Title:
HUNTING BLIND
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A floatable hunting blind shaped like a muskrat but includes a roof portion pivotally attached to a base portion to rotate between a closed position and an open position. A biasing member urges the roof portion towards the open position. A latch is provided that can be adjusted to retain the roof in the closed position or release the roof to be pivoted to the open position by the urging of the biasing member.



Inventors:
Putman, Rodney J. (DeWitt, IA, US)
Application Number:
12/700514
Publication Date:
09/16/2010
Filing Date:
02/04/2010
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
114/266
International Classes:
E04H15/02; B63B35/44
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HAWK, NOAH CHANDLER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MCKEE, VOORHEES & SEASE, P.L.C. (801 GRAND AVENUE, SUITE 3200, DES MOINES, IA, 50309-2721, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A hunting blind comprising: a base portion; a roof portion hingedly attached to the base portion to pivot between a closed position and an open position; a biasing member for urging the roof portion towards the open position; and a latch adjustable between a latching position that engages the roof portion to hold the roof portion in the closed position against the urging of the biasing member and a releasing position that is disengaged from the roof portion whereby the roof portion is permitted to automatically rotate from the closed position to the open position by the urging of the biasing member.

2. The blind of claim 1, wherein the blind is shaped like a muskrat hut.

3. The blind of claim 1, further comprising buoyant floats to floatingly support the blind on water.

4. The blind of claim 1, wherein a sight window is formed between the roof portion and the base portion to permit sight out of the blind.

5. The blind of claim 4, wherein the base portion and the roof portion comprise wire frames covered with flexible fabric, and wherein the sight window is formed by a gap between flexible fabric covering the roof portion and flexible fabric covering the base portion.

6. The blind of claim 4, wherein the sight window permits 360° of viewing.

7. The blind of claim 4, wherein at least one of the wire frames includes a loop so that a barrel of a gun may extend outward from inside the blind to outside the blind without impeding movement of the roof portion from the closed position to the open position.

8. The blind of claim 1, further comprising a camouflage retaining element provided on an exterior of the blind for attaching camouflaging material to the exterior of the blind.

9. The blind of claim 1 wherein the base portion is formed from sections that are hingedly connected to each other to collapse into a compact storage configuration.

10. The blind of claim 9, wherein the sections are shaped to nest within each other when in the collapsed configuration.

11. A blind comprising: first, second, third and fourth base sections; the first base section being hingedly attached to the second base section, the second base section being hingedly attached to the third base section, and the third base section being hingedly attached to the fourth base section; a first latch selectively connects the fourth base section to the first base section; a roof portion hingedly attached to one of the base sections; and a second latch that is selectively movable between a first position that engages the roof portion in a closed position on top of the base sections and a second position disengaged from the roof portion that permits movement of the roof portion to an open position.

12. The blind of claim 11, further comprising: a biasing member connected to the roof portion and one of the base sections that urges the roof portion towards the open position.

13. The blind according to claim 11, wherein when the first latch is disconnected between the fourth base section and the first base section, the base sections will collapse into a compact storage configuration

14. The blind of claim 11, wherein the base sections are shaped to nest within each other when in a collapsed configuration.

15. The blind according to claim 14, wherein the first base section nests within the third base section and the second base section nests within the fourth base section.

16. The blind of claim 11, wherein each of the base sections has a float attached.

17. The blind of claim 11, wherein each of the base sections and the roof portion comprise wire frames covered with flexible fabric, and wherein a sight window is formed by a gap between flexible fabric covering the roof portion and flexible fabric covering the base sections.

18. The blind of claim 17, wherein at least one of the wire frames includes a loop so that a barrel of a gun may extend outward from inside the blind to outside the blind without impeding movement of the roof portion from the closed position to the open position.

