Title:
WILDLIFE VIEWING BLIND
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method and apparatus for a wildlife viewing blind is described. The blind is configured to resemble a large tree trunk and may be adapted to blend into the natural surroundings of any wooded environment. The blind includes a covering that closely resembles the bark of a tree, and includes a plurality of apertures for viewing wildlife. At least one of the apertures may include an extension adapted to resemble a broken tree limb. The covering also includes an opening into a partial enclosure that is sized to receive a human.



Inventors:
Krampitz, Mark W. (Richmond, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/460431
Publication Date:
01/31/2008
Filing Date:
07/27/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
43/1, 135/901
International Classes:
E04H15/58
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
YIP, WINNIE S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PATTERSON + SHERIDAN, L.L.P. (Houston, TX, US)
Claims:
1. A ground-based blind for viewing wildlife, comprising: an enclosure formed at least partially by a tree trunk shaped covering, the enclosure sized to receive a human; and an opening formed in the covering, wherein the covering comprises a textured surface resembling tree-bark and a plurality of root-like projections at a first end thereof.

2. The blind of claim 1, wherein the covering is selected from the group consisting of polymers, metal, wood, or combinations thereof.

3. The blind of claim 1, further comprising: a frame disposed within the enclosure.

4. The blind of claim 1, wherein the covering includes a plurality of viewing apertures.

5. The blind of claim 4, wherein the viewing apertures are positioned at one or both of a sitting height of the human and a standing height of the human.

6. The blind of claim 1, wherein the covering includes a flared portion at a lower end.

7. The blind of claim 1, wherein the covering comprises an upper end terminating with a jagged edge.

8. The blind of claim 1, wherein the covering comprises a base configured to support the covering on the ground.

9. The blind of claim 1, wherein the covering includes at least one projection resembling a broken tree limb.

10. A ground-based blind for viewing wildlife, comprising: a tree-trunk shaped facade, comprising: a partial enclosure sized to receive a human; an outwardly flaring bottom portion; and an upper portion terminating in a jagged edge, wherein a portion of the facade forms a door to selectively seal an opening formed therethrough.

11. The blind of claim 10, wherein a frame is coupled to an interior of the facade.

12. The blind of claim 10, wherein the door is hinged.

13. The blind of claim 10, wherein the facade is made of a material selected from the group consisting of wood, metal, polymers, or combinations thereof.

14. The blind of claim 10, wherein the facade includes at least one projection extending therefrom, and the at least one projection comprises at least one of a substantially circular ridge or a broken tree branch.

15. The blind of claim 10, wherein an exterior of the facade comprises a three dimensional texture to resemble tree bark.

16. A ground-based blind for viewing wildlife, comprising: a tree-trunk shaped covering defining a partial enclosure and having a tapered portion at a first end that extends to the ground; a plurality of apertures formed in the covering, wherein one of the apertures defines an opening sized to receive a human; and at least one projection resembling at least a portion of a tree limb extending from the covering.

17. The blind of claim 16, wherein the opening is selectively sealed by a hinged door.

18. The blind of claim 16, wherein covering includes an upper portion terminating in a jagged edge.

19. The blind of claim 16, wherein the partial enclosure includes a top and a base.

20. The blind of claim 16, wherein the covering is coupled to a base that supports the covering.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

Embodiments of the present invention generally relate to a device for viewing wildlife, such as a blind. More particularly, to a blind that closely resembles a tree trunk.

2. Description of the Related Art

Outdoor enthusiasts, such as hunters, photographers, and researchers, among others, strive to get close views of wildlife. Generally, animals fear humans, and the outdoor enthusiast must conceal his presence, at least partially, in order to facilitate close views of wildlife. For example, a hunter typically conceals himself in a way that minimizes alerting wildlife to his presence. A camouflage material may be used as clothing or otherwise arranged to conceal the hunter, or a blind may be used alone, or in combination with, the camouflage material.

Conventional blinds range from structures in numerous geometric shapes, to take-down blinds consisting of a frame covered by a camouflage material, and are configured to at least partially conceal the enthusiast. Conventional blinds may be adapted to couple to a tree, sit on the ground, or be elevated from the ground. Although the conventional blinds may blend in to the surroundings, conventional blinds generally have an unnatural look. For example, conventional structures may be painted and/or textured to minimize the unnatural look of the structure in an attempt to make the structure blend into the surroundings.

