Title:
WILDLIFE OBSERVATION BLIND
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A wildlife observation blind suspended from an overhead structure comprising a chair adapted for suspension from a support frame, a lift system coupled to the support frame for elevating the chair to a desired height, and a stabilization system coupled to the support frame to resist movement of the chair relative to the overhead structure.



Inventors:
Bergeron, William P. (Dallas, TX, US)
Application Number:
12/042442
Publication Date:
09/11/2008
Filing Date:
03/05/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04G3/32
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHIN-SHUE, ALVIN CONSTANTINE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
William P. Bergeron (Dallas, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A wildlife observation blind suspended from an overhead structure, comprising: a chair adapted for suspension from a support frame; a lift system coupled to the support frame for elevating the chair to a desired height; and a stabilization system coupled to the support frame configured to resist movement of the chair relative to the overhead structure when the blind is suspended from the overhead structure.

2. The observation blind of claim 1, wherein the stabilization system comprises at least one guy wire extending from the chair coupleable to a support structure.

3. The observation blind of claim 1, wherein the at least one guy wire is retractable by a spring biased reel.

4. The observation blind of claim 1, wherein the stabilization system comprises at least one rod extendable from the chair to engage a support structure.

5. The observation blind of claim 1, wherein the lift system comprises a block and tackle assembly.

6. The observation blind of claim 5, wherein the lift system further comprises a rope clamp to resist movement of a block and tackle line.

7. The observation blind of claim 1, wherein the support frame comprises an transverse beam coupled to a cross beam at a mid-length to support the chair.

8. The observation blind of claim 1, wherein the support frame comprises a base member adjoined to a pair of opposed arms extending therefrom.

9. A wildlife observation blind suspended from an overhead structure, comprising: a chair supported by a lift system for elevating the chair to a desired height; and a stabilization system coupled to the chair configured to resist relative movement between the chair and the overhead structure when the chair is suspended from the overhead structure.

10. The observation blind of claim 9, wherein the stabilization system comprises at least one guy wire extending from the chair coupleable to a support structure.

11. The observation blind of claim 10, wherein the at least one guy wire is retractable by a spring biased reel.

12. The observation blind of claim 9, wherein the stabilization system comprises at least one rod extendable from the chair to engage a support structure.

13. The observation blind of claim 9, wherein the lift system comprises a block and tackle assembly.

14. The observation blind of claim 13, wherein the lift system further comprises a rope clamp to resist movement of a block and tackle line for elevating the observation blind.

15. The observation blind of claim 9, further comprising a support frame for supporting the chair comprising a transverse beam coupled to a cross beam at a mid-length to support the chair.

16. The observation blind of claim 9, further comprising a support frame for supporting the chair comprising a base member adjoined to a pair of opposed arms extending therefrom.

17. A wildlife observation blind suspended from an overhead structure, comprising: a chair adapted for suspension from a support frame; a lift system coupled to the support frame for elevating the chair to a desired height; and at least one extendible guy wire coupleable to a support structure to stabilize the chair when the chair is suspended from the overhead structure.

18. The observation blind of claim 17, wherein the guy wire is retractable.

19. The observation blind of claim 17, further comprising at least one extendible rod extendable to engage a support structure to resist relative movement between the blind and the support structure.

20. The observation blind of claim 17, wherein the chair further comprises a storage pouch disposed thereon.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/904,990 filed Mar. 5, 2007.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In the art of wildlife observation or wildlife hunting, there have been many developments in the way of providing observation posts or hunter or observer blinds consisting of permanent structures and/or structures that are difficult to move. Devices known as deer stands, for example, are widely used but are not typically portable. For example, it is often necessary for deer hunters to change locations due to changes in wind direction, unwanted human activity in close proximity, an animal becoming wary of the hunter or observer location, animal activity being not as prevalent as assumed prior to placement of the blind or, other hunters in the vicinity and therefore forcing animal activity away from the location of the blind.

