Title:
Portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A portable blind apparatus is provided for mounting on a tree and includes an umbrella mounting assembly for mounting on the tree. A collapsible umbrella is supported by the umbrella mounting assembly. The umbrella includes a collapsible umbrella canopy and a canopy support member connected to the umbrella canopy. A flexible net is draped over and supported by the umbrella. The flexible net can be fixed to the canopy support member with a quantity of adhesive material. Net straps are connected to the net for stabilizing the net with respect to the tree. A person who is inside the internal region defined by the hanging net and the umbrella is concealed from view and is protected from becoming wet by rain or snow. The flexible net can include windows or portholes.



Inventors:
Sellers, Bartley J. (Clayton, GA, US)
Application Number:
09/954101
Publication Date:
03/28/2002
Filing Date:
09/17/2001
Assignee:
SELLERS BARTLEY J.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
135/16, 135/21, 135/96, 135/98, 135/901, 43/1
International Classes:
E04H15/00; E04H15/04; (IPC1-7): E04H15/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
FITZGERALD, JOHN P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
S. Michael Bender (St. Petersburg, FL, US)
Claims:

What is claimed as being new and desired to be protected by Letters Patent of the United States is as follows:



1. A portable blind apparatus for mounting on cylindrical support, comprising: an umbrella mounting assembly for mounting on the cylindrical support, a collapsible umbrella supported by said umbrella mounting assembly, wherein said umbrella includes a collapsible umbrella canopy and a canopy support member connected to said umbrella canopy, and a flexible net draped over and supported by said umbrella.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said flexible net is fixed to said canopy support member with a quantity of adhesive material.

3. The apparatus of claim 1, further including: net straps connected to said net for stabilizing said net with respect to the cylindrical support.

4. The apparatus of claim I wherein the cylindrical support is a tree.

5. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said umbrella mounting assembly includes: a block member, a pair of block-mounting straps connected to said block member, a transverse strut connected to said block member, and an umbrella-reception member supported by said transverse strut, wherein said canopy support member is supported by said umbrella-reception member.

6. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein the width of the block member and the length of the transverse strut are selected such that when said canopy support member is supported by said umbrella-reception member and when said umbrella canopy is in a open condition, said canopy support member is sufficiently far from the tree so that said umbrella canopy can be in a fully opened condition without being obstructed by the tree.

7. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein: said block member includes a strut reception channel, said umbrella-reception member includes a strut receiving channel, and said umbrella-reception member includes a canopy-support-member-reception channel.

8. The apparatus of claim 7 wherein said strut receiving channel and said canopy-support-member-reception channel are perpendicular to each other.

9. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein said block-mounting straps include strap-to-strap connectors.

10. The apparatus of claim 9 wherein said strap-to-strap connectors include complimentary hook or loop material.

11. The apparatus of claim 5, further including: a strut end protector mounted on said transverse strut.

12. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein said block member includes a concave block side.

13. The apparatus of claim 1, further including: a locking assembly for locking said canopy support member into said umbrella-reception member.

14. The apparatus of claim 13 wherein said locking assembly includes: a pin-reception channel in said umbrella-reception member, a pin tether connected to said umbrella-reception member, and a lock pin connected to said pin tether.

15. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said flexible net includes windows.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application claims priority based upon my copending Provisional Application Serial No. 60/233,241, filed Sept. 18, 2001.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention relates generally to hunters blinds, and, more particularly, to hunters blinds especially adapted for mounting in a tree.

[0004] 2. Description of the Prior Art

[0005] Hunters blinds are small shelters occupied by hunters to conceal the hunters from the view of game while permitting the hunters to view their surroundings. Some types of small shelters that may be used by hunters are constructed based upon umbrella structures and fabric-type material that hangs down from the umbrella structures. In this respect, the following U.S. patents disclose small shelters that employ umbrella structures: U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,086,931, 4,364,193, 4,449,542, and 5,214,872. A common characteristic of these umbrella-structure-based shelters is that they are supported by the ground, independent from a tree. Compared to a strong tree, a support for an umbrella-structure-based shelter that is independent of a strong tree is a relatively weak support structure. In this respect, it would be desirable if an umbrella-structure-based shelter were provided that is mounted on a tree.

[0006] As a matter of interest, U.S. Pat. No. 5,630,439 discloses a portable hut that is at ground level and that is located next to a tree for stabilization. However, the shelter in this patent is not mounted on the tree.

[0007] Still other features would be desirable in a portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus. For example, rather than needing a specially designed and manufactured umbrella for supporting a small shelter, it would be desirable if a small shelter can be supported from a tree by a conventional umbrella.

[0008] Various trees have various size circumferences. In this respect, it would be desirable if a tree-mounted portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus were provided that can be mounted on various size trees.

