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Hiding in Plain Sight

Expert waterfowlers share their secrets of how to conceal hunters in open environments
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Overlooking the Obvious

Despite all the advancements in concealment technology in recent years, many waterfowlers continue to bag ducks and geese in fields and other open habitats from blinds that stand out like the proverbial sore thumb. Veteran goose guide and Real Geese decoy designer Darrel Wise has a theory about why this is possible. "Waterfowl, especially geese, learn through experience to associate certain objects with danger. If your blind doesn't represent one of those danger signs, you can get away with a lot of shapes, colors, and ugliness."

While guiding in central Alberta, Wise uses hay bale blinds to conceal groups of six to eight hunters in the same decoy spread. "The whole premise behind my blinds was that they would work well in fields with other hay bales. Now I use them in fields where there isn't another bale for miles. I've also had success by pulling the blinds together in a clump and brushing them with tree branches to look like a big brush pile. Of course, we don't fool every flock, but, every year, we decoy an awful lot of geese at close range with those blinds."

Wise concludes that many waterfowlers worry too much about tiny details on their blinds, and don't give enough attention to the fundamentals of concealment. "The key to any above-ground blind is to have it completely brushed on the roof and sides so there are no large openings where ducks and geese can look in and see you. If you are covered up well, the birds won't know you're there until you come up to shoot."

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