Accordingly, there has been a strong need for a wildlife observation or hunter's blind which is portable, can be erected, disassembled and moved without assistance from other persons, is unobtrusive, prevents others from disturbing or “hunting” and therefore disturbing wildlife activity in the vicinity of an otherwise desirable observation or hunting location, and is otherwise stable once erected. It is to these ends that the present invention has been developed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides an improved wildlife observation or hunter's blind that is highly portable, may be handled by one person, improves observer or hunter mobility and choices of an observing or hunting location, and once erected, is stabilized to secure the observer or hunter in position. The wildlife observation post or blind of the present invention also provides for the observer to assess a preferred location for the observation post or blind and to locate the post or blind in a position for the highest possibility for successful use.

In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a wildlife observation post or blind is provided which comprises a chair which is connected to rigging for suspending a seat part from a tree branch or other support structure which places the observer in a selected position off of the ground. The rigging suspends the seat part in a way which allows for ease of use, particularly for aiming a camera, binoculars or a weapon, while maintaining stability for the occupant. The seat part, a backrest and the rigging are configured to be unobtrusive and blend in with the surroundings in a wooded setting.

In accordance with another aspect of the invention, the seat part and its associated rigging are preferably connected to a block and tackle of conventional construction, which in turn is connected to a load rope or line which may be trained over a tree branch or the like to initially rig the chair. The load rope secures the block and tackle at one end, the block and tackle is connected at its other end to the chair rigging and the block and tackle line free end is made available to the chair occupant for ascension of the seat part and its rigging to a desired height by the occupant by merely pulling on the free end of the line of the block and tackle. The block and tackle line may be rigged through a jam cleat or other rope clamping mechanism to secure the free end once the observer or hunter is positioned in the chair at the desired height above the ground. The chair is stabilized by at least one guy wire and at least one extendible rod to support the chair when the observer or hunter is positioned in the chair.

Those skilled in the art will further appreciate the advantages and superior features of the invention upon reading the detailed description which follows in conjunction with the drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a wildlife observation post or blind illustrated suspended from an overhanging structure;

FIG. 2 is detail view of the wildlife observation post or blind of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 3 is a detail view of another wildlife observation post or blind illustrated suspended from an overhanging structure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the description which follows like parts are throughout the specification and drawing with the same reference numerals, respectively. The drawing figures may not necessarily be to scale and certain features may be shown in a somewhat schematic form in the interest and clarity and conciseness.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a wildlife observation post or blind 10 illustrated suspended from an overhanging structure. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, blind 10 is a highly portable structure comprising a chair 12 adapted for suspension from a rigging support frame 24. In FIG. 1, rigging support frame 24 and chair 12 are raised and lowered by hunter or observer sitting in chair 12 via a lift system, such as block and tackle assembly 40. According to some embodiments, one end of block and tackle assembly 40 is connected directly to a rope member 38 and the opposite end of block and tackle assembly 40 is connected to a load line/rope 44 for suspension of the observation post or blind 10 over a tree branch 65a of a tree 65. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, a block and tackle line 41, including a free end 41a, is operated by a user to raise and/or lower chair 12 to a desired height. Once chair 12 is suspended at the desired height, a stabilizing system 70, comprising guy wires 62 and 63 and extendible rods 72 and 74, is configured to prevent or substantially reduce relative movement between blind 10 and tree 65 or any other support structure.

