Waterfowl blinds are like a different dimension. The moment you sit down or lie down in a blind, you see the world from a different perspective. Time stands still when the birds are overhead and the company is enjoyable. It provides the appropriate camouflage from the eyes in the sky, and it breaks the cold wind.
A good blind is a home, a memory factory, and a place to share our hunting heritage with the next generation.
Blinds can be considered anything from a permanent concrete structure with all the amenities of home, to a bundle of cattails or marsh grasses. Layout blinds have taken the place of digging a pit in many cases, and even those need to be maintained throughout the off season and prepped for opening day. Improve your blind and you can improve your success.
Here are some ways to make your blinds, whether permanent or temporary, better suited for the upcoming season.
Temporary Blind Tips
- Don't destroy the landscape. Avoid cutting down whole trees and shrubs and pulling up large areas of grass just to build a small blind.
- Utilize natural materials to create a worn, years-old look rather than something that stands out as new construction.
- Get a different perspective. Walk 300 yards and look at your blind from a new angle - does anything stand out as unnatural?
- Thoroughly mud up layout blinds. An out-of-the-box layout blind will stand out in many cases. Smear dirt and mud all over the top and sides to give it an earthy look.
- Always have a handsaw or hatchet nearby. Packing these tools will help you clear shooting lanes if constructing a temporary blind along a riverbank or tree line.
- Carry in materials. Bring in camouflage burlap or other manmade blind materials to toss over the top of a few logs to create a roof for optimal concealment. For more information, please see Steps for Building a Simple, Temporary Duck Blind.
- Create space. Temporary blinds can be whatever you want them to be, so don't short change yourself. Make your blind large enough for the entire hunting party, including dogs.
- Use tent poles. Packing in a few tent poles will help create a base for an extensive temporary blind, when mixed with natural materials.
- The bucket theory. If you routinely build temporary blinds, carry in a 5-gallon bucket with materials. Once the blind is constructed, use the bucket as a seat.
- Remember it's temporary. If you've constructed a temporary blind and birds still seem to spot you, don't be afraid to start over. Tear it down and make improvements for phase II.
Permanent Blind Tips
- Taking time to find the perfect spot for your pit or blind will make the difference between a good year and a bad year. Judgment from seasons past and common wind directions are important elements to consider when choosing your location.
- The structure of your blind will vary from place to place. Explore the options and take stock of your own needs before deciding what type of blind to build.
- Keep it simple. Shelves, a solid bench and a small stove or heating unit is a good start. Remember that you are hunting, not checking in to the Ritz.
- Use quality materials. Nothing will ruin a hunt faster than realizing your blind didn't make it through a wind storm the night before.
- Keep your retriever in mind. A good vantage point, along with concealment and easy in-and-out access, will ensure good performance for your dog.
- Think outside the box. There is nothing that says a blind or pit has to be box shaped. Know your construction area and adapt to it.
- Use dark colors inside any structure you build. Bright colors will attract the birds' attention and blow your cover.
- Camouflage the outside well. Take the time to do it right and use natural cover from the surrounding area. Using grass when there's no grass around won't work.
- Set up an easily accessible path to and from your blind.