While attempts to make conventional blinds blend with the environment have produced good results, the conventional blinds are often ineffective in areas where hunting or urban pressure has sensitized the wildlife. For example, as the animals are hunted, the animals may become increasingly skittish in the vicinity of conventional blinds causing the animals to avoid the blind or maintain a significant distance from the blind.

Therefore, there is a need for an improved wildlife viewing blind.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Embodiments described herein generally describe an apparatus for viewing wildlife. The apparatus defines an enclosure to at least partially conceal a human and minimizes alerting wildlife of the humans' presence therein.

In one embodiment, a ground-based blind for viewing wildlife is described. The blind includes an enclosure formed at least partially by a tree trunk shaped covering and the enclosure is sized to receive a human, and an opening formed in the covering, wherein the covering comprises a textured surface resembling tree-bark and a plurality of root-like projections at a first end thereof.

In another embodiment, a ground-based blind for viewing wildlife is described. The blind includes a tree-trunk shaped facade, comprising a partial enclosure sized to receive a human, an outwardly flaring bottom portion, and an upper portion terminating in a jagged edge, wherein a portion of the facade forms a door to selectively seal an opening formed therethrough.

In another embodiment, a ground-based blind for viewing wildlife is described. The blind includes a tree-trunk shaped covering defining a partial enclosure and having a tapered portion at a first end that extends to the ground, a plurality of apertures formed in the covering, wherein one of the apertures defines an opening sized to receive a human, and at least one projection resembling at least a portion of a tree limb extending from the covering.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

So that the manner in which the above recited features of the present invention can be understood in detail, a more particular description of the invention, briefly summarized above, may be had by reference to embodiments, some of which are illustrated in the appended drawings. It is to be noted, however, that the appended drawings illustrate only typical embodiments of this invention and are therefore not to be considered limiting of its scope, for the invention may admit to other equally effective embodiments.

FIG. 1 is a side view of one embodiment of a wildlife viewing blind.

FIG. 2 is another side view of the wildlife viewing blind of FIG. 1 rotated along a longitudinal axis.

FIG. 3 is a side view of another embodiment of a wildlife viewing blind.

FIG. 4 is top view of the embodiment of the wildlife viewing blind shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.

FIG. 5 is an isometric view of a portion of one embodiment of an outer surface of a covering.

To facilitate understanding, identical reference numerals have been used, where possible, to designate identical elements that are common to the figures. It is also contemplated that elements disclosed in one embodiment may be beneficially utilized on other embodiments without specific recitation.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Embodiments described herein relate to an apparatus for at least partially concealing a human from view of wildlife. The apparatus may be used for hunting, research in animal behavior, wildlife viewing, and/or photography. The apparatus may be referred to as a blind and is especially useful in areas where wildlife is apprehensive due to the natural instincts of the animal, and/or apprehensive due to hunting pressure. The blind is configured to blend in with the natural surroundings as it resembles a tree, and may also be useful as a decorative item.

FIG. 1 is a side view of one embodiment of a wildlife viewing blind 10. In one embodiment, the blind 10 is configured to closely resemble a large tree trunk. The blind 10 includes a covering 20 having a first end 22 and a second end 24, which may comprise a longitudinal cylindrical or tubular shape, or a segment thereof. The first end 22 includes a flared portion 26 that extends toward the ground 5. In one embodiment, the flared portion 26 includes extended members 30 configured to resemble a tree root-like projection. The extended members 30 taper laterally and downwardly from the center portion and/or first end 22. In one embodiment, the extended members 30 are adapted to contact a surface, such as the ground 5, in order to provide stability for the covering 20. The extended members 30 may include holes (not shown in this view) for attachment of stabilizing members, such as stakes, spikes, and the like. The second end 24 is opposite the first end and is adapted to resemble an upper portion of a tree trunk. In one embodiment, the second end 24 includes a jagged edge 32 to resemble a break in the upper portion of a tree trunk. The jagged edge 32 may be an irregular shape, such as a wavy shape defining high and low portions, a saw-tooth pattern, a plurality of triangular projections defining high and low portions, and combinations thereof.

