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Banding Together for Waterfowl

Hiding in Plain Sight

Expert waterfowlers share their secrets of how to conceal hunters in open environments
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Down and Dirty

Given the remarkable effectiveness of layout hunting for waterfowl, it was only a matter of time before hunters adapted the concept from water to dry land. The result was the lay-down field blind, which, over the past decade, has become the preferred method of concealment for goose hunters across North America. Ron Latschaw, inventor of the highly popular Final Approach Eliminator blind, has guided goose hunters across much of the western United States and Canada, and he has a wealth of practical advice about how to use lay-down blinds in the field. "The first thing you need to do when you take any lay-down blind out of the box is muddy up the fabric so it won't shine in the sun. I take a bucket of dry dirt, add a little water to make a light mud, and brush it on the fabric with a broom. Next, I let it dry for about an hour and then rinse the bulk of the soil off with a garden hose. This will leave a thin layer of mud on the fabric that will eliminate most of the reflection."

Most lay-down blinds come with elastic straps on their sides to hold crop stubble and other vegetation to help conceal them on varied landscapes. But Latschaw cautions hunters to add additional cover sparingly to his blinds. "A lot of hunters put too much stuff on their blinds trying to hide them, but what it actually does is give them the appearance of big piles of grass in the field. If the camouflage on the blind matches the field, I like to let the pattern show through to create a three-dimension effect, which is much harder to see."

One of the greatest advantages of using lay-down blinds is mobility, and Latschaw advises hunters not to be bashful about moving blinds during a hunt to get better shooting positions. "The first flock of the day will usually indicate how the birds are going to approach your spread, unless, of course, there is a major wind shift. If geese are trying to land on one side of your spread, and only the guys on that side are getting shots, you need to move your blinds immediately, so all the shooters will be centered in the area where the birds want to land. Sometimes, adjusting your blinds just a few yards to the left or right can make a big difference."

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