a hunting weapon (e.g., rifle, bow, etc.) therethrough. This allows the individual within the hunting blind 10 to remain concealed during preparation and execution of the shot of the weapon. It is to be understood that the depiction of the windows 40 in the accompanying figures is for exemplary purposes only and that other suitable sizes, quantity, and arrangements thereof may be implemented.

Desirably, the enclosed area 22 may be equipped with amenities inherent in tenting structures including, but not limited to, pockets, ventilation channels and lighting fixtures. A gun rack arrangement, such as hooks 46, may be mounted along one or more interior sides of the hunting blind 10. Furthermore, the hunting blind 10 may include appropriate attachment points (not shown) along the base 12 to accommodate ground stakes or ties for securing the hunting blind 10 to the ground.

With continuing reference to FIGS. 1-4, FIG. 5 depicts a tarp 50 for use with a prior art hunting blind 52, such as a blind in a regular, geometric configuration. Desirably, the prior art hunting blind 52 includes a camouflage design on the exterior surface thereof. The tarp 50 is shaped to approximate the design of the graphical portion 26 of the hunting blind 10. Thus, the tarp 50 includes legs 54 that extend downwardly to the respective four corners of the prior art hunting blind 52. Each leg may include attachment points for securing shock cords (not shown) thereto. The free ends of the shock cords may then be pulled taut and secured to the prior art hunting blind or ground stakes, thereby effectively securing the tarp 50 to the prior art hunting blind 52. Similarly to the head portion 34 associated with the hunting blind 10, the head portion 34 of the top 50 may be integral therewith or may be removably attached thereto. The tail portion 36 associated with the hunting blind 10 may also be attached to the tarp 50 at an opposing end thereof with respect to the head portion 34. Accordingly, the tarp 50, when used with the camouflaged prior art hunting blind 52, presents a similar real-life appearance of an animal as that portrayed by the hunting blind 10 having a unitary graphical portion 26 and camouflage portion 32 construction. Desirably, the tarp 50 may be constructed of similar weather-resistant material as the hunting blind 10. However, due to the availability of different-sized prior art hunting blinds 52, the tarp 50 may also be constructed of elastic material to allow the tarp 50 to fit these different-size prior art hunting blinds 52. The tarp 50 may include openings or windows 40 that correspond in location to the areas in which openings are defined in the prior art hunting blinds. The aligned openings allow an individual within the prior art hunting blind 52 to direct a hunting weapon through both of the corresponding openings.

The invention has been described with reference to the desirable embodiments. Modifications and alterations will occur to others upon reading and understanding the preceding detailed description. It is intended that the invention be construed as including all such modifications and alterations insofar as they come within the scope of the appended claims or the equivalents thereof.