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My Ultimate Duck Blind

After years of trial and error, DU magazine editor-at-large Wade Bourne finally built what he believes is the perfect duck blind
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  • One of the blind's most ingenious features is a dog ramp concealed by a hog wire "tunnel" covered with oak brush.
    photo by John Hoffman, DU
  • One of the blind's most ingenious features is a dog ramp concealed by a hog wire "tunnel" covered with oak brush.
    photo by John Hoffman, DU
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Creating a Stealth Effect

Ideally, a duck blind should blend into its surroundings. Since our blind stands alone in an open pond, we had to get creative. Rather than make our blind disappear, we camouflaged it to look like something harmless—in our case a brush pile in the middle of a field.

To create this stealth effect, we began by coating the newly built structure inside and out with drab olive latex paint. (We used a rented air compressor and paint sprayer powered by a generator to do this job quickly.) Then we covered the entire blind with army surplus camouflage netting, trimming out the shooting holes and doors. We nailed a layer of rusted woven wire over the netting to provide structure for attaching natural vegetation. Our final layer consisted of an abundance of oak and willow branches (cut while green) as well as handfuls of vines and weeds native to this river bottom environment. We attached all the vegetation to the wire with sturdy black plastic zip ties. We paid special attention to camouflaging the dividers between the shooting holes so the openings were tight and brushy. 

Next we covered the panels over the shooting holes with pieces of camo netting and small oak and willow limbs, which we also zip-tied to the hog wire. When these panels are up, hunters can look through them and watch ducks work without being seen. (When it's time to shoot, everybody knows where the ducks are.) We camouflaged the retriever platform and ramp by creating a hog wire tunnel, which we covered with brush fastened to the wire with zip ties. This camo tunnel conceals everything but Andy's head as he watches for ducks.

For additional concealment, we constructed camouflage "screens" around both ends of the blind, leaving enough space for a hunter to wade between the blind and the screens. We made our screens by pounding metal fence posts into the ground in a semicircle around the ends of the blind and attaching head-high woven wire fencing to the posts. Then we completely covered the wire with thick brush secured in place with zip ties. The screens help break up the blind's outline and provide additional cover for the doors and steps. The screens also provide ready concealment for hunters caught outside the blind when ducks show up. (It's remarkable how often this happens during the course of a hunt.)

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