Build a Good Duck Blind
Not being fully concealed from the view of circling birds is a major headache for waterfowlers. Another is being uncomfortable. It's hard to enjoy a hunt when you're wet or chilled to the bone. For both of these reasons, you might want to consider building a good duck blind. Better camouflage translates into greater hunting success, while a blind with creature comforts increases enjoyment of the overall experience.
Two years ago my partners and I built a comfortable duck blind
. We camouflaged the blind thoroughly and furnished it with chairs, shelves, and other amenities to make it as cozy and practical as possible.
When the season opened, our efforts paid off. Ducks worked to our "brush pile" with little suspicion. We stayed dry and warm, shielded from pelting rain and piercing north winds. And when action was slow, we stuck around longer because we were comfortable. This meant we were still in our blind on several occasions when the ducks finally decided to fly.
Scale Down Your Spread
A lot of work goes into rigging, deploying, and maintaining big decoy spreads
. With a large portable spread, hunters have to spend considerable energy setting out and picking up decoys before and after the hunt. And though big permanent spreads are set out only once a season, these rigs demand constant attention to keep the decoys free of tangles, unencumbered by ice, and adjusted to changing wind directions.
To save yourself some time and effort, you might want to consider scaling down your spread. On our Kentucky farm, my hunting partners and I have a simple fencepost-and-wire blind a few rows inside a flooded cornfield. We keep two slotted sacks of decoys—a dozen per sack—in the blind. These are our very best decoys—freshly painted, oversized, and with flocked heads. It takes only a couple of minutes to set these out each morning, and this small number of super-realistic decoys is plenty to toll mallards coming to breakfast.