19. The blind of claim 18, wherein the the loop is formed in the roof section.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119 to provisional application Ser. No. 61/160,362 filed Mar. 16, 2009, herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to hunting blinds, and in particular blinds that are useful for hunting game birds.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It is known to use blinds to aid in the hunting of game animals. A blind is a structure that is used to hide or camouflage a hunter, and in some cases to provide shelter for the hunter. Floating blinds have been used to aid in the hunting of water fowl. Most commonly these are small boats that include some structure for camouflaging the hunter. Typically the camouflage will be structured to make it appear that the floating blind is an extension of the shoreline, if the blind is intended to be used near the shore, or may appear to be vegetation growing out of the water. Generally, the hunter will stand or sit on the floating blind, and be supported above the water. Ducks and other water game birds may be wary of flying over land masses, or landing near such formations. Therefore, it would be advantageous to have a blind that allowed a hunter to appear to be part of the natural formations that might be found away from a shoreline.

Blinds that include a top covering such as a roof are desirable as the roof camouflages and hide the hunters from airborne game birds and provide protection from the elements. However, the roof can hinder or obstruct a full range of shooting from within such blinds.

Muskrats are mammals that live in and around ponds, streams, rivers, and lakes. Muskrats build small huts that they use as dwellings that are close to, but spaced apart from the shoreline of such bodies of water. These huts are commonly formed from mud, with sticks and grass, and other organic material. Ducks and other water fowl can often be found near muskrat huts, and in any event do not appear to make any effort to avoid flying over or landing near such huts.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a blind for hunting game birds. According to one embodiment, the blind includes a base portion that has a roof portion hingedly attached to it. A biasing member is provided for urging the roof portion to an open configuration. A latch is provided for maintaining the roof in a closed configuration against the urging of the biasing member when in a latching position; the latch is adjustable to a releasing position for permitting the biasing member to automatically rotate the roof from the closed configuration to the open configuration.

The blind may be configured to have a shape similar to a muskrat hut. The blind may include floats attached to the base portion to permit the blind to float on water. The base portion and roof portion may be formed from a wire frame draped in flexible waterproof fabric. And, the blind may be provided with a gap between the roof portion and the base portion to permit sight lines out of the blind. The space between the roof portion and the base portion may allow for 360° of sight. A resilient retaining element may be provided on the outside of the blind to allow camouflaging material to be retained between the retaining element and the outside of the blind. The retaining element may be formed from an elastic band. The blind may be formed from hinged sections that fold and nest upon each other for a collapsed storage and transport configuration.

According to another embodiment, the present invention is a blind that has first, second, third, and fourth base sections. The first base section is hingedly attached to the second base section, the second base section is hingedly attached to the third base section, and the third base section is hingedly attached to the fourth base section. A first latch selectively connects the fourth base section to the first base section. A roof portion is hingedly attached to one of the base sections. A second latch is selectively movable between a first position that engages the roof portion in a closed position on top of the base sections and a second position disengaged from the roof portion that permits movement of the roof portion to an open position. A biasing member may be connected to the roof portion and one of the base sections to urge the roof portion towards the open position. The base sections may be shaped to nest within each other when in a collapsed configuration. Each of the base sections may have a float attached. Each of the base sections and the roof portion may include wire frames covered with flexible fabric and a sight window may be formed by a gap between the flexible fabric covering the roof portion and flexible fabric covering the base sections. One of the wire frames may have a loop so that a barrel of a gun may extend outward from inside the blind to outside the blind without impeding movement of the roof portion from the closed position to the open position.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a blind according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 shows the blind of FIG. 1 with the roof portion in an open configuration.

FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the blind of FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 shows a detail view of a hinge between the base portion and the roof portion according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 5 shows a latching mechanism for retaining the roof portion in a closed configuration with the base portion, and for releasing the roof portion to permit the biasing member to automatically open the roof to an open configuration.

FIG. 6 shows a hinge used to connect the sections that form the base portion of the blind according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 illustrates a hinge used to connect sections of the base portion.

