In the predawn blackness, the guide navigated our duck boat through a maze of cypress trees and duckweed. His spotlight illuminated our duck blind, shrouded by fog, in the distance. Light rain began falling as we pulled into a covered boat slip before stepping up into an incredible blind.
Resembling a modified baseball dugout, the blind was spacious, featuring amenities such as ample bench seating, a kitchen area and a gun rack to handily position shotguns. Hunters sit back and relax while sipping coffee between flights of the abundant gadwalls that converge here. This wasn’t going to be your ordinary duck hunt.
Mike and Lamar Boyd operate a first-rate guide service on Beaver Dam Lake in Tunica, Miss. Their hunting grounds were made famous by novelist Nash Buckingham, who fondly wrote about the abundant waterfowl wintering there. Buckingham chronicled many hunts on this Mississippi River oxbow lake, one of the gems of the Magnolia State.
At the other end of the blind, Lamar, the younger of this father/son duo, operates the numerous Mojo decoys with a control panel at his fingertips. Hunters are positioned to shoot through holes in camouflaged burlap where their swing is restricted, much like a sporting-clays station. The burlap also serves to conceal zealous hunters, while helping to block wind and rain.
In short order, amidst great camaraderie, we had seven limits of gadwalls. We cased our shotguns, loaded our gear and headed in for a Southern-cooked breakfast. Truly, the waterfowling at Beaver Dam was golden, providing memories for a lifetime.
The keys to our success were being where the ducks wanted to be and being well concealed. Due to our abilities to stay comfortable and sheltered from the elements, our duck blind proved to be a handy tool.
It’s undeniable — hunting from a duck blind can increase your waterfowling enjoyment and success. But what if such a lavish blind is not in your future? Well, don’t fret. Below are some duck blinds you can make without breaking the bank.
Hunting from a boat blind is an exciting option when hunting from land isn’t a possibility. Several companies such as Beavertail and Avery make duck-blind systems that adapt to almost any duck boat. These blinds fold down while motoring and can be erected in minutes.
For do-it-yourselfers, boat blinds also can be fashioned from PVC pipe and camouflage netting. PVC pipe can be obtained from local hardware stores, while camouflage netting or 3-D leafy camouflage can be purchased from Cabela’s and Hunter’s Specialties.
Some distant waterfowling spots might require carrying a bag of decoys along with the rest of your gear. Toting in a layout blind is generally not an option, but I’ve had excellent success using portable stake-type blinds. These blinds range in height from 2 to 4 feet and are generally 6 to 12 feet long. Because they are lightweight, they roll up and can easily be carried with a shoulder strap.
Best of all, these blinds are versatile and can be placed near the edge of a pond or stretched around trees to form an excellent blind.
Building A Duck Blind
In spots where you will be spending a fair amount of time hunting, a temporary blind might be in order. Words to the wise: Seek permission before constructing a more permanent type of blind. Most landowners are receptive if asked, providing the blind can be taken down later.
First off, consider the wind direction when selecting a blind location. Normally, the north wind prevails, so I try to set up my blind near the north end of a pond or lake because ducks and geese always land into the wind.
Secondly, if the pond or lake is subject to water fluctuations, build the blind accordingly. A friend of mine once built a blind 20 yards from the water’s edge and, upon returning, the water had receded, rendering his blind too far away for a clean shot.
One of my favorite blinds is constructed from a roll of 48-inch-tall, welded wire and six T-Posts. I set three T-Posts a few feet away from the water’s edge spaced four feet apart. Five feet behind the front three T-Posts, place the rear three posts spaced four feet apart. The welded wire then can be stretched around and attached with black wire ties. Leave the last piece of wire unattached for side entry into the blind. Folding chairs or 5-gallon buckets painted with dull earth tones work well for seating.
Reeds or native grass can be woven into the wire frame to complete the camouflage effect. Cedar boughs also can be used to brush in the blind and give it a more natural look. Keep in mind this type of temporary blind has no roof, so hunters should wear face paint or use head nets while keeping their movements to a minimum.
Hunting from a duck blind can provide hours of waterfowling fun. Remember to hunt safe and introduce a new hunter to our sport this fall