Lessons in Waterfowling #3
BLIND: A shelter for concealing hunters, especially duck hunters. - American Heritage Dictionary
That's their definition, but over the years I've seen it all, and there are several different levels of concealment and many more levels of comfort.
I've hid behind a tree in flooded timbers to a patch of weeds near a pond. In my younger days I'd carry a piece of camo burlap and tie it to sticks, this made fine place to hide from the ducks, but not from the weather. The old 4'X8' wooden blinds with roof and dirt floor to heated cabin or pit blinds equipped with TV and kitchenette, while someone keep an eye out for ducks, others watched a football game while grilling steaks.
As a hunter grows in years and experience, you realize more comforts are important.
Each year I try to improve my blinds in one way or another. The plan I am offering here, has worked well for myself and all my guests (I have 9 of these on my property.) It is a modified design from a boat blind built by Jim Sutton, a good friend and Truman Lake waterfowl guide. It can be built on a levy, in a field or by boxing in the bottom with Styrofoam logs underneath making a floating blind. I also attach eyebolts on both ends of blind,with 2"X6" runners screwed to the bottom of blind, this way you can easily attach chain and drag blinds to other locations on your property with tractor or pickup.
Materials: 1/2"X 4'X8' treated plywood; 2x4 treated boards; 1 3/4" and 3" teflon coated screws.
Start by building a 6' x 8' braced frame base, cut and attach 1/2" plywood for floor with 1 3/4" screws.
Build the 2x4 upright fame on 2 foot centers. Cut and fasten 1/2" plywood to walls and roof.
Cut and frame door and fasten hinges on outside with latch hook on inside.
Mount 1/2" plywood for front inside shelf as shown.
For hinged flapper to cover the shooting slot, cut a piece of wire cattle panel 18" high and the length of the blind up to 8 foot. If blind is longer, cut a second piece to keep it lighter and easier to control.
Fasten bottom of cattle panel to front of blind using larger 2 inch staples to allow the flapper to henge. The flapper can be adjusted on the distance it opens and closes by screwing small 2X4 blocks for stoppers.
after assembling the blind, paint it with coat of flat black paint or spray it with flat black stain inside and out.
I then take a roll of 3 foot or 4 foot used rusty hog wire (regular field fence) and roll it around the outside of blind stapling it to the blind about every two foot. Don't stretch it overly tight. Do the same over the top of the roof.
Depending on the area you live, take native grasses, (like switchgrass) and weave it through the hog wire until you have the blind completely covered.
If you have oak trees in your area, cut several leafy limbs and weave the base of the limb through the hog wire and using zip ties to fasten the top of the branches to cover and touch up any exposed areas. let the branches extend beyond the edges of blind to break up the vertical shape of the blind.
The cattle panel flapper can be covered with small overlapping oak limbs fastened with zip ties. (use small limbs to keep it light weight)
The low profile (54" total height) is less obvious to the ducks.
When you stand up in the slot you can see and shoot in all directions. No more surprises from the rear.
The seat at 17" is comfortable and leaves plenty of head room. The seat can also be boxed in and top hinged to make extra storage.
The shelf is a great place for shells, food, etc. and is sheltered from the weather.
The slanted front, when equipped with propane heaters (I use "Mr. Heater") directs the heat to the hunter's body. A 20 lb. propane tank can be set inside or outside the blind and a hose run to the heaters.
With the shooting slot near the center, floating blinds are more stable when the hunters are standing.
The six foot depth of the blind allows plenty of room for shelter from bad weather.
I have several 8 foot, 12 foot and even a 20 foot blind built under this design. These blinds are very comfortable, easy to heat and can be built for around $300 and will last 20+ years.
I realize that not all of you waterfowl hunters lease or own property, but I'll bet that if you are a dedicated hunter ... you will someday, and will be in need of a good blind.
And that's all I have to say about that. Remember ... never shoot more than you need, bring a friend, have fun, pack a camera and improve your blinds a little each year.