By Wade Bourne
Hunters don't have to spend enormous amounts of time and money to construct an effective duck blind. Last season my partners and I built a blind that cost very little and took only a couple of hours to construct. The blind accommodated four hunters comfortably and afforded us some of our best shooting of the year in our flooded cornfield. Here's how we did it.
We began by building the blind before we flooded the field. After deciding on the location and orientation of the blind in the standing corn, we cleared the cornstalks from a 4x12-foot area. We were very careful not to knock down any stalks standing outside the edges of this rectangle.
We collected the following materials: eight 6-foot metal fence posts; two 4x8-foot sheets of 1/2-inch-thick pressure-treated plywood; two 4-gauge-wire cattle panels, each 16 feet long and 50 inches high; and several dozen 12-inch heavy-duty black plastic zip ties. In order to assemble everything, we also brought along a power saw, hole saw (with a 2-inch bit), sledgehammer, fence post driver, bolt cutters, and wire cutters.
First we cut one of the plywood sheets in half to make two 4x4-foot pieces, and discarded one of them. Next we used the hole saw to cut 2-inch-round holes just inside each corner of the remaining 4x8-foot and 4x4-foot pieces of plywood. Then we laid the two boards end to end on the ground over the clearing in the corn.
Using the sledgehammer and post driver, we pounded a fence post into each hole in the plywood. We drove the posts into the ground on an angle so that they sloped inward toward the center of the blind. This anchored the plywood, ensuring that it wouldn't float up from its moorings when we flooded the field. It also helped us narrow the shooting hole at the top of the blind, providing us better cover from ducks circling overhead.
We drove all the posts to the same depth and angle. The distance from the top of each post to the ground was 50 inches—the same height as the cattle panels. The space between the tops of the front and back posts—the shooting hole—measured 30 inches.
We framed our blind by fastening the wire cattle panels to the outside of the front and back posts with zip ties. Next we trimmed the extended ends of the cattle panels with bolt cutters. Then we zip-tied the two leftover panel pieces across the uncovered sides of the blind. One of the panels was attached permanently, while the other was hinged to serve as a door.
Once the blind was framed, we added camouflage by zip-tying cornstalks to the wire panels. We tied the stalks on vertically to match the surrounding corn. Then we zip-tied together several small bundles of stalks to lay across the shooting hole for overhead cover.
Finishing touches included a four-man wooden bench and a retriever platform. We constructed the retriever platform at the end of the blind opposite the hinged door by laying a piece of plywood on concrete blocks stacked to keep the board just above the water. Finally we cut openings in the front and back panels so our Lab could get in and out of the blind.
After we flooded the field, we were standing in approximately 18 inches of water, which made insulated waders a necessity. The blind's plywood floor provided us with solid footing, but you might need to cover the boards with non-skid coating for better traction. We placed decoys in an opening in front of the blind and in the thicker standing corn behind it. We also rigged jerk strings in the same areas to provide water movement that would attract circling birds. From this setup we enjoyed consistent close-in shooting on ducks that had no suspicion whatsoever that we were hiding in the cornstalks. This blind design will also work in many other locations, such as in marshes, along shorelines, and in flooded brush.