Title:
HIGH VISIBILITY COVER FOR CAMO HUNTING BLIND
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A high visibility cover adapted for use with a camouflage hunting blind that permits the blind to be easily visible to other hunters while at the same time not interfering with the use of the blind or the hunting technique of the occupant. More specifically, the high visibility cover is designed to universally and securely fit most sizes and shapes of hunting blinds.



Inventors:
Egstad, Gary A. (Shiocton, WI, US)
Application Number:
11/676591
Publication Date:
08/23/2007
Filing Date:
02/20/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
135/137
International Classes:
E04H15/42
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
YIP, WINNIE S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Boardman & Clark LLP (Madison, WI, US)
Claims:
1. A covering adapted to be coupled to a ground hunting blind comprising: a cover top having at least one sleeve structure formed along one or more margins of the cover top; and a flexible cord positioned within the at least one sleeve structure.

2. The covering of claim 1, wherein the cover top comprises a high visibility material.

3. A covering adapted to be coupled to a ground hunting blind comprising: a cover top; a first stirrup attached to the cover top; a second stirrup attached to the cover top; at least one sleeve structure formed along an edge of the first stirrup, a contiguous first edge of the cover top and an edge of the second stirrup contiguous with the first edge of the cover top, and extending from a distal end of the first stirrup to a distal end of the second stirrup; and a flexible cord positioned within the at least one sleeve structure.

4. The covering of claim 3, wherein at least one of the cover top, first stirrup and second stirrup comprise a high visibility material.

5. A covering adapted to be coupled to a ground hunting blind comprising: a cover top; a first stirrup attached to the cover top; a second stirrup attached to the cover top; a third stirrup attached to the cover top, wherein the third stirrup and first stirrup are oppositely disposed; a fourth stirrup attached to the cover top, wherein the fourth stirrup and the second stirrup are oppositely disposed; a first sleeve structure formed along an edge of the first stirrup, a contiguous first edge of the cover top and an edge of the second stirrup contiguous with the first edge of the cover top, and extending from a distal end of the first stirrup to a distal end of the second stirrup; a second sleeve structure formed along an edge of the second stirrup, a contiguous second edge of the cover top and an edge of the third stirrup contiguous with the second edge of the cover top, and extending from the distal end of the second stirrup to a distal end of the third stirrup; a third sleeve structure formed along an edge of the third stirrup, a contiguous third edge of the cover top and an edge of the fourth stirrup contiguous with the third edge of the cover top, and extending from the distal end of the third stirrup to a distal end of the fourth stirrup; a fourth sleeve structure formed along an edge of the fourth stirrup, a contiguous fourth edge of the cover top and an edge of the first stirrup contiguous with the fourth edge of the cover top, and extending from the distal end of the fourth stirrup to the distal end of the first stirrup; and at least one flexible cord positioned within at least one of the first sleeve structure, the second sleeve structure, the third sleeve structure, and the fourth sleeve structure.

6. The covering of claim 5, wherein the flexible cord travels at least from the distal end of the first stirrup, through the first sleeve structure, across the margin of the distal end of the second stirrup, through the second sleeve structure, across the margin of the distal end of the third sleeve structure, through the third sleeve structure, across the margin of the distal end of the fourth sleeve structure, and through the fourth sleeve structure to the distal end of the first stirrup.

7. The covering of claim 5, further comprising at least one lower panel attached at one end to the first stirrup and at an opposite end to the second stirrup.

8. The covering of claim 5, further comprising at least one lower panel removably attached at one end to the first stirrup and at an opposite end to the second stirrup.

9. The covering of claim 5, wherein at least one of the cover top, the first stirrup, the second stirrup, the third stirrup, and the fourth stirrup.

10. The covering of claim 7, wherein at least one of the cover top, the first stirrup, the second stirrup, the third stirrup, the fourth stirrup and the at least one lower panel are made of a high visibility material.

11. The covering of claim 8, wherein at least one of the cover top, the first stirrup, the second stirrup, the third stirrup, the fourth stirrup and the at least one lower panel are made of a high visibility material.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit, under 35 U.S.C. Section 119(e), to U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/775,172, filed Feb. 21, 2006, the entirety of which is expressly incorporated by reference herein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention is directed to an apparatus for improving the visibility of a camouflage ground hunting blind. More particularly, the present invention relates to a high visibility cover that provides a hunter using a camouflage hunting blind with a high degree of safety and convenience without interfering in any undesirable manner with hunting technique or the hunter's ability to engage in hunting activities.