FIG. 2 is detail view of the wildlife observation post or blind 10 of FIG. 1. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, chair 12 comprises a generally C or U shaped tubular frame member 14, a cross-brace member 16, and a flexible fabric seat 18. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, blind 10 comprises a storage pouch 20 under and supported by seat 18 and/or tubular frame 14. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, chair 12 comprises a flexible fabric backrest 22 disposed above and connected to a base member 14a of frame 14. According to some embodiments, base member 14a is integrally joined to opposed arms 14b and 14c of tubular frame 14; however, it should be understood that arms 14b and 14c may be otherwise coupled to tubular frame 14. Seat 18, pouch 20 and backrest 22 may be formed of fabric having suitable camouflage coloring or patterns thereon.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, rigging support frame 24 comprises an elongated transverse tubular beam 26 and a cross or fore and aft beam 28. Beams 26 and 28 are coupled together at mid-length by a conventional bolt and nut assembly; however, it should be understood that other methods of connecting beams 26 and 28 are available. Beam 26 includes suitable hardware for connection to a flexible cable or chain type support assembly 30 including opposed cables 32 and 34, which are connected to opposite ends of the beam 26 and to a ring member 36. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, rope member 38 is connected to ring 36 and to block and tackle assembly 40 to suspend support frame 24. In FIG. 2, block and tackle assembly 40 comprises a pulley supporting clevis frame member or block 42 connected directly to rope member 38. The opposite end of block and tackle assembly 40 is connected to load line/rope 44 at an opposite pulley supporting block or frame member 45 for initial placement and suspension of the observation post or blind 10.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, rigging between chair 12 and support frame 24 includes elongated depending cable members 46 and 48, which are each secured at one end, respectively, to a cable loop 47, each loop 47 being secured to beam member 26 at opposite ends thereof. Suspension cables 46 and 48 are suitably attached to seat frame 14 at attachment points 46a and 48a. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, attachment points 46a and 48a are disposed at the juncture of frame arms 14c and 14b with base member 14a; however, it should be understood that attachment points 46a and 48a may be otherwise positioned on frame 14. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, backrest 22 is secured to frame 14 by flexible cables 23 and 25 adjacent a lower end of backrest 22 and the upper end of the backrest 22 is suitably secured to the aft end of fore and aft beam member 28 at connecting point 28a and by flexible cable suspension members 22a and 22b. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, a pair of stabilizing cable members 29a and 29b interconnect aft end of beam 28 at 28a with opposite ends of beam 26.

The suspension rigging for the chair 12 further includes depending cable members 54 and 56, which are secured at their lower ends, respectively, to the frame arms 14b and 14c and are secured at their upper ends to connecting loop members 47. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, flexible cable suspension members 54 and 56 are also connected to branch cable members 54a and 56a, which extend to and are connected to the fore end of beam 28 at 28b.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, free end 41a of block and tackle line 41 is used to raise and lower seat 12. In FIG. 2, free end 41a is secured to beam 26, for example, by a suitable rope clamp device 60, such as a conventional jam cleat, cam cleat or other type of commercially available rope clamp. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, rope clamp 60 is mounted on beam 26; however, it should be understood that rope clamp 60 may be otherwise mounted (e.g., at any location on frame 14, rigging support frame 24 or otherwise on blind 10). According to some embodiments, rope clamp 60 may be of a type sold under the trademark Traxion, for example.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, suspension cables 46 and 54 are shown interconnected by a short cable section 55 to pull cable 54 rearwardly toward cable 46 to allow for a wider range of movement of a person seated in chair 12 and maneuvering a camera, binoculars or a hunting weapon. Although, observation post or blind 10 has a substantial amount of stability in use, stabilizing system 70 provides additional stability to the user when utilizing blind 10.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, stabilizing system 70 comprises releasable guys 62 and 63, which are illustrated secured at one end, respectively, to the frame 14 and may be secured at their opposite ends to ground based stakes, adjacent trees, structures or the like (not illustrated). Tension in the guys 62 and 63 may be adjusted as needed. According to some embodiments, guys 62 and 63 are secureable to frame 14 by spring biased reels 62a and 63a, which are operable to adjust slack in guys 62 and 63 as chair 12 is raised or lowered by block and tackle assembly 40. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, rods 72 and 74 extend rearwardly from chair 12 to abut tree 65 (FIG. 1) or any other support structure. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, extendable rods 72 and 74 are secured to frame 14 via a cross support member 76, which comprises locking members 78 and 80 disposed thereon and adapted to receive rods 72 and 74, respectively. Locking members 78 and 80 securely fasten rods 72 and 74 when disposed therein. In operation, once chair 12 is at the desired height, rods 72 and 74 are pushed rearwardly through locking members 78 and 80 generally in the direction of arrow 82 until extended to the desired length to abut tree 65 (FIG. 1) or any other support structure. It should be understood that rods 72 and 74 may be, in addition to extendable in the direction of arrow 82, repositioned and/or pivoted either upwardly, downwardly and/or laterally in either direction to engage tree 65 or any other support structure.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, locking members 78 and 80 frictionally engage rods 72 and 74, respectively to prevent movement of rods 72 and 74 relative to chair 12. Accordingly, the provision of rods 72 and 74 abutting tree 65 (FIG. 1) coupled with guy wires 62 and 62, prevent and/or otherwise eliminate movement of blind 10 when suspended from tree 65. When it is desired to release stabilizing system 70, tabs 84, located on locking members 78 and 80, are actuated to release and/or otherwise unlock rods 72 and 74 to enable a user to retract the rods in the direction of arrow 86 relative to chair 12. As blind 10 is lowered, slack in guy wires 62 and 63 may be taken in via spring biased reels 62a and 63a.