FIG. 8 shows how the blind folds for storage according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 9 shows the blind of FIG. 8 folded in a storage position.

FIG. 10 shows a blind according to one embodiment of the present invention covered with organic material, and floating on water for use in hunting water fowl.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The present invention relates to a blind that is useful for hunting animals, and especially water fowl. According to the preferred embodiment, a blind is shaped to have the appearance of a muskrat hut. The blind will float in shallow water to permit a single occupant to stand or sit within the blind, depending on the depth of the water. The blind includes a base portion and a roof portion. A gap is provided between the base portion and the roof portion to permit an occupant to view outside the blind. The roof is hingedly attached to the base and retained in the closed position with a releasable latch. When the latch is released, the roof will quickly and automatically rotate about the hinge to an open configuration so that the occupant has a clear space to stand and fire a weapon.

FIGS. 1-3 show a blind 10 according to one embodiment of the present invention. The blind 10 includes a base portion 12 and a roof portion 14. The blind 10 of FIG. 1 is in a closed configuration with the roof portion 14 secured generally directly above the base portion 12. The structure of the blind 10 is formed from wire frames (base portion) 16 and 17 (roof portion) that are covered with a flexible fabric covering 18. The frames 16 and 17 may be formed with 3/16″ steel rod, or other similar components that are shaped and attached to each other to form the desired shape. Preferably, the overall shape and size of the blind 10 will approximate the portion of a muskrat but that extends above water level. According to the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the base portion 12 has a lower diameter of approximately four feet and an upper diameter of approximately three feet. The roof portion 14 slopes inwardly from the top of the base portion 12, and has a top edge that is about one foot above the top line of the base portion 12. The flexible fabric 18 covering the frame 17 of the roof portion 14 is spaced about five inches apart from the fabric covering the base portion 12, in order to form a sight window 20 between the fabric 18 of the roof portion 14 and the fabric 18 of the base portion 12. The sight window 20 permits an occupant (not shown) to view the environment outside the blind 10.

The frame 17 of the roof portion 14, may include loops 22 to permit a barrel of a shotgun or rifle to extend outwardly from the blind 10 so that the gun barrel is located generally between the frame 17 of the roof portion 14 and the frame 16 of the base portion 12, so that the gun barrel (not shown) does not prevent the roof portion 14 from freely swinging to the open configuration shown in FIGS. 2 and 2A. Preferably two such gun loops 22 are provided to accommodate either a right-handed or left-handed hunter. While not shown, it should be understood that the loops could be formed downwardly in one or more of the base sections instead of in the roof section, as shown in the drawings. Preferably the flexible fabric 18 will be waterproof, and will be a color that will blend with the material a muskrat might use to form a muskrat hut. The blind 10 is provided with resilient camouflage retaining bands 24. The camouflage retaining bands 24 may be made from bungee cords, or other similar resilient elastic material. Grass, twigs, leaves, and other organic material similar to what might be used by muskrats, may be placed between the bands 24 and the fabric 18 in order to give the blind 10 a more realistic appearance.

FIGS. 2 and 3 show the blind 10 with the roof portion 14 in an open configuration. A biasing member 26, such as a bungee cord, spring, or other elastic band, is connected between the base portion 12 and the roof portion 14. In the embodiment shown, a bungee cord 26 is connected to hooks 28 that extend from appropriate locations on the frames 16, 17. The biasing member 26 should be mounted such that it is in tension with the roof portion 14, when the roof portion 14 is in the closed configuration of FIG. 1. The biasing member 26 thereby imparts a force on the roof portion 14 that tends to urge the roof portion 14 towards the open configuration of FIG. 2. Those of skill in the art will be aware of alternative structures for urging the roof portion 14 towards the open configuration, such as weights and pulleys, magnets, motors, and springs.