2. Related Art

The success of most hunters in many types of hunting largely depends upon the ability of the hunter to blend with the environment. In addition to using a variety of natural objects, hunters have often turned to a variety of camouflage articles to assist them in blending with their surroundings. Recently, there has been a trend towards the use of portable camouflage ground hunting blinds in a variety of hunting activities. These blinds are generally portable and can be assembled and disassembled relatively easily and quickly. These hunting blinds generally protect hunters from the environment while concealing them from game animals. Such blinds typically contain a variety of openings and/or windows positioned on the sides of the blinds for the hunter's ease in monitoring and shooting at game outside of the blind. Ground hunting blinds typically do not have any loose articles or fabric hanging from outside of the blind as such loose items can be moved by the wind, and frighten various game animals away.

For various safety reasons, most local hunting laws require hunters to wear apparel that is highly visible to other hunters. This is especially true during firearm hunting seasons. The use of high visibility colors such as Hunter Orange has been shown to significantly reduce the number of hunting related accidents. “Hunter Orange” refers herein to colors such as blaze orange, hunter orange, fluorescent orange, daylight fluorescent orange, Ten Mile, camouflage orange, Hunter Safety Green, fluorescent chartreuse, fluorescent yellow, any other highly visible color that is approved or will be approved for hunting under local or national laws, any combination thereof, and the like. The highly visible apparel can take the form of a jacket, a vest, a hat, pants, or the like. As disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,159,718, the entirety of which is expressly incorporated herein by reference, some garments incorporate patches of fluorescent orange in the garments themselves. Other garments incorporate Hunter Orange in a camouflage pattern.

Under most local laws, the area of Hunter Orange must meet certain size limitations. For example, in Wisconsin, during any gun or muzzleloader season, no person may hunt any game, except water fowl, unless at least 50% of the person's outer clothing above the waist is colored Blaze Orange. Further, a hat, if worn, must be at least 50% Blaze Orange. In other states, for example, apparel must contain at least a certain number of square inches of visible Hunter Orange.

The trend towards the use of portable camouflage ground blinds has been noticed even in those types of hunting activities that require garments colored Hunter Orange. Despite the blaze orange clothing requirement, hunters using such ground blinds are nearly or totally concealed from other hunters in the field. As a result, there is a concern that the use of such blinds will eventually lead to an increase in hunting related accidents.

Some camouflage blind manufacturers have attempted to address this concern by incorporating small patches of high visibility material into their camouflage hunting blinds. For example, some hunting blinds contain a swatch or patch of blaze Hunter Orange material that may be exposed during certain hunting seasons but covered with a camouflage patch during other seasons. These patches, however, are often small and difficult for other hunters in the area to see. As such, these measures are believed to be fairly ineffective in limiting the risk of hunting accidents. Further, because many hunters already own a portable camouflage ground blind, many are hesitant to purchase another hunting blind incorporating such patches of visible material.

It is also well-known to attach a protective, water-repellant or water-resistant covering to a tent or other portable structure to offer additional protection from the elements and additional ventilation to occupants. Such coverings are often referred to as “tent flies.” Tent flies have distinct drawbacks, however, with respect to improving the visibility of ground camouflage blinds to other hunters. Tent flies are generally designed to protect tents from rain and moisture. As such, tent flies primarily cover the roofs of tents and therefore may be difficult to see from a side view or the ground level. Further, tent flies are typically not composed of a high visibility color. In addition, such tent flies typically extend like canopies beyond the perimeter of the underlying tent. Indeed, most tent flies are designed to be staked separately from the underlying tent. As such, tent flies require much more ground space than the underlying tent and therefore are difficult to utilize in most hunting conditions. Further, because tent flies are typically staked separately from the tent, tent flies often require significant time and assembly. In addition, the canopy-like features of a tent fly tend to be moved by wind and that movement can frighten game animals.

Tent flies are also generally designed to improve air flow and ventilation around a tent. The additional ventilation afforded by such tent flies is disadvantageous when hunting from a ground blind. Additional air flow often results in additional movement that can spook game. Further, human scent spooks many game animals. Good hunters are careful about masking their scent and hunting blinds are often designed to help hide a hunter's scent. Improved air flow around a ground blind may defeat many of the scent masking capabilities of a ground blind. Finally, many hunting activities occur during the fall and winter seasons when temperatures are lower. Ground blinds are generally designed to cut the wind and trap warm air to help keep the occupant warm. Improved air flow and ventilation around a ground blind can diminish this desired insulating effect.

SUMMARY OF DISCLOSED EMBODIMENTS

A simple covering is needed to minimize hunting accidents that may be caused by the use of camouflage hunting blinds.

This invention provides a simple apparatus for improving the visibility to other hunters of a camouflage hunting ground blind to reduce the risk of hunting-related accidents. This invention separately provides a covering that is designed to fit over most sizes and shapes of camouflage blinds. This invention separately provides a covering that may be drawn close to the underlying hunting blind to minimize the overall size of the system, potentially improve the scent-mask and insulting effects of the underlying blind, and eliminate any loose or daggling fabric or items that might be prone to move with the wind and thereby frighten game animals. In addition, this invention separately provides a covering that is very portable and easy to assemble and use in connection with most camouflage blinds.

