To further soften the blind's boxy appearance, we drove several more metal fence posts into the ground at random intervals and distances around the blind. Then we zip-tied small oak and willow saplings to the posts to look like naturally growing trees. We also fertilized a 5-yard border around the blind to encourage the growth of native grasses and weeds to enhance the blind's natural appearance.
The result of all this effort was a "thicket" that lacked any hint of straight lines or square corners. And thanks to the blind's inward-sloping front wall and saplings secured to fence posts around the periphery, concealed hunters are located in the center of the cover instead of on the front edge. This enables us to push the shooting panels forward and stand to shoot without being detected.
The three main functions we desire in a blind are to be hidden, comfortable, and able to enjoy each other's company. Our blind meets all of these requirements completely. It frequently provides us with close shots at unsuspecting ducks. It is comfortable enough to keep us "on station" when the flight is slow and the morning is long. And it is the perfect setting for our storytelling and jokes that are as much a part of duck hunting as the ducks themselves.
Form Follows Function Two time-honored axioms in architecture are "less is more," and "form follows function." Our blind is serviceable in its simplicity, and easy to maintain. In years past, my partners and I have built blinds with backrooms, full kitchens, flush toilets, heating systems, electric lights, and other amenities. I have shared other hunters' blinds that were equipped with televisions, sleeping quarters, and theater seats. One blind even had a personal computer with Internet access.
Our new blind includes none of these luxuries, but it does everything we want it to do. It totally conceals us from the sharp eyes of our quarry. It is incredibly cozy—although when it's really cold, we bring a portable heater with us. It gives us plenty of room to move around in, and we don't need a kitchen, since we rarely cook in the blind. (Our cabin is only a five-minute ATV ride away, and nowadays we'd rather eat at a table on clean dishes.)