By: Barry Schindle
Premier Flight Guide Service
Selection of your blind - It all starts in the store
Your selection of concealment might be one of the most important decisions you make when building a successful waterfowl hunt while in the field. There currently two big manufactures of blinds on the market, Avery and Final Approach. There are many other options from other smaller manufactures and also options like lay down chairs and ghille blankets, which work in many situations that normal blinds might not.
My recommendation is to find a blind that fits you and you can be comfortable in for many hours each day. I believe the smaller the blind or lower the profile the better since blinds do give off shadows and on smaller blinds it is easier to hide this shadow with decoys on a sunny day. Sure it is nice to be able to bring everything you own into the field and have a massive lay down blind, but your best option is to find a blind that fits you well and has enough room for your gun, couple boxes of shells, and your soda. In the long run it will give you more success in the field, it might not make a difference every day. But if it matters 5% of the time to me it is worth it to go with a smaller blind.
I have hunted out of dozens of models of blinds and have settled on using the X-Lander and Pro-Lander blind from Final Approach, they are both low profile blinds and in my opinion the most comfortable blinds on the market. They also fold up for transport in under 5 seconds, which is important when you're using your blind all season long. The best piece of advise I can give someone looking for a new blind is to find a store in your area that has displays of them and try them out. Don't just lay in them, but also ask a sales person to break it down for you so you can see what you're dealing with in the dark at 6am.
Preparing your blind
Once your pick a blind it is important to prep it before the season. First thing I do with a new blind fresh out of the box is to grab a can of flat dark spray paint and hit any flashy decals and exposed metal parts which might shine in the sun. Remember to also open the doors of your blind and hit anything that might shine or is the wrong color, some times you can't be back to your blind before the next flock of ducks or geese sneak up on you in the field and your blind is left open.
After you get done painting it up now its time to get dirty. Find yourself an old broom and a 5-gallon paint pail and go steal some dirt from your wives garden. Try to make sure it is close to the same color as the field your hunting in; soil differs around my area and probably does in yours too. Fill the pail about 1/3 the way with dirt and then add a water till you get a sloppy consistency. Next take the broom and dip it in and start wiping it on your blind till you cover your blind 100%, there is no such thing as to much. On a new blind I usually do this and then leave the blind outside for a week and then hit it with another coat of mud, this is a great job for your kids and a great way to get them started in waterfowl hunting. Now your ready for the field.
Hiding your blind in the field
Well now its time to have some fun, it's the morning of the hunt. Hiding your blind in the field will be different for all types of fields, for this example I am going to use a plowed cornfield, which is what I hunt most of the time in my area.
Once you have figured out where your going to place your blinds I recommend digging in your blinds into the field if the farmer does not mind. Some farmers do not want you digging or driving in their fields, please respect this since once a farmer is mad about how a hunter treats his land it will be closed to all hunters in the future since there is no benefit for a farmer to let you hunt his land unless your paying for the access. When I dig in my blinds I usually dig in about 3-6" depending on how easy it is digging, I then place the blind in the hole and then backfill the blind with the dirt so that with a FA X-Lander blind the back headrest only sticks up about 3-4" and the front of the blind is flush with the ground. This will almost do away with and shadows from the blind.
Next thing I do depends on the soil; if it is somewhat moist I will use a lawn sprayer to dust the blind to make the mud match the field conditions. It is important not to over look the little things if you want to have the birds trying to land on your blinds later in the morning. I would say on average I would have 2-3 birds per season actually land on my legs each season, this will only happen with a perfectly camouflaged blind. After you have matched the field you will want to add stubble to the blind, make sure to try to match the field your hunting, more is not better in this case since you do not want to stand out.
Well now your ready to hunt, remember no matter what type of field your hunting the most important this is to match the field your hunting. Also remember your not trying to match what you see from ground level since a picked corn field will look like solid corn stalks from your view, jump up on the rail of your pickup box and take a look from above to view what a duck or goose sees, it is rare they will approach you at almost ground level. In the case of snow geese they are dropping straight down from above you and you want to match that view they see. Lots of guys add WAY to much corn stubble to their blind when hunting a picked cornfield since that is what they see from ground level.
Last thing I do is break up the blind with decoys, I personally like to use silhouette decoys to do this. But you can use any decoys to do this, just place them along side the blind so that you can break-up the blind. Shell decoys also work good to place extra gear you may bring into the field. In fields with little cover I will have everyone place a shell decoy on the leg portion of the blind to break up the blind even more.
Now your ready to hunt. Remember to re-mud your blind as needed throughout the season or if you switch soil types. I will usually do this 5-6 times a season.