These and other features and advantages of various exemplary embodiment of systems according to this invention are described in or are apparent from, the following detailed descriptions of various exemplary embodiments of various devices and/or structures according to this invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

Various exemplary embodiments of the systems and methods according to this invention will be described in detail, with reference to the following figures, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the cover according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention suspended over a camouflage blind.

FIG. 2 is a perspective use showing an exemplary embodiment of the present invention operatively in use over a camouflage blind.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

With reference to FIG. 1, a first exemplary embodiment of the present invention is shown in the form of a cover assembly 10 that comprises a cover top 12, a plurality of stirrups 14, a plurality of lower panels 16, and a flexible cord 24. The cover top 12 may take a variety of forms including, octagonal, round or square shape. In one exemplary embodiment, the cover top 12 may be as shown in FIG. 1.

In one embodiment, the cover top 12 comprises a plurality of interconnected triangular sections 18. In one exemplary embodiment, the sides of each triangular section 18 are substantially straight while the base of each triangular section 18 arches toward the vertex in a parabolic or catenary fashion. As shown in FIG. 1, the cover top 12 in one embodiment is formed by attaching a first side of a first triangular section 18 to a first side of a second triangular section 18, attaching a second side of the second triangular section 18 to a first side of a third triangular section 18, attaching a second side of the third triangular section 18 to a first side of a fourth triangular section 18 and attaching a second side of the fourth triangular section 18 to a second side of the first triangular section 18 such that the vertex of each triangular section 18 meets at or about the same point. The triangular sections 18 may be interconnected by any variety of methods and arrangements. In one exemplary embodiment, the sides of the triangular sections 18 are sewn or stitched. In one embodiment, the stitching is hidden on the interior of the cover top 12 so the stitching is not visible from the exterior of the cover top 12. The sides of the triangular sections 18 may also be attached using an adhesive or fasteners such as hook and loop fasteners such as Velcro(& fasteners. Alternatively, the cover top 12 may be integrally formed.

In one exemplary embodiment, a plurality of stirrups 14 are attached to the cover top 12. In one embodiment, each stirrup 14 is a single length of material that is attached at one end to a corner of the cover top 12. The stirrups 14 may be attached to the cover top 12 by any variety of methods and arrangements. In one exemplary embodiment, the stirrups 14 are sewn or stitched to the cover top 12. The stirrups 14 may also be attached to the cover top 12 using an adhesive or fasteners such as hook and loop fasteners such as Velcro® fasteners. Alternatively, the stirrups 14 and the cover top 12 may be integrally formed.

The stirrups 14 may be manufactured in a variety of shapes depending upon the shape and structure of the ground blind 11 to be covered. As can be appreciated by one skilled in the art, the stirrups 14 may take a variety of shapes provided the shape does not interfere with ingress or egress from the underlying ground blind 11 or otherwise obstruct any doors 13, windows 15 or other openings of the blind 11. In one exemplary embodiment, the stirrups 14 will be elongated and are long enough to allow the distal end to extend to or nearly to the bottom of the blind 11 when in use to cover a blind 11. In one embodiment, the width of the stirrup 14 may be generally consistent throughout the length of the stirrup 14. In one embodiment, the width of the stirrup 14 at the end of the stirrup 14 connected to the cover top 12 may be greater than the width of the stirrup 14 at the opposite end. In one embodiment, the stirrup 14 may have parabolic longitudinal edges. In one embodiment, the longitudinal edges of a stirrup 14 may follow a parabolic contour such that the width of the stirrup 14 between opposed edges is less at the waist or central portion of the stirrup 14 than the aft or fore portions.

In one embodiment, at least a portion of the perimeter of the cover top 12 comprises at least one plurality of sleeve structures 22 formed therein. In one embodiment, the longitudinal edge of each stirrup 14 and the edge of the base of each triangular section 18 comprising the cover top 12 are folded and an attachment seam 20 is sewn there along to form a plurality of sleeve structures 22 along substantially all of the perimeter of the cover assembly 10. In one embodiment, a single flexible cord 24 passes through each of the sleeve structures 22 leaving a loop of flexible cord 24 at the distal end of each stirrup 14. Accordingly, in one embodiment, the stitching between the cover top 12 and each stirrup 14 does not extend into the sleeve structure 22 to in any way engage the flexible cord 24.

In one embodiment, the flexible cord 24 may not be a closed loop. In one embodiment, a plurality of flexible cords 24 operatively associated to the distal ends of a plurality of stirrups 14 may be used. In one embodiment, the flexible cord 24 may be operatively associated with the cover assembly 10.