[0009] Tree trunks are generally cylindrically shaped. In this respect, it would be desirable if a tree-mounted portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus were provided which has mounting structures which are especially adapted for mounting on a cylindrically shaped tree trunk.

[0010] It would also be desirable if a tree-mounted portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus had means for adjusting the lateral distance the main portion of the shelter is displaced from the tree trunk.

[0011] When a person is inside a blind, it is desirable for the person to see out from the blind with as little as possible of the person being visible from outside the blind. In this respect, it would be desirable if a tree-mounted portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus were provided which has a plurality of small windows which allow the person to see outside the blind but expose only a small portion of the person to visibility from outside the blind.

[0012] Thus, while the foregoing body of prior art indicates it to be well known to use umbrella-structure-based shelters, the prior art described above does not teach or suggest a portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus which has the following combination of desirable features: (1) provides an umbrella-structure-based shelter that is mounted on a tree; (2) can be supported from a tree by a conventional umbrella; (3) can be mounted on various size trees; (4) has mounting structures which are especially adapted for mounting on a cylindrically-shaped tree trunk; (5) has means for adjusting the lateral displacement of the main portion of the shelter from the tree trunk; and (6) has a plurality of small windows which allow a person inside the blind to see outside the blind with exposure of only a small portion of the person to visibility from outside the blind. The foregoing desired characteristics are provided by the unique portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus of the present invention as will be made apparent from the following description thereof. Other advantages of the present invention over the prior art also will be rendered evident.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0013] To achieve the foregoing and other advantages, the present invention, briefly described, provides a portable blind apparatus for mounting on a cylindrical support and includes an umbrella mounting assembly for mounting on the cylindrical support. A collapsible umbrella is supported by the umbrella mounting assembly. The umbrella includes a collapsible umbrella canopy and a canopy support member connected to the umbrella canopy. A flexible net is draped over and supported by the umbrella. The flexible net can be fixed to the canopy support member with a quantity of adhesive material. Net straps are connected to the net for stabilizing the net with respect to the cylindrical support. Commonly, the cylindrical support is a tree, but can also be posts, columns, or other vertically standing cylindrical supports. A person who is inside the internal region defined by the hanging net and the umbrella is concealed from view and is protected from becoming wet by rain or snow.

[0014] The umbrella mounting assembly includes a block member. A pair of block-mounting straps are connected to the block member. A transverse strut is connected to the block member. An umbrella-reception member is supported by the transverse strut. The canopy support member is supported by the umbrella-reception member. The width of the block member and the length of the transverse strut are selected such that when the canopy support member is supported by the umbrella-reception member and when the umbrella canopy is in a open condition, the canopy support member is sufficiently far from the tree so that the umbrella canopy can be in a fully opened condition without being obstructed by the tree.

[0015] The block member includes a strut reception channel. The umbrella-reception member includes a strut receiving channel, and the umbrella-reception member includes a canopy-support-member-reception channel. The strut receiving channel and the canopy-support-member-reception channel are perpendicular to each other.

[0016] A locking assembly can be provided for locking the canopy support member into the umbrella-reception member. The locking assembly includes a pin-reception channel in the umbrella-reception member. A pin tether is connected to the umbrella-reception member, and a lock pin is connected to the pin tether.

[0017] The block-mounting straps include strap-to-strap connectors. The strap-to-strap connectors includes complimentary hook or loop material. a strut end protector mounted on the transverse strut. The block member includes a concave block side that is placed next to the tree.

[0018] In accordance with another aspect of the invention, the flexible net can include windows or portholes.

[0019] The above brief description sets forth rather broadly the more important features of the present invention in order that the detailed description thereof that follows may be better understood, and in order that the present contributions to the art may be better appreciated. There are, of course, additional features of the invention that will be described hereinafter and which will be for the subject matter of the claims appended hereto.

[0020] In this respect, before explaining at least two preferred embodiment of the invention in detail, it is understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of the construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood, that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

[0021] As such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception, upon which disclosure is based, may readily be utilized as a basis for designing other structures, methods, and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. It is important, therefore, that the claims be regarded as including such equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

[0022] It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus which has all of the advantages of the prior art and none of the disadvantages.

[0023] It is another object of the present invention to provide a new and improved portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus which may be easily and efficiently manufactured and marketed.

[0024] It is a further object of the present invention to provide a new and improved portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus which is of durable and reliable construction.

[0025] An even further object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus which is susceptible of a low cost of manufacture with regard to both materials and labor, and which accordingly is then susceptible of low prices of sale to the consuming public, thereby making such portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus available to the buying public.

[0026] Still yet a further object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus which provides an umbrella-structure-based shelter that is mounted on a tree.

