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How To Build Deer Stands Using Totes

by Mike Schoonveld

Industrial, agricultural and other bulk liquids are often transported in large, plastic containers measuring several feet on a side. Some are reused, some recycled but some are discarded or made available to individuals who work them into storage units or any number of innovative products never envisioned by their designers. Turning them into safe, secure, weather-proof deer hunting stands or blinds is one of these unusual tote makeovers.

Clean Up

Check with the donor to make sure the tote was never used to contain any sort of hazardous chemical or compound. The rule of thumb to follow is if whatever was inside originally can't be cleaned with soap and water, look for another tote.

Clean all residue, inside and out, with soapy water. Most totes are rinsed before being discarded, but not thoroughly cleaned.

Wash with a solution of 1/4 cup of bleach per gallon of water if odors from the former liquid inside the container persists. The odor from spicy foods, such as ketchup or mustard, seem to infuse in the plastic. Usually, the bleach will eliminate or drastically reduce the residual smells.

Construction

Use a saber saw with regular wood-cutting blades to cut the access door, allow you to get inside the tote.

Use a saber saw with metal cutting blades to cut through the metal support frame present on some totes. Don't remove the entire frame, just enough to allow access.

Cut window holes at a comfortable height after deciding what sort of bench or stool will be used inside the tote. These windows are also going to be the shooting portholes, so make sure they are sized to allow your gun and scope to protrude without catching or binding. Save the door and window cutouts.

Mark, then drill holes to affix a pair of hinges on the door and door opening using stove bolts, washers and nuts. Do the same thing with the window ports to allow them to hinge open upward. A short length of nylon cord can be tied to the bottom of a window covering leading to a hole drilled above the window to the inside. Pull the cord to swing the window open and secure.

Camouflage

Paint the inside of the container a flat, dark color.

Paint the outside in a natural camouflage pattern.

Add natural vegetation or branches from nearby brush, using the metal tote supports (if present) to hold the natural camouflage in place.

Items you will need

  • Water
  • Soap
  • Bleach
  • Paint
  • Saber saw
  • Hinges
  • Stove bolts
  • Nuts
  • Washers
  • Drill
  • 1/8" nylon cord

Tip

  • The stand can be used as a ground blind or elevated and secured to a platform support. In either case, place the stand in position as far in advance of the season as possible to allow deer to become accustomed to its presence.

Warning

  • Paint doesn't stick to some plastics very well. Expect to have to retouch or repaint annually.

About the Author

Mike Schoonveld has been writing since 1989 with magazine credits including "Outdoor Life," "Fur-Fish-Game," "The Rotarian" and numerous regional publications. Schoonveld earned a Master Captain License from the Coast Guard. He holds a Bachelor of Science in wildlife science from Purdue University.