The covering 20 also includes a center portion having a plurality of apertures 34 that are adapted to resemble limb attachment points. Each of the plurality of apertures 34 are sized to allow passage of a portion of a camera, a portion of a firearm, or an arrow through the covering 20. Each of the plurality of apertures are generally located along the center portion at a height substantially equal to the height of a human's eyes. The height of the plurality of apertures 34 may be adapted for a human in a sitting position and/or standing position. In one embodiment, the plurality of apertures 34 include annular projections 36 that resemble a greater concentration of bark at the attachment point of a limb to a trunk, sometimes referred to as a collar. In another embodiment, the annular projections 36 may resemble the new bark formation around a cut or fallen limb, sometimes referred to as callous tissue. The covering 20 may also include an extension 38 at least partially extending from at least one of the plurality of apertures 34. The extension 38 may be a tubular or hollow cylinder, or a segment thereof, to not obscure the aperture 34. The extension 38 may include a tapered end to resemble a portion of a broken tree limb.

FIG. 2 is another side view of the wildlife viewing blind 10 of FIG. 1 rotated along a longitudinal axis. The blind 10 also includes a doorway 40 that allows access to a partial enclosure 42 defined within the covering 20. The doorway 40 is sized to allow a human to enter the enclosure 42, and the size of the enclosure 42 is selected to at least partially conceal the human. In one embodiment, the enclosure 42 is configured to allow ample volume for an adult human to stand or sit. The interior of the enclosure 42 may be covered with a thermal and/or sound insulating material 43. The doorway 40 and/or enclosure 42 may be covered and/or sealed by any suitable material, such as cloth, camouflage material, and the like.

In one embodiment, the doorway 40 is selectively sealed by a door 44. The door 44 may be coupled to the covering 20 and/or a frame portion (not shown) disposed within the enclosure 42 by hinges 46. The door 44 may be formed from the material removed for the doorway 40 and may include a radius or arcuate shape having a similar radius to that of the covering 20 such that when the door 44 is closed, the door 44 appears as a continuous part of the covering 20. In another embodiment, the door 44 may be adapted to slide vertically or laterally, or may be adapted to be completely removed from the opening 40, and selectively closes the opening 40 by a pressure fit, latches, magnets, and/or fasteners.

In one embodiment, the covering has a longitudinal length, measured from a bottom surface of an extended member 30 to an upper surface of the jagged edge 32, between about 8 feet to 11 feet, such as about 10 feet. The covering 20 includes a width, or a diameter in the case of a substantially circular covering, between about 32 inches to about 54 inches or greater. The enclosure 42 includes an area sized to receive a human and may have a smaller size (length and/or width) than the covering 20. For example, the enclosure may include a top and bottom (not shown in this view) and the distance between the top and bottom may be between about 72 inches to about 84 inches or greater, and the covering 20 extends above and/or below the enclosure 42.

In one embodiment, the covering 20 functions as a facade to at least partially conceal a human in a standing or sitting position. The covering 20 may be formed from one material or a combination of materials, such as metal, polymers, wood, fabric, and combinations thereof. The covering 20 may be formed from a mold or cast in one or more pieces and joined. The covering 20 may further include a coating which includes a foamed polymer, such as insulating foam available from the Dow Chemical Company under the trade name of GREAT STUFF™. The foamed polymer may be applied in a manner wherein a three-dimensional bark like coating is formed as shown in FIG. 5. The covering 20 may further be painted with one or a combination of colors to more closely resemble the natural color of tree bark. In one embodiment, the facade includes a double insulating covering, wherein the coating is formed from a foam material and the inner surface of the covering includes a sound and/or thermally insulating coating or layer 43. A backing material, such as a metal, plastic, or fiberglass material, may be used between the covering 20 and the insulating coating or layer 43.

In one embodiment, the covering 20 comprises a fabric material coupled with a frame (not shown) having a foamed polymer coating. In another embodiment, the covering 20 comprises a metal or plastic shell as a backing having the foamed polymer applied thereto in order to resemble tree bark. In yet another embodiment, the covering 20 includes a corrugated metal, fiberglass, or plastic shell to provide additional rigidity to the covering 20, and the foamed polymer coating is applied thereto to resemble tree bark. The foamed polymer may then be painted with one or a combination of colors to coat the foam and create a covering 20 having a color closely resembling tree bark.

FIG. 3 is a side view of another embodiment of a wildlife viewing blind 10. In this embodiment, the enclosure 42 and/or the covering 20 includes a frame 50. The frame 50 includes a longitudinal member 52 coupled with a base 58 adapted to contact a surface, such as the ground 5, in order to provide support for the covering 20. A portion of the longitudinal member 52 is shown in phantom in this view to illustrate a cutaway portion to facilitate one of the apertures 34, but the longitudinal member 52 may be positioned to not interfere with any apertures. In one embodiment, the frame 50 includes a floor 54 and a top 56. The volume defined between the floor 54 and the top 56 is sized to receive a human and may include a distance between the floor 54 and top 56 of between about 72 inches to about 84 inches or greater. The enclosure 42 includes a width, or a diameter in the case of a substantially circular covering, between about 32 inches to about 54 inches or greater. In one embodiment, the base 58 includes a plurality of holes (not shown) adapted to receive stabilizing members, such as spikes, stakes, and the like. The base 58 may be spaced-apart vertically from the floor 54 by a plurality of risers 59, in order to raise the floor 54 from the base 58.