[0027] Still another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus that can be supported from a tree by a conventional umbrella.

[0028] Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus which can be mounted on various size trees.

[0029] Even another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus that has mounting structures which are especially adapted for mounting on a cylindrically-shaped tree trunk.

[0030] Still a further object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus which has means for adjusting the lateral displacement of the main portion of the shelter from the tree trunk.

[0031] Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus that has a plurality of small windows which allow a person inside the blind to see outside the blind with exposure of only a small portion of the person to visibility from outside the blind.

[0032] These together with still other objects of the invention, along with the various features of novelty which characterize the invention, are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming a part of this disclosure. For a better understanding of the invention, its operating advantages and the specific objects attained by its uses, reference should be had to the accompanying drawings and descriptive matter in which there are illustrated preferred embodiments of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0033] The invention will be better understood and the above objects as well as objects other than those set forth above will become more apparent after a study of the following detailed description thereof. Such description makes reference to the annexed drawing wherein:

[0034] FIG. 1 is a side view showing a first embodiment of the portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus of the invention mounted on a tree.

[0035] FIG. 2 is an enlarged rear view of a portion of the embodiment of the portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus shown in FIG. 1 taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1.

[0036] FIG. 3 is a side view of the umbrella and umbrella mounting assembly of the embodiments of the invention shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.

[0037] FIG. 4 is a partial top view of the embodiment of the portion of the invention shown in FIG. 3 taken along line 4-4 thereof.

[0038] FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective view of the umbrella and umbrella mounting assembly shown in FIGS. 3 to 5.

[0039] FIG. 6 is a side view showing a second embodiment of the portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus of the invention mounted on a tree, wherein the second embodiment includes windows in the flexible net.

[0040] FIG. 7 is an enlarged rear view of a portion of the embodiment of the portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus shown in FIG. 6 taken along line 7-7 of FIG. 6.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0041] With reference to the drawings, a new and improved portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus embodying the principles and concepts of the present invention will be described.

[0042] Turning to FIGS. 1-5, there is shown a first embodiment of the portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus of the invention generally designated by reference numeral 10. In the first embodiment, the portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus 10 is provided for mounting on a cylindrical support and includes an umbrella mounting assembly 12 for mounting on the cylindrical support. A collapsible umbrella 14 is supported by the umbrella mounting assembly 12. The umbrella 14 includes a collapsible umbrella canopy 13 and a canopy support member 15 connected to the umbrella canopy 13. A flexible net 16 is draped over and supported by the umbrella 14. The flexible net 16 can be fixed to the canopy support member 15 with a quantity of adhesive material. Net straps 18 are connected to the net 16 for stabilizing the net 16 with respect to the cylindrical support. Commonly, the cylindrical support is a tree 11, but can also be posts, columns, or other vertically standing cylindrical supports.

[0043] The umbrella mounting assembly 12 includes a block member 20. A pair of block-mounting straps 22 are connected to the block member 20. A transverse strut 26 is connected to the block member 20. An umbrella-reception member 28 is supported by the transverse strut 26. The canopy support member 15 is supported by the umbrella-reception member 28. The width of the block member 20 and the length of the transverse strut 26 are selected such that when the canopy support member 15 is supported by the umbrella-reception member 28 and when the umbrella canopy 13 is in a open condition, the canopy support member 15 is sufficiently far from the tree 11 so that the umbrella canopy 13 can be in a fully opened condition without being obstructed by the tree 11. The transverse strut 26 can be telescopically adjustable to provide a wide range of adjustment for adjusting the lateral displacement of the main portion of the shelter from the tree trunk.

[0044] The block member 20 includes a strut reception channel 32. The umbrella-reception member 28 includes a strut receiving channel 36, and the umbrella-reception member 28 includes a canopy-support-member-reception channel 38. The strut receiving channel 36 and the canopy-support-member-reception channel 38 are perpendicular to each other.

[0045] A locking assembly can be provided for locking the canopy support member 15 into the umbrella-reception member 28. The locking assembly includes a pin-reception channel 40 in the umbrella-reception member 28. A pin tether 42 is connected to the umbrella-reception member 28, and a lock pin 44 is connected to the pin tether 42.

[0046] The block-mounting straps 22 include strap-to-strap connectors. The strap-to-strap connectors include complimentary hook or loop material 34. The complimentary hook or loop material 34 can be well known VELCRO(™) material. Strut end protector 30 is mounted on the transverse strut 26. The block member 20 includes a concave block side 24 which is adapted to fit against a cylindrical tree trunk.

