Duck Hunting Success Can Depend on How Well You’re Hid
Duck hunting success can be improved by paying close attention to how well you are hidden. Have you ever experienced the following scenario: While duck hunting, you spot a flock of ducks off in the distance, you turn on your spinning-wing decoy, you and your buddies begin blowing hail calls following into a greeting call as they come closer, a little feed-chuckle here and there, then hammer on them as they fly past and never look back at your spread as though you were never even there. Then you sit there and look at each other like “what happened,” or “what spooked’em?” You get out of your blinds to look things over and then it hits you… your “concealment” sticks out like a sore thumb! I know it’s happened to us on more than one occasion, and it’s hard for me to imagine anything more frustrating. If you’ve heard it once while duck hunting, you’ve heard it a million times. The question is, do you practice what you’ve been told and/or said over and over again? Whether you’re duck hunting out of a boat blind, pit, or layout blind in a dry field, excellent concealment is an absolute must! Obviously, there are more blind options for duck hunting than I previously listed. We’re hunters, we can make something out of anything and call it “good.”
A few must-do’s to assure you’re properly concealed when duck hunting:
Layout Blinds for Dry Field Duck Hunting
A popular blind option these days because of its mobility and level of comfort is the layout blind. This blind is a personal favorite of mine, particularly on those slow days! An absolute must-do when you first purchase that nice and shiny $300 layout blind, is cover it with some wet and sloppy mud! I can’t believe how many times I’ve witnessed guys trying to hunt out of a layout blind that hasn’t been mudded yet! It drives me crazy! It even says to cover it in mud on the instructions when assembling your blind. The fact of the matter is, a new blind will act like a mirror reflecting the sun. You might kill a few “dumb ones” without mudding your blind, but I’ll be willing to bet, you’re going to have a tough time being consistently successful while hunting out of a comfortable mirror in the field.
Be sure to utilize the stubble-straps on your blind. I would recommend using corn stubble away from the area you’re planning on setting up so your row of blinds don’t look like corn huts on bare mud. Ducks are finicky birds and will shy away from your corn huts. When brushing your blinds, make an honest attempt at breaking up the shape of your blinds, this will go a long way as well.
Boat Blinds for Water Setups
The classic blind used for duck hunting, the trusty boat blind, can provide you and your hunting buddies with some excellent opportunities that layout blinds and pits won’t accommodate, for obvious reasons. When duck hunting out of a boat blind, it’s important, as with any other blind setup, to know and understand your surroundings. For example, if your blind is covered in cedar limbs, it won’t necessarily look too “natural” when you’re trying to kill ducks in an area surrounded by cattails and no trees in the backdrop.
Spray paint the shell of the blind with a flat camo-colored paint scheme. I would also recommend spraying the interior of the blind as well.
Don’t have shooting lanes more open than you absolutely need them to be. Remember, ducks are flying over you and can easily look down into your blind if you have a too large of a shooting lane.
Underground Pit Blinds:
There are as many different styles of pit blinds as there are duck calls out there today. The good news is, 90% of your blind is hidden underground.. The tricky part is concealing the roof of your pit and the shooting holes. As a general rule, treat the shooting holes much like you would a boat blind. Again, the birds will be able to look down and into your blind if you’re not concealed properly.
An excellent strategy that I have used, and many guys that I have hunted with use, is to break up the shooting areas with full-body goose decoys. Set them up accordingly so you don’t have to avoid shooting your decoys on your way out of the hole, this will ultimately save you a lot of money in the long haul… trust me, I’ve witnessed people shooting the head of a $25 decoy on their way out of the blind.
Hopefully the aforementioned scenario hasn’t happened to you, but chances are it absolutely has, and on more than one occasion. I know I didn’t cover all the possible details about proper concealment, but merely just some often overlooked ideas that go a long way in helping duck hunters bag more birds. I could honestly write a book on proper concealment, but for now, I will leave it in a simple blog post. There are hundreds of products on the market for aiding in concealment for duck hunting. Remember, know your surroundings, adapt to the scenery, and never underestimate the eyes of finicky ducks. Here’s some of our best duck hunting action from the season, which wouldn’t have been possible without the cameraman and hunters being concealed.