In one embodiment, the flexible cord 24 is made of rubber or some other type of elastic material such as that known as a “bungee cord.” Other types of flexible cords 24 such as ropes, belts and the like may be used but some degree of elasticity is desirable. In one embodiment, a rip cord in combination with a tensioner is used. In one embodiment, the flexible cord 24 is sized in a manner so that the flexible cord 24 may be pulled in a stretched condition once the covering assembly 10 is placed over the camouflage ground blind 11.

In one embodiment, each set of adjacent stirrups 14 are interconnected to lower panels 16. In one embodiment, the lower panels 16 are generally stitched or sewn to the stirrups 14. In one embodiment, the stitching between the lower panels 16 and the stirrups 14 does not extend into the sleeve structure 22. In one embodiment, the lower panels 16 are attached to the stirrups 14 at approximately the attachment seam 20. The lower panels 16 and stirrups 14 may also be attached using an adhesive or fasteners such as hook and loop fasteners such as Velcro® fasteners. Alternatively, the stirrups 14 and lower panels 16 may be integrally formed. In one exemplary embodiment, at least a first side of at least one lower panel 16 is coupled to a stirrup 14 by at least one detachable fastener such as a button, snap, Velcro® attachment or the like to permit the first side of the lower panel 16 to be detached from the stirrup 14 when desired.

The lower panels 16 may be manufactured in a variety of shapes depending upon the type of ground blind 11 to be covered. As can be appreciated by one skilled in the art, the lower panels 16 may take a variety of shapes provided the shape does not obstruct any openings or windows 15 of the blind 11. In one embodiment, the lower panels 16 are in a substantially catenary or parabolic form. Such a form offers a number of advantages. For example, the catenary form is more stable and less likely to flap or move in a breeze. In addition, the catenary form can cover additional surface area of the underlying ground blind 11 without interfering with or obstructs any portion of the windows 15 and other openings in the blind 11, while improving the visibility of the cover assembly 10 and underlying ground blind 1 1 to other hunters.

According to alternative embodiments, the cover top 12, stirrups 14, and lower panels 16 may be made from any number of a variety of materials and have any number of different arrangements and configurations to provide the user with an article configured to suit multiple types and shapes of ground blinds 11. In one embodiment, cover top 12, stirrups 14 and lower panels 16 are formed from any material typically used in the tent construction industry. Such material typically has the characteristics of being water-resistant and/or fire-resistant. Examples of this material include polyester, nylon, canvas, vinyl reinforced polyester, mesh or the like which could be sewn and yet withstand the elements that could be encountered during a hunting outing.

In one embodiment, the cover top 12, stirrups 14 and lower panels 16 are made from material that is highly visible to other hunters. In one embodiment, at least one of the cover top 12, stirrups 14 and lower panels 16 are made from material that is Hunter Orange in color. In one exemplary embodiment, the cover top 12, stirrups 14 and lower panels 16 are made from 300 denier textured polyester Safety Orange material.

As shown in FIG. 2, in one embodiment, the cover assembly 10 is configured to substantially cover a variety of camouflage blinds 11 without obstructing the views from or ability to open windows 15, doors 13, and other apertures of the underlying camouflage blind 11. In one embodiment, the cover assembly 10 is adapted to be coupled to and/or positioned over a camouflage blind 11 such that the stirrups 14 extend down the outside corners of the camouflage blind 11 as shown in FIG. 2. In one embodiment, the cover assembly 10 is adapted to be positioned over a camouflage blind 11 such that the stirrups 14 extend down the sides of the camouflage blind 11 between the door 13, windows 15 and other openings of the blind. The flexible cord 24 may then be operatively connected to exterior stakes such as any stakes holding the blind 11. The user may tighten the flexible cord 24 across all of the margins of the stirrups 14 and cover top 12 which have a sleeve structure 22, to hold down all such margins and prevent any portion of the cover assembly 10 from moving in a breeze. In this stretched condition, the flexible cord 24 produces tensioning forces which are applied to the cover top 12 and stirrups 14 which, in turn apply these tensioning forces to the camouflage blind 11. It is these tensioning forces that maintain the covering assembly 10 in a taut position when the covering assembly 10 is in a secured state over the camouflage blind 11.

While this invention has been described in conjunction with the exemplary embodiments outlined above, various alternatives, modifications, variations, improvements and/or substantial equivalents, whether known or that are or may be presently foreseen, may become apparent to those having at least ordinary skill in the art. Accordingly, the exemplary embodiments of the invention, as set forth above, are intended to be illustrative, not limiting. Various changes may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. Therefore, the invention is intended to embrace all known or earlier developed alternatives, modifications, variations, improvements and/or substantial equivalents.