The frame 50 may be made of wood, metal, polymers, and combinations thereof. For example, the floor 54, top 56, and base 58 may comprise plywood, particle board, pressboard, and the like. In one embodiment, the floor 54, top 56, and base 58 is made of pressure-treated plywood, and the longitudinal member 52 and risers 59 may be made of lumber, which may be pressure-treated or painted to promote longer usable life. In another embodiment, the longitudinal member 52 and risers 59 may be made of tubular metal or plastic. The floor 54, top 56, and base 58 may be attached to the longitudinal member 52 and risers 59 by adhesives and/or fasteners 33 (only one is shown in this view), such as nails, screws, bolts, and the like.

FIG. 4 is top view of the embodiment of the wildlife viewing blind 10 shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The covering 20 includes a plurality of protrusions, such as ridges 60, configured to resemble the texture and dimensions of natural tree bark. The ridges 60 comprising the simulated tree bark may resemble the bark of a large tree that may be native to the environment where the blind 10 may be used. Examples include bark resembling pine, pecan, oak, hickory, and mesquite, among others. In one embodiment, the ridges 60 are in a substantially longitudinal pattern, but the ridges 60 may be formed in any pattern that resembles other trees in the environment where the blind 10 may be used. The covering 20 also includes four annular projections 36 that may protrude slightly beyond an outside perimeter or diameter defined by the ridges 60. One of the plurality of annular projections 36 includes an extension 38 having a plurality of ridges 62, that may have dimensions, such as width and height, that are similar or slightly smaller than the ridges 60. The ridges 60, 62, and annular projections 36, may be formed from foam as described above, or other suitable material. The plurality of extended members 30 formed on a lower portion of the covering are shown having holes 31 configured to receive stabilizing members, such as spikes, stakes, and the like.

FIG. 5 is an isometric view of a portion of one embodiment of an outer surface of the covering 20. In one embodiment, the covering 20 includes a texture comprising ridges 60 in a three dimensional design to resemble tree bark. The covering 20 also includes an annular projection 36 surrounding an aperture 34 to produce a three-dimensional finish to closely resemble natural tree bark. The ridges 60 and annular projection 36 may be formed by molding, casting, forming from a foam material, and combinations thereof. In one embodiment, the ridges 60 and annular projection 36 are made of foam applied along a backing material 66, which may be made from wood, metals, polymers, fabrics, mesh, and the like. In one embodiment, the backing material 66 is made of a metallic material and includes a foam material applied thereto. The backing material 66 may be corrugated steel, fiberglass, or plastic. Each ridge 60 may be blended with an adjacent ridge to make a smooth transition between ridges, or the ridges 60 may be applied at a pitch where a valley 68 is formed between adjacent ridges 60.

In this embodiment, the aperture 34 is at least partially covered by a plug 64. The plug 64 may be made of wood, metal, polymers, fabric, and combinations thereof. The plug 64 may be selectively removed from the aperture 34 and may be coupled to the covering 20 by hinges, latches, fasteners, or adapted to pressure fit within the aperture 34. In one embodiment, the plug 64 is made of a transparent material, such as glass, acrylic, a mesh, or combinations thereof, in order to provide a field of view into the surroundings outside the covering 20. Before or after wildlife has approached the blind, the plug 64 may be removed for an unobstructed view through the aperture 34.

Various embodiments have been described for a wildlife viewing blind that closely resembles a tree. The blind may be adapted for any wooded environment as the covering may be adapted to resemble natural trees in the environment where the blind is to be used. For example, if the blind is to be used in an area where pine trees are native, the covering may be textured and painted to resemble pine tree bark. The blind may be configured to resemble other trees, such as oak, hickory, mesquite, among others. In this manner, the blind will blend into the environment, thus enhancing the chance of getting close views of wildlife.

While the foregoing is directed to embodiments of the present invention, other and further embodiments of the invention may be devised without departing from the basic scope thereof, and the scope thereof is determined by the claims that follow.