[0047] To use the portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus 10 on a tree 11, the apparatus is first obtained in a folded up and collapsed condition which is the condition used for storage. In the collapsed condition, the canopy support member 15 is collapsed, and the flexible net 16 is folded up. Also, in the collapsed condition, the umbrella canopy 13, the umbrella-reception member 28, the transverse strut 26, and the concave block side 24 are disassembled from one another. The net straps 18 can be used to bind the apparatus in the collapsed condition into a compact portable package.

[0048] The compact package of the collapsed condition is open for mounting the apparatus onto a cylindrical support, such as the tree 11 shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. To mount the blind apparatus 10 onto the tree 11, the concave block side 24 of the block member 20 is placed against the outer circumference of the tree 11. The block-mounting straps 22 are wrapped around the circumference of the tree 11, and the complimentary hook or loop materials 34 on the respective straps are connected together so securely mount the block member 20 to the tree 11. Then, an end cap of the strut end protector 30 is removed from a sharp end of the transverse strut 26, and the sharp end of the transverse strut 26 is pushed into a strut reception channel 32 in the block member 20. Then, the umbrella-reception member 28 is obtained, and a strut receiving channel 36 in the umbrella-reception member 28 is forced onto the distal end of the transverse strut 26. Then, the umbrella canopy 13 is oriented in an open canopy condition, and the canopy support member 15 is pushed into a canopy-support-member-reception channel 38 in the umbrella-reception member 28. The lock pin 44 is then used to secure the canopy support member 15 in the umbrella-reception member 28. The flexible net 16 is draped over the opened umbrella canopy 13, and the flexible net 16 down from the umbrella canopy 13 to the ground level. Also, if desired, the flexible net 16 can be fixed to the umbrella canopy 13 using a quantity of adhesive material. Once the flexible net 16 is draped over the umbrella canopy 13 and hangs down therefrom, the net straps 18 can be tied around the tree 11 to stabilize the flexible net 16 and the umbrella mounting assembly 12.

[0049] To use the portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus 10 of the invention. A person, such as a hunter, lifts an end of the flexible net 16 and moves under the umbrella canopy 13. Then, the person drops the flexible net 16 so that the flexible net 16 hides the person. The flexible net 16 is selected to that the person easily sees out from inside the internal concealed region defined by the hanging net. The flexible net 16 can be made from camouflage netting material. The umbrella canopy 13 serves to protect the person inside the internal concealed region defined by the hanging net and the umbrella canopy 13 dry is protected from becoming wet by rain and snow.

[0050] When the portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus 10 of the invention is no longer needed, the assembly process is reversed, and the apparatus can be placed in a compact collapsed condition for transport and storage.

[0051] Turning to FIGS. 6 and 7, a second embodiment of the invention is shown. Reference numerals are shown that correspond to like reference numerals that designate like elements shown in the other figures. In addition, the flexible net 16 can include windows or portholes 46. There can be five windows 46 or portholes located in the flexible net 16.

[0052] The components of the portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus of the invention can be made from inexpensive and durable metal, plastic, and fabric materials.

[0053] As to the manner of usage and operation of the instant invention, the same is apparent from the above disclosure, and accordingly, no further discussion relative to the manner of usage and operation need be provided.

[0054] It is apparent from the above that the present invention accomplishes all of the objects set forth by providing a new and improved portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus that is low in cost, relatively simple in design and operation, and which may advantageously be used to provide an umbrella-structure-based shelter that is mounted on a tree. With the invention, a portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus is provided which can be supported from a tree by a conventional umbrella. With the invention, a portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus is provided which can be mounted on various size trees. With the invention, a portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus is provided which has mounting structures which are especially adapted for mounting on a cylindrically-shaped tree trunk. With the invention, a portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus is provided which has means for adjusting the lateral displacement of the main portion of the shelter from the tree trunk. With the invention, a portable, tree-mounted blind apparatus is provided which has a plurality of small windows which allow a person inside the blind to see outside the blind with exposure of only a small portion of the person to visibility from outside the blind.

[0055] Thus, while the present invention has been shown in the drawings and fully described above with particularity and detail in connection with what is presently deemed to be the most practical and preferred embodiment(s) of the invention, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that many modifications thereof may be made without departing from the principles and concepts set forth herein, including, but not limited to, variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation, assembly and use.

[0056] Hence, the proper scope of the present invention should be determined only by the broadest interpretation of the appended claims so as to encompass all such modifications as well as all relationships equivalent to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification.

[0057] Finally, it will be appreciated that the purpose of the annexed Abstract is to enable the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the public generally, and especially the scientists, engineers and practitioners in the art who are not familiar with patent or legal terms or phraseology, to determine quickly from a cursory inspection the nature and essence of the technical disclosure of the application. Accordingly, the Abstract is neither intended to define the invention or the application, which only is measured by the claims, nor is it intended to be limiting as to the scope of the invention in any way.