The base portion 12 is formed from multiple sections that are attached to each other by hinges to permit collapsing of the base portion 12 for storage and transport. Preferably, the sections will be made to fold, and nest upon each other. The embodiment shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 includes a front section 30, a rear section 32, a first side section 34 and a second side section 36. The frame 16 for the rear base section 32 includes a cross member 38. The cross member 38 is provided with hinge portions 42 that are shown in more detail in FIG. 4. The hinge portions 42 are used to attach the roof portion 14 to the base portion 12. The front base section 30 also includes a cross member 44 and braces 46. Cross member 44 may provide support to the roof portion 14 in the closed position. Cross member 44 can also be used to hang duck calls, shell belts and the like. Alternatively, fabric may be added to form a pocket or storage compartment on the interior of the blind 10.

With continued reference to FIGS. 2 and 3, the front base section 30 is also provided with a latching member 48. The latching member 48 is used to retain the roof portion 14 in the closed configuration. The details of one embodiment of the latching member 48 can be seen in FIG. 5.

Each of the sections 30, 32, 34, and 36 has a float 50 attached at its lower portion. As shown in the figures, the floats 50 may be attached by forming pouches in the flexible fabric covering 18 into which buoyant material may be received. The buoyant material, such as Styrofoam, or plastic floats, should have sufficient buoyancy to retain all but the very lower portion of the blind 10 above water. It should be appreciated that the blind 10 may be used on land with or without the floats 50 attached.

FIG. 4 shows a preferred embodiment of the hinges 42 used to connect the roof portion 14 to the base portion 12. As discussed above, the cross member 38 of the rear section 32 is provided with female hinge portions 42. The frame 17 for the roof portion 14 also includes a pair of female hinge members 64. Each of the female hinge members 64 on the roof portion 14 fits between a corresponding pair of the hinge portions 42 on the cross member 38. Removable hinge pins of 62 are provided to matingly engage the hinge members 42 and 64 to form a hinged connection between the roof portion 14 and the base portion 12. The hinge pins 62 may be provided with lanyards or tethers to attach them to one of the frame members. Those of ordinary skill in the art will be aware of other arrangements for rotatably attaching the roof portion 14 to the base portion 12.

FIG. 5 show a preferred embodiment for forming the latching mechanism to hold the roof portion 14 in a closed configuration on the base portion 12. The latching member 48 includes a roof engaging projection 56 and a handle 58. The latching member 48 is journaled within a female hinge member 60 provided on a portion of the frame 16 of the front base section 30. The latching member 48 can be adjusted between a latching position, wherein the roof engaging projection 56 extends generally forwardly to capture and retain a portion of the frame 17 of the roof portion 14. The latching member 48 can be swiveled to a releasing position by rotating handle 58 to pivot the projection 56 so that the frame 17 of the roof portion 14 is not captured by the projection 56, such that the biasing force applied by the biasing member 26 will quickly and automatically rotate the roof portion 14 to an open configuration. Those of ordinary skill in the art will be aware of numerous suitable mechanisms for latching and releasing the roof portion 14.

FIG. 6 shows the details of an embodiment for hinges used to connect the sections 30-36 of the base portion 12 together. According to this embodiment, a male hinge member 52 extends outwardly and then upwardly from a side frame member of one of the sections. A female hinge member 54 is provided at a corresponding location on the side of adjacent section. To connect adjacent sections, the male hinge member 52 is threaded into the corresponding hinge member 54. The hinges can be made more or less permanent by attaching a retaining member 53 at the free end of the male hinge member 52. In the embodiment shown, the retaining member is a cotter pin, but a weldment or other projection could be permanently attached to the free end of the male hinge member 52 to prevent the male hinge member 52 from passing back through the female hinge member 54. Alternatively, the free end of the male hinge member 52 could be threaded so that a nut could be removably threaded onto the male hinge member 52 to permit selective removal and disassembly of the adjacent sections. It is generally desirable to include some sort of means for capturing the male hinge member 52 within the female hinge member 54 so that the adjacent sections do not come apart during use, especially as the blind 10 is subjected to rocking and wave motion when it is deployed on water. Those of ordinary skill in the art will be aware of numerous suitable mechanisms for hingedly connecting the sections of the base portion together.