When placing observation post or blind 10 in use, load rope 44 is thrown over a suitable support structure, such as tree branch 65a and connected to one end of block and tackle assembly 40. The opposite end of the block and tackle 40 is connected to the suspension frame 24 in the manner illustrated and previously described. With load rope 44 looped over a support such as tree branch 65a, the free end of rope 44 is pulled in the direction of arrow 44a to hoist and/or otherwise raise block and tackle assembly 40 into the position shown. The free end of rope 44 is then secured to suspend block and tackle assembly 40 and chair 12 from its own rigging. Guys 62 and 63 may also be suitably secured at their distal or ground based ends. Once secured into position, a person desiring to occupy blind 10 may be seated in the chair 12 and grasp block and tackle line 41 to facilitate hosting of chair 12 to a suitable height. Rope clamp 60 secures and/or otherwise resists movement of block and tackle line 41 to prevent the lowering of chair 12 until manually released by the user. As chair 12 is positioned at the desired height, guys 62 and 63 and rods 72 and 74 may be adjusted as needed to stabilize blind 10. For example, rods 72 and 74 may be extended against tree 65 and guys tightened to eliminate any slack therein. Furthermore, one and/or the other of suspension cables 54 and 56 may be pulled rearwardly by a connecting cable 55 to allow a wider range of movement of a person seated in chair 12.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a wildlife observation post or blind 10 illustrated suspended from an overhanging structure. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 3, support frame 24 comprises generally C or U shaped tubular frame member 100 and a cross brace member 102. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 3, frame member comprises a base member 100a adjoined to a pair of opposed arms 100b and 100c extending therefrom. Support frame 24 is secured to rope member 38 of block and tackle assembly 40 via suspension wires 104 and 106, which are looped through ring 36 and secured via rings 108 on support frame 24. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 3, rigging between chair 12 and support frame 24 includes elongated depending cable members 110, 112 and 114. In FIG. 3, cable member 110 is attached to arm 14c of seat frame 14 and to support frame 24 via cable loop 47. Cable members 112 and 114 are coupled at one end to arm 14b of support frame 14 and to the other cable member 112 and 114 at the other ends thereof. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 3, loop members 47 of respective cables 112 and 114 are secured to support frame 24. It should be understood, however, that other configurations of cable members 110, 112 and 114, including a greater or fewer number of cable members may be utilized.

In the embodiments illustrated in FIGS. 1-3, even if the free end of block and tackle line 41 should become loose from rope clamp 60 and/or rope clamp 60 otherwise fails, the friction in block and tackle assembly 40 will enable chair 12 to descend relatively slowly to minimize any chance of serious injury to a person seated in chair 12. Rigging the post or blind 10 may be carried out in a relatively short amount of time. The construction and use of the observation post or blind 10 is believed to be within the purview of one skilled in the art based on the foregoing description. Conventional engineering materials may be used to construct the blind 10, including the rigging cables and connecting hardware, the frame members and the fabric components.





 
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