In another embodiment, three of the connections between the adjacent sections are more or less permanent hinges that use a retaining member, such as a weldment or the cotter pin of FIG. 6, whereas the fourth connection acts as more of a latch and utilizes the easily connected and disconnected joint of FIG. 7. Consistent with this arrangement, the connection between the front section 30 and the first side section 34 utilizes a pair of female members 54 that are selectively connected together by a removable latch pin 55. In this arrangement, it is intended that the front section 30 will act as a door to permit entrance and exit from the blind 10. This arrangement also facilitates folding and collapsing the base portion 12 to the configuration shown in FIG. 8. The latch pin 55 may be attached to the frame by a tether or lanyard to keep it from getting lost or dropped into the water.

As seen in FIGS. 8 and 9, to collapse the base portion 12 for storage and transportation, the front section 30 is disconnected from the first side section 34, and then folded inward to nest generally within the rear section 32, and the first side section 34 is then folded in on the outside of the second side section 36. The roof portion 14 may be attached to the collapsed base portion 12 shown in FIG. 9 by bungee cords or similar attachments, such that the entire blind structure 10 is provided in a compact configuration that is convenient for storage and transport.

The frames that form the support for the base portion 12 and roof portion 14 may be formed from 3/16″ diameter steel rods that have been bent and welded into the desired shape. Other materials may be used to form the frame. For example rods made from other metals, plastic, or fiberglass may be suitable. Alternatively, the frames could be a solid thin shell formed from molded plastic or the like.

FIG. 10 shows a completed blind 10 according to one embodiment of the present invention in use floating on water. The blind 10 has been covered with grass and other organic material 66 to make the blind 10 have the appearance of a muskrat hut. In use it may be desirable to cover some portion of the sight window 20 with grass or other material, in order to further camouflage and hide the hunter within the blind 10. Preferably, the fabric 18 will be waterproof, and will include a camouflage pattern, or at least be colored so that any portion of the fabric 18 that is seen after covering the blind 10 with grass and other organic material will not look unnatural.

To use the blind 10 of FIG. 10, a hunter will generally unfold and assemble the blind 10 from the storage and transport configuration of FIG. 9, and then place the assembled blind 10 onto the water. The hunter 70 may then enter the blind 10 by unhooking the front base section 30 from the first side section 34 to provide access into the blind 10. Once inside the blind 10, the hunter 70 will re-attach the front base section 30 to the first side section 34. Depending on the depth of the water, the hunter may use a small stool or chair to sit within the blind 10, or if the water is deeper, in the range of three to four feet, the hunter may stand. Preferably, the hunter 70 will be equipped with waterproof waders. With the roof portion 14 in a closed configuration, and the latching member 48 adjusted to a latching position, the hunter can peer out of the sight window 20 to watch for animals being hunted. The hunter's rifle or shotgun 72 will have its barrel extended through loops 22. If the hunter 70 sees a bird within range, the hunter will adjust the handle 58 (see FIG. 5) of the latching member 48 to rotate the roof engaging projection 56 of the latching member 48 into a releasing position so that the biasing member 26 can quickly and automatically rotate the roof portion 14 to the open configuration of FIG. 2, thereby allowing the hunter 70 to have a free shot at the bird without interference by the roof portion 14.

The blind 10 can easily be adjusted back into the closed configuration of FIG. 1 by grasping the roof 14 rotating it back to the closed position, and readjusting the latching member 48 to the latching position.

A preferred embodiment of the present invention has been set forth above. It should be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art that modifications may be made in detail, especially in matters of shape, size, and arrangement of parts. Such modifications are deemed to be within the scope of the present invention, which is to be limited only by the broad general meaning of the terms in which the appended claims are expressed.